Nature of Science (NOS)


  • Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods
  • Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence
  • Scientific Knowledge is Open to Revision in Light of New Evidence
  • Scientific Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories Explain Natural Phenomena
  • Science is a Way of Knowing
  • Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems
  • Science is a Human Endeavor
  • Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World

Next Generation Science Standards (NOS)

The Process of Science

Science rarely proceeds in a clean-cut linear fashion. Nonetheless, there are stages of inquiry that are common in scientific projects. This image depicts 10 stages of scientific inquiry that a project might include. For most citizen science projects participants are mainly involved in data gathering. Please refer to the presentation "Where is the Science in Citizen Science?" for more information on incorporating the process of science in citizen science projects.

Other resources for NOS & the Scientific Process

"All those involved with science teaching and learning should have a common, accurate view of the nature of science. Science is characterized by the systematic gathering of information through various forms of direct and indirect observations and the testing of this information by methods including, but not limited to, experimentation. The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts."

Position Statement from National Science Teachers Association


"In general, the nature of science refers to key principles and ideas which provide a description of science as a way of knowing, as well as characteristics of scientific knowledge. Many of these intrinsic ideas are lost in the everyday aspects of a science classroom, resulting in students learning skewed notions about how science is conducted."

Butterfly Project (NOS)