Level 4

Alaska Science
Key Element C4

A student who meets the content standard should understand that some personal and societal beliefs accept non-scientific methods for validating knowledge.

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Performance Standard Level 4, Ages 15–18

Students investigate societal (non-scientific) beliefs of multiple communities or cultures regarding a phenomenon.

Sample Assessment Ideas

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Sample Assessment Ideas

  • Students use multiple sources (oral and written histories, contact with classrooms, and cultures around the world) to compile various beliefs.

  • Students discuss the possible origin of each belief.

Standards Cross-Reference gold rule

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

National Science Education Standards

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)

Scientific explanations must meet certain criteria. First and foremost, they must be consistent with experimental and observational evidence about nature, and must make accurate predictions, when appropriate, about systems being studied. They should also be logical, respect the rules of evidence, be open to criticism, report methods and procedures, and make knowledge public. Explanations on how the natural world changes based on myths, personal beliefs, religious values, mystical inspiration, superstition, or authority may be personally useful an socially relevant, but they are not scientific. (Page 201)

Because all science ideas depend on experimental and observational confirmation, all scientific knowledge is, in principle, subject to change as new evidence becomes available. The core ideas of science such as the conservation of energy or the laws of motion have been subjected to a wide variety of confirmations and are therefore unlikely to change in the areas in which they have been tested. In areas where data or understanding is incomplete, such as the details of human evolution or questions surrounding global warming, new data may well lead to changes in current ideas or resolve current conflicts. In situations where information is still fragmentary, it is normal for scientific ideas to be incomplete, but this is also where the opportunity for making advances may be greatest. (Page 201)

The historical perspective of scientific explanations demonstrates how scientific knowledge changes by evolving over time, almost always building on earlier knowledge. (Page 204)



Cultural beliefs strongly influence the values and behavior of the people who grow up in the culture, often without their being fully aware of it. Response to these influences varies among individuals. (Page 156)

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