and Benchmarks: "Earth on Fire" Module
The ETE "Earth on Fire "module supports the
following science standards and benchmarks:
Science Education Standards (Science
Education Standards Online)
As a result of activities, students should develop understanding and abilities
aligned with the following concepts and processes.
Unifying Concepts & Processes (pp. 115-119)
concepts that underlie Systems, Order, & Organization include:
- A system is an
organized group of related objects or components that form a whole.
- Systems can coexist,
for example, of organisms, machines, fundamental particles, galaxies,
ideas, numbers, transportation, and education.
- Systems have boundaries,
components, resources flow (input and output), and feedback.
- Think and analyze
in terms of systems.
- The idea of simple
systems encompasses subsystems as well as identifying the structure
and function of systems, feedback and equilibrium, and the distinction
between open and closed systems.
- An understanding
of regularities in systems, and by extension, the universe; they then
can develop understanding of basic laws, theories, and models that explain
- An assumption
of order establishes the basis for cause-effect relationship and predictable.
- Physical systems
can be described at different levels of organization-such as fundamental
particles, atoms, and molecules.
that underlie Evidence, Models, & Explanation include:
- Evidence consists
of observations and data on which to base scientific explanations.
- Using evidence
to understand interactions allows individuals to predict changes in
natural and designed systems.
- Models are tentative
schemes or structures that correspond to real objects, events, or classes
of events, and that have explanatory power.
- Models help scientists
and engineers understand how things work.
- Models take many
forms, including physical objects, plans, mental constructs, mathematical
equations, and computer simulations.
- Scientific explanations
incorporate existing scientific knowledge and new evidence from observations,
experiments, or models into internally consistent, logical statements.
- Different terms,
such as "hypothesis," "model," "law,"
"principle," "theory," and "paradigm"
are used to describe various types of scientific explanations.
- Scientific explanations
should more frequently include a rich scientific knowledge base, evidence
of logic, higher levels of analysis, greater tolerance of criticism
and uncertainty, and a clearer demonstration of the relationship between
logic, evidence, and current knowledge.
that underlie Constancy, Change, and Measurement include:
- Although most
things are in the process of becoming different-changing-some properties
of objects and processes are characterized by constancy, including the
speed of light, the charge of an electron, and the total mass plus energy
in the universe.
- Interactions within
and among systems result in change.
- Changes vary in
rate, scale, and pattern, including trends and cycles.
- Energy can be
transferred and matter can be changed.
- Changes in systems
can be quantified.
- Evidence for interactions
and subsequent change and the formulation of scientific explanations
are often clarified through quantitative distinctions-measurement.
- Mathematics is
essential for accurately measuring change.
- Different systems
of measurement are used for different purposes.
- An important part
of measurement is knowing when to use which system.
- Scale includes
understanding that different characteristics, properties, or relationships
within a system might change as its dimensions are increased or decreased.
- Rate involves
comparing one measured quantity with another measured quantity.
that underlie Evolution & Equilibrium include:
- Equilibrium is
a physical state in which forces and changes occur in opposite and off-setting
- Steady state,
balance, and homeostasis also describe equilibrium states. Interacting
units of matter tend toward equilibrium states in which the energy is
distributed as randomly and uniformly as possible.
A: Science as Inquiry (pp. 173-176)
abilities and concepts that underlie the Abilities Necessary to Do Scientific
- Identify questions
and concepts that guide scientific investigations.
- Use technology
and mathematics to improve investigations and communications.
- Formulate and
revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence.
- Recognize and
analyze alternative explanations and models.
- Communicate and
defend a scientific argument.
that underlie the Understandings About Scientific Inquiry include:
- Historical and
current scientific knowledge influence the design and interpretation
of investigations and the evaluation of proposed explanations made by
- Scientists rely
on technology to enhance the gathering and manipulation of data.
- New techniques
and tools provide new evidence to guide inquiry and new methods to gather
data, thereby contributing to the advance of science.
