National Science Content Standards (1995) Categories
Compared to the four subject dimensions:
process, knowledge, attitude, and perspective

Four subject dimensions Categories in National Science Standards

Process and Inquiry knowledge


Inquiry and process skills

The system of actions and procedures that are used to create knowledge in the subject or discipline.

Unifying Concepts

Systems, Order, and Organization - A system is an organized group of related objects or components that form a whole. Scientists investigate systems

Evidence, Models, and Explanations - Objects have many observable properties, including size, weight, shape, temperature, and the ability to react with other substances.

Constancy, Change, and Measurement - Properties can be measured using tools, such as rulers, balances, and thermometers.

Evolution and Equilibrium - Evolution 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.

Form and Function - Form and function are complementary aspects of objects, organisms, and systems in the natural and designed world.

Science as Inquiry - Inquiry is the process of investigation to make discoveries.

Content knowledge

The ideas (facts, concepts, generalizations, principles, theories, and or laws) that are created by doing the subject.

Physical science - Materials can exist in different states- solids, liquids, and gas. Some common materials, such as water, can be changed from one state to another by heating or cooling.

Life science - Plants and animals have life cycles that include being born, developing into adults, reproducing, and eventually dying. The details of this life cycle are different for different organisms.

Earth science- The surface of the earth changes. Some changes are due to slow processes, such s erosion and weathering, and some changes are due to rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.


The relationship of the different dimensions of a subject or discipline to its other dimensions and to its whole as well as the subject's or discipline's relative significance for explaining and understanding the world.

Science and Technology - Tools help scientists make better observations, measurements, and equipment for investigations.

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives - Individuals have some responsibility for their own health. The size of a human population can increase or decrease. Populations will increase unless other factors such as disease or famine decrease the population.

History & Nature of Science Science and technology - have been practiced by people for a long time. Men and women have made a variety of contributions throughout the history of science and technology. Although men and women using scientific inquiry have learned much about the objects, events, and phenomena in nature, much more remains to be understood. Science will never be finished. Many people choose science as a career and devote their entire lives to studying it. Many people derive great pleasure from doing science.


The diposition and values that people have that increase their likelihood of success in the subject or discipline.

  Not referenced as concepts


Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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