Unit Overview

In The Nature of Science Unit, students are led through a progression of two inquiry lessons that focus on the enterprise of science as a whole. Using a crime scene investigation case, students are challenged to work as scientists in order to wonder, investigate, question, collect data, and analyze evidence.  


  • Lesson 1
    Lesson 1: Lesson 1: The Solve

    Lesson 1: The Solve

    Explore "The Case of the Pilfered Popcorn" to learn how to collect and analyze evidence from the crime and help Felix and JoJo catch the culprit! By the end of the Solve, students learn how science helps solve crimes, and they discover how evidence impacts scientific theories. (75 mins)

  • Lesson 2
    Lesson 2: Lesson 2: The Lab

    Lesson 2: The Lab

    Students are challenged to investigate evidence from “The Case of the Pilfered Popcorn.” Working as scientists, students are challenged to measure, observe, experiment, collect, and analyze data in an effort to help Felix and JoJo crack the case. (120 mins)

  • Next Generation Science Standards

    The nature of science is included in the Next Generation Science Standards. Here we present the NOS Matrix. The basic understandings about the nature of science are:

    • Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods
    • Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence
    • Scientific Knowledge is Open to Revision in Light of New Evidence
    • Scientific Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories Explain Natural Phenomena
    • Science is a Way of Knowing
    • Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems
    • Science is a Human Endeavor
    • Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World
  • Inquiry Scale
    • Each lesson in the unit has an Inquiry Scale that outlines how the lesson can be implemented at the level that works best for you and your students.
      • Level 1 is the most teacher-driven and is recommended for students who are new to the content or need additional support.
      • Level 2 is the most student-driven and is recommended for students who are more independent or familiar with the content.
    • For differentiation within the same grade or class, use different inquiry levels for different groups of students who may require additional support or an extra challenge.
  • Common Misconceptions
    • Students may believe that only certain types of people fit the scientist profile. Emphasize that men and women from all cultures and backgrounds choose careers as scientists and engineers.
    • Learners often assume that scientists only conduct experiments in a lab with technical tools. Emphasize that while a lab environment is often used for scientific research and exploration, scientific experiments can be conducted in a wide variety of settings using a variety of methods, tools, and techniques.
    • Students tend to think that science isn’t a process at all but rather just a bunch of facts. Emphasize that science is both a body of knowledge and processes that add new knowledge.
    • Students often assume that science may be a solitary pursuit. Emphasize that the process of science is collaborative. Scientific discoveries and theories result from the research, expertise, and collaboration of many scientists.
    • Students may believe that scientific ideas are absolute and unchanging. Emphasize that scientific explanations can change based on new evidence.
  • Vocabulary
      • Analyze
      • Observe
      • Measure
      • Scientific Tools
      • Evidence
      • Experiment