- The accuracy and
precision of the data, and therefore the quality of the exploration,
depends on the technology used.
- Mathematics is
essential in scientific inquiry. Mathematical tools and models guide
and improve the posing of questions, gathering data, constructing explanations
and communicating results.
- Scientific explanations
must adhere to criteria such as:
- a proposed
explanation must be logically consistent;
- it must abide
by the rules of evidence; it must be open to questions and possible
- and it must
be based on historical and current scientific knowledge.
- In communicating
and defending the results of scientific inquiry, arguments must
be logical and demonstrate connections between natural phenomena,
investigations, and the historical body of scientific knowledge.
- The methods and
procedures that scientists used to obtain evidence must be clearly reported
to enhance opportunities for further investigation.
B: Physical Science (pp. 176-181)
concepts that underlie Chemical Reactions include:
- Chemical reactions
occur all around us, for example in health care, cooking, cosmetics,
- Complex chemical
reactions involving carbon-based molecules take place constantly in
every cell in our bodies.
- Chemical reactions
may release or consume energy.
- A large number
of important reactions involve the transfer of either electrons (oxidation/reduction
reactions) or hydrogen ions (acid/base reactions) between reacting ions,
molecules, or atoms.
- Chemical bonds
are broken by heat or light to form very reactive radicals with electrons
ready to form new bonds.
- Radical reactions
control many processes such as the presence of ozone and greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere, burning and processing of fossil fuels, the
formation of polymers, and explosions.
- Chemical reactions
can take place in time periods ranging from the few femtoseconds (1-
-15 seconds) required for an atom to move a fraction of a chemical bond
distance to geologic time scales of billions of years.
- Reaction rates
depend on how often the reacting atoms and molecules encounter one another,
on the temperature, and on the properties- including shape-of the reacting
that underlie Conservation of Energy & the Increase in Disorder include:
- The total energy
of the universe is constant.
- Energy can be
transferred by collisions in chemical and nuclear reactions, by lightwaves
and other radiations, and in many other ways.
- Energy can never
be destroyed. As these transfers occur, the matter involved becomes
steadily less ordered.
- All energy can
be considered to be either kinetic energy, which is the energy of motion;
potential energy, which depends on relative position; or energy contained
by a field, such as electromagnetic waves.
- Heat consists
of random motion and the vibrations of atoms, molecules, and ions.
- The higher the
temperature, the greater the atomic or molecular motion.
- Everything tends
to become less organized and less orderly over time. Thus, in all energy
transfers, the overall effect is that the energy is spread out uniformly
when we burn fuels.
that underlie Interactions of Energy & Matter include:
- Waves, including
sound and seismic waves, waves on water, and light waves, have energy
and can transfer energy when they interact with matter.
waves result when a charged object is accelerated or decelerated. Electromagnetic
waves include radio waves (the longest wavelength), microwaves, infrared
radiation (radiant heat), visible light, ultraviolet radiation, x-rays,
and gamma rays.
- The energy of
electromagnetic waves is carried in packets whose magnitude is inversely
proportional to the wavelength.
D: Earth & Space Science (pp. 187-190)
concepts that underlie Energy in the Earth System include:
- Earth systems
have internal and external sources of energy, both of which create heat.
- The sun is the
major external source of energy.
- The outward transfer
of earth's internal heat drives convection circulation in the mantle
that propels the plates comprising earth's surface across the face of
- Heating of earth's
surface and atmosphere by the sun drives convection within the atmosphere
and oceans, producing winds and ocean currents.
- Global climate
is determined by energy transfer from the sun at and near the earth's
surface. This energy transfer is influenced by dynamic processes such
as cloud cover and the earth's rotation, and static conditions such
as the position of mountain ranges and oceans.
that underlie Geochemical Cycles include:
- The earth is a
system containing essentially a fixed amount of each stable chemical
atom or element.
- Each element can
exist in several different chemical reservoirs. Each element on earth
moves among reservoirs in the solid earth, oceans, atmosphere, and organisms
as part of geochemical cycles.
