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Evidence-based Decision-making

Evidence-based Decision-making

TEKS Objective

The student is expected to in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.

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Essential Understanding

The student knows that information, critical thinking, scientific problem solving, and the contributions of scientists are used in making decisions.

Science Background

Teaching Critical Thinking, Lessons from Cognitive Science: Tim van Gelder (PDF) - Unpublished journal article that discusses the role and importance of critical thinking in education.

Teaching Critical Thinking, Lessons from Cognitive Science
by Tim van Gelder, www.timvangelder.com

Signature Lesson

Introduction to Experimental Design: Learn NC (website) - Students learn and use experimental design vocabulary, and practice their critical thinking skills by reading an experiment description, analyzing the information provided, and answering questions about the experiment’s design.

Introduction to Experimental Design
Learn NC, www.learnnc.org

Supporting Lessons

The Case of the Missing Computer Chip: Indiana University (website) - Analyzing and evaluating clues and pieces of evidence, students attempt to resolve a simulated crime.

The Case of the Missing Computer Chip
Indiana University, www.indiana.edu

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Biased Sampling: Science NetLinks (website) – Students learn that gathering data can be flawed if the methodology is flawed.  Biases are also examined.

Biased Sampling
Science NetLinks, www.sciencenetlinks.com

Assessment Ideas

Have student groups design fair tests to compare two or three brands of the same commercial product. Then have each student write a paper that uses evidence collected during the test to identify the best product among those considered.

Literature Connections

Building Thinking Skills. Parks, Sandra (ISBN-13: 978-1601441492)

Crime Scene Detective. Schulz, Karen (ISBN-13: 978-1593630638)

Related Science TEKS

(3.1A) Science Safety
The student is expected to demonstrate safe practices as described in the Texas Safety Standards during classroom and outdoor investigations, including observing a schoolyard habitat.

(3.1B) Recycling/Disposal of Science Materials
The student is expected to make informed choices in the use and conservation of natural resources by recycling or reusing materials such as paper, aluminum cans, and plastics.

(3.2A) Plan and Implement Descriptive Investigation
The student is expected to plan and implement descriptive investigations, including asking and answering questions, making inferences, and selecting and using equipment or technology needed, to solve a specific problem in the natural world.

(3.2B) Collect Data
The student is expected to collect data by observing and measuring using the metric system and recognize differences between observed and measured data.

(3.2C) Graphs, Tables, Charts
The student is expected to construct maps, graphic organizers, simple tables, charts, and bar graphs using tools and current technology to organize, examine, and evaluate measured data.

(3.2D) Analyze Evidence and Explain
The student is expected to analyze and interpret patterns in data to construct reasonable explanations based on evidence from investigations.

(3.2E) Value of Repeated Experiments
The student is expected to demonstrate that repeated investigations may increase the reliability of results.

(3.2F) Communicate Conclusions
The student is expected to communicate valid conclusions supported by data in writing, by drawing pictures, and through verbal discussion.

(3.4A) Tools for Collecting and Analyzing Information
The student is expected to collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including microscopes, cameras, computers, hand lenses, metric rulers, Celsius thermometers, wind vanes, rain gauges, pan balances, graduated cylinders, beakers, spring scales, hot plates, meter sticks, compasses, magnets, collecting nets, notebooks, sound recorders, and Sun, Earth, and Moon system models; timing devices, including clocks and stopwatches; and materials to support observation of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

(3.4B) Safety Equipment
The student is expected to use safety equipment as appropriate, including safety goggles and gloves.

Related Math TEKS

3.13A  The student is expected to collect, organize, record, and display data in pictographs and bar graphs where each picture or cell might represent more than one piece of data.

3.13B  The student is expected to interpret information from pictographs and bar graphs.

Additional Resources

Critical Thinking and Reflection: Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (website) - Resources to help teachers assess and develop students’ critical thinking and reflection skills.

Critical Thinking and Reflection
Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, learnhigher.ac.uk

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