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Table 1.
Making the culture of science explicit through the NGSS science practices.
NGSS Scientific PracticesSome of the Associated Values, Goals & Habits of Mind of the Culture of SciencePrinciples of Methodological NaturalismExamples of Activities That Support This Understanding
Asking questions Curiosity; observant; falsifiability; creativity Science is limited to questions about how the natural world works that are amenable to empirical investigation Distinguishing between scientific and nonscientific questions; consideration of how questions reflect our values 
Developing and using models The natural world operates in consistent ways; inference; models explain phenomena and suggest testable predictions Models represent physical mechanisms for natural phenomena Historical case studies of how scientific models have changed over time or why different models can coexist 
Planning and carrying out investigations Reliance on empirical evidence; precision; reproducibility; creativity; perseverance There is not a single “scientific method,” but all of the natural sciences share a commitment to methodological naturalism Discussion of experimental science vs. observational (e.g., much of astronomy and evolutionary biology); ethical considerations such as animal research or human subjects 
Analyzing and interpreting data Logical reasoning; objectivity; inference; skepticism; intellectual honesty; reliance on empirical evidence Physical phenomena are observable and explainable through naturalistic means Analyzing the assumptions and uncertainty in data; current examples of scientists interpreting the same data differently or historical examples in which the meaning of data was initially unclear 
Using mathematics and computational thinking Logical reasoning; characterizing uncertainty; objectivity; precision Physical phenomena are observable and explainable through naturalistic means Discussion of why scientists value mathematical representation and statistical analysis; correlation vs. causation 
Constructing explanations The universe is understandable; curiosity (explanations are answers to questions); creativity; reliance on empirical evidence Physical phenomena can be explained by natural explanations; explanations are subject to change with new evidence Reflecting on how biases influence our explanations and applications of science (e.g., Nazi eugenics) 
Engaging in argument from evidence Informed skepticism; valuing empirical evidence over authority; objectivity; consistency with evidence and other explanations Evidence must be grounded in observation (empirical), and experiments must be reproducible Consideration of how scientific evidence differs from evidence in other disciplines; examples of scientific articles as arguments from evidence 
Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information Intellectual honesty; collaboration; informed skepticism; open-mindedness; clear communication Science informs other discourses but is silent on questions and explanations that are not addressed through methodological naturalism (morality, law, politics, religion, etc.) What aspects of addressing climate change require scientific information? What aspects are economic, political, or social? Ethical considerations of applications of science (e.g., stem cell research, genome modification) 
NGSS Scientific PracticesSome of the Associated Values, Goals & Habits of Mind of the Culture of SciencePrinciples of Methodological NaturalismExamples of Activities That Support This Understanding
Asking questions Curiosity; observant; falsifiability; creativity Science is limited to questions about how the natural world works that are amenable to empirical investigation Distinguishing between scientific and nonscientific questions; consideration of how questions reflect our values 
Developing and using models The natural world operates in consistent ways; inference; models explain phenomena and suggest testable predictions Models represent physical mechanisms for natural phenomena Historical case studies of how scientific models have changed over time or why different models can coexist 
Planning and carrying out investigations Reliance on empirical evidence; precision; reproducibility; creativity; perseverance There is not a single “scientific method,” but all of the natural sciences share a commitment to methodological naturalism Discussion of experimental science vs. observational (e.g., much of astronomy and evolutionary biology); ethical considerations such as animal research or human subjects 
Analyzing and interpreting data Logical reasoning; objectivity; inference; skepticism; intellectual honesty; reliance on empirical evidence Physical phenomena are observable and explainable through naturalistic means Analyzing the assumptions and uncertainty in data; current examples of scientists interpreting the same data differently or historical examples in which the meaning of data was initially unclear 
Using mathematics and computational thinking Logical reasoning; characterizing uncertainty; objectivity; precision Physical phenomena are observable and explainable through naturalistic means Discussion of why scientists value mathematical representation and statistical analysis; correlation vs. causation 
Constructing explanations The universe is understandable; curiosity (explanations are answers to questions); creativity; reliance on empirical evidence Physical phenomena can be explained by natural explanations; explanations are subject to change with new evidence Reflecting on how biases influence our explanations and applications of science (e.g., Nazi eugenics) 
Engaging in argument from evidence Informed skepticism; valuing empirical evidence over authority; objectivity; consistency with evidence and other explanations Evidence must be grounded in observation (empirical), and experiments must be reproducible Consideration of how scientific evidence differs from evidence in other disciplines; examples of scientific articles as arguments from evidence 
Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information Intellectual honesty; collaboration; informed skepticism; open-mindedness; clear communication Science informs other discourses but is silent on questions and explanations that are not addressed through methodological naturalism (morality, law, politics, religion, etc.) What aspects of addressing climate change require scientific information? What aspects are economic, political, or social? Ethical considerations of applications of science (e.g., stem cell research, genome modification) 
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