- Movement of matter
between reservoirs is driven by the earth's internal and external sources
- These movements
are often accompanied by a change in the physical and chemical properties
of the matter.
C: Life Science (pp. 181-187)
concepts that underlie the Interdependence of Organisms include:
- The atoms and
molecules on the earth cycle among the living and nonliving components
of the biosphere.
- Energy flows through
ecosystems in one direction, from photosynthetic organisms to herbivores
to carnivores and decomposers.
- Organisms both
cooperate and compete in ecosystems. The interrelationships and interdependencies
of these organisms may generate ecosystems that are stable for hundreds
or thousands of years.
- Living organisms
have the capacity to produce populations of infinite size, but environments
and resources are finite. This fundamental tension has profound effects
on the interactions between organisms.
- Human beings live
within the world's ecosystems. Increasingly, humans modify ecosystems
as a result of population growth, technology, and consumption.
- Human destruction
of habitats through direct harvesting, pollution, atmospheric changes,
and other factors is threatening current global stability, and if not
addressed, ecosystems will be irreversibly affected.
F: Science in Personal & Social Perspectives (pp. 193-199)
concepts that underlie Natural Resources include:
- Human populations
use resources in the environment in order to maintain and improve their
- Natural resources
have been and will continue to be used to maintain human populations.
- The earth does
not have infinite resources; increasing human consumption places severe
stress on the natural processes that renew some resources, and it depletes
those resources that cannot be renewed.
- Humans use many
natural systems as resources. Natural systems have the capacity to reuse
waste, but that capacity is limited. Natural systems can change to an
extent that exceeds the limits of organisms to adapt naturally or humans
to adapt technologically.
that underlie Environmental Quality include:
- Natural ecosystems
provide an array of basic processes that affect humans. Those processes
include maintenance of the quality of the atmosphere, generation of
soils, control of the hydrologic cycle, disposal of wastes, and recycling
- Humans are changing
many of these basic processes, and the changes may be detrimental to
- Materials from
human societies affect both physical and chemical cycles of the earth.
Many factors influence environmental quality.
that underlie Natural & Human-Induced Hazards include:
- Normal adjustments
of earth may be hazardous for humans.
- Humans live at
the interface between the atmosphere driven by solar energy and the
upper mantle where convection creates changes in the earth's solid crust.
- As societies have
grown, become stable, and come to value aspects of the environment,
vulnerability to natural processes of change has increased. Human activities
can enhance potential for hazards.
- Acquisition of
resources, urban growth, and waste disposal can accelerate rates of
- Natural and human-induced
hazards present the need for humans to assess potential danger and risk.
- Many changes in
the environment designed by humans bring benefits to society, as well
as cause risks.
- Students should
understand the costs and trade-offs of various hazards-ranging from
those with minor risk to a few people to major catastrophes with major
risk to many people.
- The scale of events
and the accuracy with which scientists and engineers can (and cannot)
predict events are important considerations.
that underlie Science & Technology in Local, National, & Global
basic concepts and principles of science and technology should precede
active debate about the economics, policies, politics, and ethics of
various science- and technology-related challenges. However, understanding
science alone will not resolve local, national, or global challenges.
- Progress in science
and technology can be affected by social issues and challenges. Funding
priorities for specific health problems serve as examples of ways that
social issues influence science and technology.
- Individuals and
society must decide on proposals involving new research and the introduction
of new technologies into society.
- Decisions involve
assessment of alternatives, risks, costs, and benefits and consideration
of who benefits and who suffers, who pays and gains, and what the risks
are and who bears them.
- Students should
understand the appropriateness and value of basic questions-"What
can happen?"- "What are the odds?"-and "How do scientists
and engineers know what will happen?"
- Humans have a
major effect on other species. For example, the influence of humans
on other organisms occurs through land use-which decreases space available
to other species-and pollution-which changes the chemical composition
of air, soil, and water.
