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Achievement objectives: Nature of science

Nature of science is the overarching, unifying strand. Through it, students learn what science is and how scientists work.

Progression | Indicators | Context elaborations | NCEA | Qualifications

Achievement objectives: Nature of science level 6 | level 7 | level 8

The New Zealand Curriculum specifies four sets of achievement objectives for the nature of science strand:

  • Understanding about science
  • Investigating in science
  • Communicating in science
  • Participating and contributing

The curriculum also specifies sets of achievement objectives for the four contextual strands:

  • Biology (Living world)
  • Earth and space science (Planet Earth and beyond)
  • Physics (Physical world)
  • Chemistry (Material world)

The focus of the nature of science strand is ideas about science; the focus of the contextual strands is the ideas of science. Scientific literacy is developed through learning in both kinds of ideas.

Progression in nature of science

Students demonstrate progress in nature of science by their increasing ability to describe and discuss what science is and how scientists work. They continue to develop the scientific skills, values, and attitudes that will give them a foundation on which to base their understanding the world they live in. They also begin to realise that although scientific knowledge is durable, it changes as new evidence is gained and as concepts are re-examined from different perspectives. They learn that there is no one scientific method, rather, that scientists work together to explore new ideas using a range of scientific approaches. Students increasingly use more complex ways of communicating their growing scientific knowledge as they realise the links between it and the everyday situations and issues that confront our society.

As students learn in the four contextual strands, the scientific processes and concepts described in the nature of science objectives acquire shape and meaning.

In nature of science, students progress:

  • from 'understanding about science' as a knowledge system to understanding the features of scientific knowledge and the processes by which it is developed
  • from describing the ways that scientists work to being aware of the innumerable ways in which that work interacts with society
  • from 'investigating in science', in the sense of carrying out a simple fair test, to exploring approaches that involve more complex processes such as classifying and identifying, pattern seeking, exploring, investigating models, fair testing, making things, or developing systems
  • from engaging with a range of scientific texts (including visual and numeric texts), to being able to critically evaluate accounts of the natural world and employ a range of communication methods to share ideas on scientific issues
  • from simply 'participating (in) and contributing (to)' socio-scientific issues of concern to making decisions about possible personal and societal actions based on a thorough knowledge of the underlying science.

Indicators

Indicators are examples of the behaviours and capabilities that a teacher might expect to observe in a student who is achieving at the appropriate level. Teachers may wish to add further examples of their own.

Note

Levels 5 and 6 and levels 7 and 8 have common achievement objectives for each Nature of Science sub-strand. The indicators have been written to show how students can demonstrate progression across levels 7 and 8, based on increasing breadth or depth of ideas.

Context elaborations

Context elaborations are possible contexts for learning, with a suggestion of how they might be used with the focus achievement objective.

The listed context elaborations are examples only. Teachers can select and use entirely different contexts in response to local situation, community relevance, and students’ interests and needs.

NCEA: What has changed?

  • The achievement standards have been aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum, and reflect changes in direction for science education. Most existing programmes will need to be reshaped to meet the achievement aims for science, particularly those for Nature of Science.
  • The Nature of Science aims and objectives have been embedded and integrated into the standards.
  • The explanatory notes for each achievement standard indicate which achievement objectives are the focus.
  • Key terms such as investigate, demonstrate understanding and justify are fully explained in the explanatory notes for each standard.
  • The additional information/teacher guideline sections of exemplar resources (internal assessment tasks) provide further guidance around how the Nature of Science is involved; see, for example, science 1.6A.

Included with each achievement objective in this guide is an assessment for qualifications section. This section suggests NCEA achievement standards that could be used to assess learning in relation to that particular achievement objective.

Assessment for qualifications

At the time of publication, achievement standards were in development to align them with The New Zealand Curriculum. Please ensure that you are using the correct version of the standards by going to the NZQA website.

The NZQA subject-specific resources pages are very helpful. From there, you can find all the achievement standards and links to assessment resources, both internal and external.

Learn more:

Aligned level 1 achievement standards were registered for use in 2011 and level 2 for use in 2012; level 3 will be registered for use in 2013.

Achievement objectives: Nature of science

Students will:

Level 6

Understanding about science

  • NOS 6-1 Understand that scientists’ investigations are informed by current scientific theories and aim to collect evidence that will be interpreted through processes of logical argument.

Investigating in science

  • NOS 6-2 Develop and carry out more complex investigations, including using models; Show an increasing awareness of the complexity of working scientifically, including recognition of multiple variables; Begin to evaluate the suitability of the investigative methods chosen.

Communicating in science

  • NOS 6-3 Use a wider range of science vocabulary, symbols, and conventions; Apply their understandings of science to evaluate both popular and scientific texts (including visual and numerical literacy).

Participating and contributing

  • NOS 6-4 Develop an understanding of socio-scientific issues by gathering relevant scientific information in order to draw evidence-based conclusions and to take action where appropriate.

Level 7

Understanding about science

  • NOS 7-1 Understand that scientists have an obligation to connect their new ideas to current and historical scientific knowledge and to present their findings for peer review and debate.

Investigating in science

  • NOS 7-2 Develop and carry out investigations that extend their science knowledge, including developing their understanding of the relationship between investigations and scientific theories and models.

Communicating in science

  • NOS 7-3 Use accepted science knowledge, vocabulary, symbols, and conventions when evaluating accounts of the natural world and consider the wider implications of the methods of communication and/or representation employed.

Participating and contributing

  • NOS 7-4 Use relevant information to develop a coherent understanding of socio-scientific issues that concern them, to identify possible responses at both personal and societal levels.

Level 8

Understanding about science

  • NOS 8-1 Understand that scientists have an obligation to connect their new ideas to current and historical scientific knowledge and to present their findings for peer review and debate.

Investigating in science

  • NOS 8-2 Develop and carry out investigations that extend their science knowledge, including developing their understanding of the relationship between investigations and scientific theories and models.

Communicating in science

  • NOS 8-3 Use accepted science knowledge, vocabulary, symbols, and conventions when evaluating accounts of the natural world and consider the wider implications of the methods of communication and/or representation employed.

Participating and contributing

  • NOS 8-4 Use relevant information to develop a coherent understanding of socio-scientific issues that concern them, to identify possible responses at both personal and societal levels.

Last updated August 18, 2015



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