Level 4

Alaska Science
Key Element C1

A student who meets the content standard should know how the words “fact,” “observation,” “concept,” “principle,” “law,” and “theory” are generally used in the scientific community.

gold rule

Performance Standard Level 4, Ages 15–18

Students can differentiate among facts, observations, concepts, principles, laws, and theories, as used in science publications.

Sample Assessment Ideas

gold rule

Sample Assessment Ideas

  • Students define and give examples of the terms commonly used in the scientific community; differentiate how those same terms are defined and used in a non-scientific setting.

  • Students analyze a newspaper or magazine article on a science topic, identifying facts, concepts, laws and theories.

Standards Cross-Reference gold rule

Standards Cross-References
( Alaska Department of Education & Early Development Standards

National Science Education Standards

Communicate and defend a scientific argument. Students in school science programs should develop the abilities associated with accurate and effective communication. These include writing and following procedures, expressing concepts, reviewing information, summarizing data, using language appropriately, developing diagrams and charts, explaining statistical analysis, speaking clearly and logically, constructing a reasoned argument, and responding appropriately to critical comments. (Page 176)

Science distinguishes itself from other ways of knowing and from other bodies of knowledge through the use of empirical standards, logical arguments, and skepticism, as scientists strive for the best possible explanations about the natural world. (Page 201)



Scientists assume that the universe is a vast single system in which the basic rules are the same everywhere. The rules may range from very simple to extremely complex, but scientists operate on the belief that the rules can be discovered by careful, systematic study. (Page 8)

No matter how well one theory fits observations, a new theory might fit them just as well or better, or might fit a wider range of observations. In science, the testing, revising, and occasional discarding of theories, new and old, never ends. This ongoing process leads to an increasingly better understanding of how things work in the world but not to absolute truth. Evidence for the value of this approach is given by the improving ability of scientists to offer reliable explanations and make accurate predictions. (Page 8)

Table of Contents  |   Return to Alaska Native Knowledge Network