E: Science & Technology (pp. 190-193)
concepts that underlie the Abilities of Technological Design include:
- Identify a problem
or design an opportunity.
- Propose designs
and choose between alternative solutions.
- Implement a proposed
- Evaluate the solution
and its consequences.
- Communicate the
problem, process, and solution.
that underlie Understandings About Science & Technology include:
- Scientists in
different disciplines ask different questions, use different methods
of investigation, and accept different types of evidence to support
- Many scientific
investigations require the contributions of individuals from different
disciplines, including engineering.
- New disciplines
of science, such as geophysics and biochemistry often emerge at the
interface of two older disciplines.
solutions may create new problems. Science, by its nature, answers questions
that may or may not directly influence humans. Sometimes scientific
advances challenge people's beliefs and practical explanations concerning
various aspects of the world.
G: History & Nature of Science (pp. 200 & 201)
concepts that underlie Science as a Human Endeavor include:
- Scientists have
ethical traditions. Scientists value peer review, truthful reporting
about the methods and outcomes of investigations, and making public
the results of work. Violations of such norms do occur, but scientists
responsible for such violations are censured by their peers.
- Scientists are
influenced by societal, cultural, and personal beliefs and ways of viewing
the world. Science is not separate from society but rather science is
a part of society.
that underlie Nature of Scientific Knowledge include:
- 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
- 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.
- Scientific explanations
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 and socially relevant, but they are not scientific.
- Because all scientific
ideas depend on experimental and observational confirmation, all scientific
knowledge is, in principle, subject to change as new evidence becomes
- 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 are incomplete, such as the details of human evolution
or questions surrounding global warming, new data may well ead 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.
By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that:
Chapter 11, Common Themes
- A system usually
has some properties that are different from those of its parts, but
appear because of the interaction of those parts.
how things work and designing solutions to problems of almost any kind
can be facilitated by systems analysis.
- In defining a
system, it is important to specify its boundaries and subsystems, indicate
its relation to other systems, and identify what its input and its output
are expected to be.
- The successful
operation of a designed system usually involves feedback. The stability
of a system can be greater when it includes appropriate feedback mechanisms.
- Even in some very
simple systems, it may not always be possible to predict accurately
the result of changing some part or connection.
- The basic idea
of mathematical modeling is to find a mathematical relationship that
behaves in the same ways as the objects or processes under investigation.
- Computers have
greatly improved the power and use of mathematical models by performing
computations that are very long, very complicated, or repetitive.
11C Constancy and
- A system in equilibrium
may return to the same state of equilibrium if the disturbances it experiences
- Graphs and equations
are useful (and often equivalent) ways for depicting and analyzing patterns
- In many physical,
biological, and social systems, changes in one direction tend to produce
opposing (but somewhat delayed) influences, leading to repetitive cycles
- Most systems above
the molecular level involve so many parts and forces and are so sensitive
to tiny differences in conditions that their precise behavior is unpredictable,
even if all the rules for change are known.
- Predictable or
not, the precise future of a system is not completely determined by
its present state and circumstances but also depends on the fundamentally
uncertain outcomes of events on the atomic scale.
- Representing large
numbers in terms of powers of ten makes it easier to think about them
and to compare things that are greatly different.
- Because different
properties are not affected to the same degree by changes in scale,
large changes in scale typically change the way that things work in
physical, biological, or social systems.
- As the number
of parts of a system grows in size, the number of possible internal
interactions increases much more rapidly, roughly with the square of
the number of parts.
Chapter 1, The Nature of Science
The Scientific World View:
- Scientists assume
that the universe is a vast single system in which the basic rules are
the same everywhere.
- Change and continuity
are persistent features of science.
- In science, the
testing, revising, and occasional discarding of theories, new and old
- Science is an
ongoing process leads to an increasingly better understanding of how
things work in the world but not to absolute truth.
1B Scientific Inquiry:
- Hypotheses are
widely used in science for choosing what data to pay attention to and
what additional data to seek, and for guiding the interpretation of
the data (both new and previously available).
