Unified Science Processes - categories and descriptions

Systems, Order, and Organization
are units of investigation, an organized group of related objects or components that form a whole. (organisms, machines, fundamental particles, galaxies, ideas, numbers, transportation, and education. Systems have boundaries, components, resources flow (input and output), and feedback.

is the behavior of units of matter, objects, organisms, or events in the universe. It can be described statistically. Probability is the relative certainty or uncertainty that individuals can assign to selected events happening or not happening in a specified space or time. In science reduction of uncertainty occurs through such processes as the development of knowledge about factors influencing objects, organisms, systems, or events; better and more observations; and better explanatory models.

includes different types and levels. Types include periodic table of elements, classification of organisms... Levels include matter - fundamental particles, atoms, molecules, and organism - cells, tissues, organs. organisms, populations, communities. Levels can change according to needs and interactions between the levels occur.

Evidence, Models, and Explanations
consists of observations and data on which to base scientific explanations. Use of evidence helps to understand interactions and predict changes in natural and designed systems.

are tentative schemes or structures that correspond to real objects, events, or classes of events, and that have explanatory power for how things work. (Physical objects, plans, mental constructs, mathematical equations, and computer simulations.

Scientific explanations
incorporate scientific knowledge and new evidence from observation, experiments, or models into internally consistent, logical statements (hypothesis, model, law, principle, theory, and paradigm are used to describe various types of scientific explanations).

Constancy, Change, and Measurement
(speed of light, charge of electron, mass plus energy in the universe)

(Properties of matter, position of objects, motion, form and function of systems.) Changes also vary in rate, scale, and pattern including trends and cycles. Energy can be transferred and matter can be changed, however the sum of matter and energy in systems remains the same.

Changes can be quantified. Evidence for interactions and subsequent change and the formulation of scientific explanations are often clarified through quantitative distinctions - measurement. 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 measure quantity (50 meters per second). Rate is also a measure of change for a part relative to the whole, (birth rate as part of population growth).

Evolution and Equilibrium
is a series of changes, some gradual and some sporadic, that accounts for the present form and function of objects, organisms, and natural and designed systems. The general idea of evolution is that the present arises from materials and forms of the past.

is a physical state in which forces and changes occur in opposite and off-setting directions. Opposite forces are of the same magnitude, or off-setting changes occur at equal rates. Steady state, balance, or homeostasis also describes equilibrium states. Interacting units of matte tend toward equilibrium states in which the energy is distributed as randomly and uniformly as possible.

Form and Function
is the shape of an object or system.

is the use or operation of an object or system.
Form and function are complementary aspects of objects, organisms, and systems in the natural and designed world. The form or shape of an object or system is frequently related to use, operation, or function. Function frequently relies on form. Understanding of form and function applies to different levels of organization Students should be able to explain form by referring to function and explain function by referring to form.

Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©