Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

Senior Secondary navigation


Achievement objective NOS 6-1

Students will:

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


  • Logically supports or refutes a current theory with evidence.
  • Uses a flowchart, timeline, or role play to show how new discoveries changed or enhanced a scientific theory.
  • Distinguishes between beliefs, assumptions, and scientific observations within a proposed set of evidence for or against a theory.
  • Acknowledges the scientific ideas that are embedded within myths, legends, and religious beliefs, and can explain how these can link with current scientific evidence.
  • Uses media or interviews scientists at work to describe features of how people work scientifically.
  • Considers suggested explanations and uses evidence to support or eliminate them.
  • Compares the relative contributions of bias and fact in the current or historical consensus opinion of a scientific theory.
  • Formulates a testable question to support or refute a theory.
  • Explains how evidence from a current context links to existing theories.
  • Describes situations where scientists have added to or changed the understandings held by the scientific community.
  • Explains why scientists need to present their ideas for critical scrutiny by other scientists.
  • Considers how other cultures view or explain their world and compares this with the views of western science.
  • Considers how science is related to a vocation or work.

Possible context elaborations

  • Charles Darwin’s observations and assumptions about race (Bay of Islands 1835).
  • The relationship between Lyell's Principles of Geology and natural selection.
  • Changes in the accepted astronomical position of the Earth over time.
  • Historical theories and experiments about the shape of the Earth's surface.
  • Aristotle's spontaneous generation vs Louis Pasteur’s germs.
  • Aethers, humours, phlogiston, and oxygen.
  • Limits imposed by ignorance: Mendel before chromosomes or DNA.
  • Joan Wiffen and doubts on the existence of dinosaurs in New Zealand.
  • The 'science' used by Maori tohunga compared with 'European' science.
  • The science behind whakataukī or proverbs such as Te anga karaka, te anga koura, kei kitea te marae (the shells of the karaka berry, and the shells of the crayfish, should not be seen from the marae).
  • What science lies behind such sayings as 'Gather the breadfruit from the farthest branches first' (Samoan) and 'The early bird gets the worm'?

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 with NZQA subject resources for:

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.

Learning described by this objective could be assessed using one or more of these achievement standards:

  • science AS90940 1.1, AS90944 1.5, AS90948 1.9, AS90952 1.13, AS90953 1.14, AS90954 1.15
  • (depending on the context of the learning, examples only) biology AS90927 1.3, AS90928 1.4, AS90929 1.5; chemistry AS90932 1.3, AS90933 1.4, AS90934 1.5; physics AS90936 1.2, AS90937 1.3, AS90938 1.4, AS90939 1.5, etc.

Last updated September 15, 2020