- Sometimes, scientists
can control conditions in order to obtain evidence. When that is not
possible for practical or ethical reasons, they try to observe as wide
a range of natural occurrences as possible to be able to discern patterns.
- There are different
traditions in science about what is investigated and how, but they all
have in common certain basic beliefs about the value of evidence, logic,
and good arguments. And there is agreement that progress in all fields
of science depends on intelligence, hard work, imagination, and even
- Scientists in
any one research group tend to see things alike, so even groups of scientists
may have trouble being entirely objective about their methods and findings.
For that reason, scientific teams are expected to seek out the possible
sources of bias in the design of their investigations and in their data
analysis. Checking each other's results and explanations helps, but
that is no guarantee against bias.
- In the short run,
new ideas that do not mesh well with mainstream ideas in science often
encounter vigorous criticism. In the long run, theories are judged by
how they fit with other theories, the range of observations they explain,
how well they explain observations, and how effective they are in predicting
- New ideas in science
are limited by the context in which they are conceived; are often rejected
by the scientific establishment; sometimes spring from unexpected findings;
and usually grow slowly, through contributions from many investigators.
1C The Scientific
- Progress in science
and invention depends heavily on what else is happening in society,
and history often depends on scientific and technological developments.
- Science disciplines
differ from one another in what is studied, techniques used, and outcomes
sought, but they share a common purpose and philosophy, and all are
part of the same scientific enterprise.
- Disciplines do
not have fixed boundaries, and it happens that new scientific disciplines
are being formed where existing ones meet and that some subdisciplines
spin off to become new disciplines in their own right.
- Scientists can
bring information, insights, and analytical skills to bear on matters
of public concern.
- Scientists as
a group can be expected to be no less biased than other groups are about
their perceived interests.
- Funding influences
the direction of science by virtue of the decisions that are made on
which research to support.
Chapter 4, The Physical Setting
Structure of Matter:
- Atoms often join
with one another in various combinations in distinct molecules or in
repeating three-dimensional crystal patterns.
- An enormous variety
of biological, chemical, and physical phenomena can be explained by
changes in the arrangement and motion of atoms and molecules.
- The rate of reactions
among atoms and molecules depends on how often they encounter one another,
which is affected by the concentration, pressure, and temperature of
the reacting materials.
4E Energy Transformations:
- Whenever the amount
of energy in one place or form diminishes, the amount in other places
or forms increases by the same amount.
- Heat energy in
a material consists of the disordered motions of its atoms or molecules.
- In any interactions
of atoms or molecules, the statistical odds are that they will end up
with less order than they began-that is, with the heat energy spread
out more evenly.
of energy usually produce some energy in the form of heat, which spreads
around by radiation or conduction into cooler places. Although just
as much total energy remains, its being spread out more evenly means
less can be done with it.
- Different energy
levels are associated with different configurations of atoms and molecules.
Some changes of configuration require an input of energy whereas others
4C Processes that
Shape the Earth:
- Plants alter the
earth's atmosphere by removing carbon dioxide, using the carbon to make
sugars and releasing oxygen. This process is responsible for the oxygen
content of the air.
- The slow movement
of material within the earth results from heat flowing out from the
deep interior and the action of gravitational forces on regions of different
4B The Earth:
- Life is adapted
to conditions on the earth, including the force of gravity that enables
the planet to retain an adequate atmosphere, and an intensity of radiation
from the sun that allows water to cycle between liquid and vapor.
- Weather (in the
short run) and climate (in the long run) involve the transfer of energy
in and out of the atmosphere.
- Solar radiation
heats the land masses, oceans, and air.
- Transfer of heat
energy at the boundaries between the atmosphere, the land masses, and
the oceans results in layers of different temperatures and densities
in both the ocean and atmosphere.
