Scientific investigation and reasoning

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The student, for at least 40% of instructional time, conducts laboratory and field investigations following safety procedures and environmentally appropriate and ethical practices. The student is expected to
Demonstrate safe practices during laboratory and field investigations as outlined in Texas Education Agency-approved safety standards; and
Practice appropriate use and conservation of resources, including disposal, reuse, or recycling of materials.
The student uses scientific practices during laboratory and field investigations. The student is expected to:
Plan and implement comparative and descriptive investigations by making observations, asking well defined questions, and using appropriate equipment and technology;
Design and implement experimental investigations by making observations, asking well defined questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and using appropriate equipment and technology;
Collect and record data using the International System of Units (SI) and qualitative means such as labeled drawings, writing, and graphic organizers;
Construct tables and graphs, using repeated trials and means, to organize data and identify patterns; and
Analyze data to formulate reasonable explanations, communicate valid conclusions supported by the data, and predict trends.
The student uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving to make informed decisions and knows the contributions of relevant scientists. The student is expected to:
Analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student;
Use models to represent aspects of the natural world such as an atom, a molecule, space, or a geologic feature;
Identify advantages and limitations of models such as size, scale, properties, and materials; and
Relate the impact of research on scientific thought and society, including the history of science and contributions of scientists as related to the content.
The student knows how to use a variety of tools and safety equipment to conduct science inquiry. The student is expected to:
Use appropriate tools, including lab journals/notebooks, beakers, meter sticks, graduated cylinders, anemometers, psychrometers, hot plates, test tubes, spring scales, balances, microscopes, thermometers, calculators, computers, spectroscopes, timing devices, and other necessary equipment to collect, record, and analyze information; and
Use preventative safety equipment, including chemical splash goggles, aprons, and gloves, and be prepared to use emergency safety equipment, including an eye/face wash, a fire blanket, and a fire extinguisher.

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