Chapter 5, The Living Environment
Interdependence of Life:
- Ecosystems can
be reasonably stable over hundreds or thousands of years. As any population
of organisms grows, it is held in check by one or more environmental
factors: depletion of food or nesting sites, increased loss to increased
numbers of predators, or parasites. If a disaster such as flood or fire
occurs, the damaged ecosystem is likely to recover in stages that eventually
result in a system similar to the original one.
- Like many complex
systems, ecosystems tend to have cyclic fluctuations around a state
of rough equilibrium. In the long run, however, ecosystems always change
when climate changes or when one or more new species appear as a result
of migration or local evolution.
- Human beings are
part of the earth's ecosystems.
- Human activities
can, deliberately or inadvertently, alter the equilibrium in ecosystems.
5E Flow of Matter
- Layers of energy-rich
organic material have been gradually turned into great coal beds and
oil pools by the pressure of the overlying earth.
- By burning these
fossil fuels, people are passing most of the stored energy back into
the environment as heat and releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide.
- The chemical elements
that make up the molecules of living things pass through food webs and
are combined and recombined in different ways.
- At each link in
a food web, some energy is stored in newly made structures but much
is dissipated into the environment as heat.
- Continual input
of energy from sunlight keeps the process (Flow of Matter and Energy)
Chapter 7, Human Society
- The size and rate
of growth of the human population in any location is affected by economic,
political, religious, technological, and environmental factors. Some
of these factors, in turn, are influenced by the size and rate of growth
of the population.
- The decisions
of one generation both provide and limit the range of possibilities
open to the next generation.
- Mass media, migrations,
and conquest affect social change by exposing one culture to another.
- To various degrees,
governments try to bring about social change or to impede it through
policies, laws, incentives, or direct coercion. Sometimes such efforts
achieve their intended results and sometimes they do not.
7D Social Trade-offs:
- Benefits and costs
of proposed choices include consequences that are long-term as well
as short-term, and indirect as well as direct.
- The more remote
the consequences of a personal or social decision, the harder it usually
is to take them into account in considering alternatives.
- Benefits and costs
may be difficult to estimate.
- In deciding among
alternatives, a major question is who will receive the benefits and
who (not necessarily the same people) will bear the costs.
- Social trade-offs
are often generational:
- The cost of
benefits received by one generation may fall on subsequent generations.
- The cost of
a social trade-off is sometimes borne by one generation although
the benefits are enjoyed by their descendants.
7E Political and
- In the free-market
model, the control of production and consumption is mainly in private
hands. The best allocation of resources is believed to be achieved by
talent, and hard work are expected to be rewarded with success and wealth.
- Government's role
is primarily to protect political and economic freedoms for society
as a whole-even at the cost of some individual or group material benefits.
- In the central-planning
model, production and consumption are controlled by the government.
- The best allocation
of resources is thought to be achieved through government planning by
- Dedication to
the good of the society as a whole is expected to motivate initiative,
talent, and hard work.
- The main purpose
of government is to promote comparable welfare for all individuals and
groups-even at the cost of some individual and group freedoms.
- In practice, countries
make compromises with regard to economic models. Central planning has
to allow for some individual initiative, and markets have to provide
some protection for unsuccessful competitors. The countries of the world
use elements of both systems and are neither purely free-market nor
entirely centrally controlled. Countries change, some adopting more
free-market policies and practices, others more central-planning ones,
and still others doing some of each.
7F Social Conflict:
- Conflict between
people or groups arises from competition over ideas, resources, power,
- Social change,
or the prospect of it, promotes conflict because social, economic, and
political changes usually benefit some groups more than others. That,
of course, is also true of the status quo.
- Conflicts are
especially difficult to resolve in situations in which there are few
choices and little room for compromise. Some informal ways of responding
to conflict-use of pamphlets, demonstrations, cartoons, etc.-may sometimes
reduce tensions and lead to compromise but at other times they may be
inflammatory and make agreement more difficult to reach.
- Conflict within
a group may be reduced by conflict between it and other groups.
- Intergroup conflict
does not necessarily end when one segment of society gets a decision
in its favor, for the "losers" may then work all the harder
to reverse, modify, or circumvent the change. Even when the majority
of the people in a society agree on a social decision, the minority
who disagree must be protected from oppression, just as the majority
may need protection against unfair retaliation from the minority.
7G Global Interdependence:
- The wealth of
a country depends partly on the effort and skills of its workers, its
natural resources, and the capital and technology available to it.
- The wealth of
a country also depends on the balance between how much its products
are sought by other nations and how much of other nations' products
- Even if a country
could produce everything it needs for itself, it would still benefit
from trade with other countries.
- Because of increasing
international trade, the domestic products of any country may be made
up in part by parts made in other countries.
- The international
trade picture is often complicated by political motivations taking priority
over economic ones.
- Migration across
borders, temporary and permanent, legal and illegal, plays a major role
in the availability and distribution of labor in many nations. It can
bring both economic benefits and political problems.
- The growing interdependence
of world social, economic, and ecological systems does not always bring
greater worldwide stability and often increases the costs of conflict.
Chapter 8, The Designed World
Materials and Manufacturing:
- Waste management
includes considerations of quantity, safety, degradability, and cost.
It requires social and technological innovations, because waste-disposal
problems are political and economic as well as technical.
- Scientific research
identifies new materials and new uses of known materials.
- Increased knowledge
of the molecular structure of materials helps in the design and synthesis
of new materials for special purposes.
8C Energy Sources
- A central factor
in technological change has been how hot a fire could be made:
- The discovery
of new fuels, the design of better ovens and furnaces, and the forced
delivery of air or pure oxygen have progressively increased the
- At present,
all fuels have advantages and disadvantages so that society must
consider the trade-offs among them.
- Nuclear reactions
release energy without the combustion products of burning fuels,
but the radioactivity of fuels and by-products poses other risks,
which may last for thousands of years.
brings an increased demand for and use of energy. Such usage contributes
to the high standard of living in the industrially developing nations
but also leads to more rapid depletion of the earth's energy resources
and to environmental risks associated with the use of fossil and
to slow the depletion of energy sources through efficient technology
can be made at many levels, from personal to national, and they
always involve trade-offs of economic costs and social values.
Chapter 12, Habits of Mind
Values and Attitudes:
- Know why curiosity,
honesty, openness, and skepticism are so highly regarded in science
and how they are incorporated into the way science is carried out; exhibit
those traits in their own lives and value them in others.
- View science and
technology thoughtfully, being neither categorically antagonistic nor
- Choose appropriate
summary statistics to describe group differences, always indicating
the spread of the data as well as the data's central tendencies.
- Participate in
group discussions on scientific topics by restating or summarizing accurately
what others have said, asking for clarification or elaboration, and
expressing alternative positions.
- Use tables, charts,
and graphs in making arguments and claims in oral and written presentations.
- Notice and criticize
arguments based on the faulty, incomplete, or misleading use of numbers,
such as in instances when:
- average results
are reported, but not the amount of variation around the average
- a percentage
or fraction is given, but not the total sample size (as in "9
out of 1- dentists recommend...")
- absolute and
proportional quantities are mixed (as in "3,400 more robberies
in our city last year, whereas other cities had an increase of less
- results are
reported with overstated precision (as in representing 13 out of
19 students as 68.42%)
- Check graphs
to see that they do not misrepresent results by using inappropriate
scales or by failing to specify the axes clearly.
- Wonder how
likely it is that some event of interest might have occurred just
- Insist that
the critical assumptions behind any line of reasoning be made explicit
so that the validity of the position being taken-whether one's own
or that of others-can be judged.
- Be aware,
when considering claims, that when people try to prove a point,
they may select only the data that support it and ignore any that
would contradict it.
- Suggest alternative
ways of explaining data and criticize arguments in which data, explanations,
or conclusions are represented as the only ones worth consideration,
with no mention of other possibilities. Similarly, suggest alternative
trade-offs in decisions and designs and criticize those in which
major trade-offs are not acknowledged.