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NSW Syllabuses

Investigating Science Stage 6 - Year 11 - Module 4: Theories and Laws Module 4: Theories and laws

Outcomes

A student:

  • INS11/12-5

    analyses and evaluates primary and secondary data and information

  • INS11/12-6

    solves scientific problems using primary and secondary data, critical thinking skills and scientific processes

  • INS11/12-7

    communicates scientific understanding using suitable language and terminology for a specific audience or purpose

  • INS11-11

    describes and assesses how scientific explanations, laws and theories have developed

Related Life Skills outcomes: SCLS6-5, SCLS6-6, SCLS6-7, SCLS6-10

Content Focus

The term ‘science’ comes from the Latin scientia, which means 'a knowledge based on demonstrable and reproducible data'. Reproducible data is used by scientists to develop theories and laws to explain and describe phenomena. Theories provide a coherent understanding of a wide range of phenomena. A law is usually a statement that can be expressed as a mathematical relationship. It describes phenomena in nature, with no exceptions, at a point in time. Testing scientific theories drives scientific breakthroughs and questions current understandings.

Students examine how complex models and theories often require a wide range of evidence, which impacts on society and the environment. In this module, students engage in practical and secondary investigations that are related to major theories or laws and their application.

Working Scientifically

In this module, students focus on analysing and evaluating data to solve problems and communicate ideas about the development of theories and laws. Students should be provided with opportunities to engage with all Working Scientifically skills throughout the course.

Content

  • Introduction to Scientific Theories and Laws

  • Inquiry question: What are the differences and similarities between scientific theories and laws?
  • Students:
  • collect primary data to investigate the law of conservation of mass ictln
  • collect secondary-sourced data to investigate the theory of plate tectonics ictln
  • compare the characteristics of theories and laws cctwe
  • Development of a Theory

  • Inquiry question: What leads to a theory being developed?
  • Students:
  • gather secondary-sourced data to investigate the supporting evidence and development of theories, including but not limited to: cctictln
  • germ theory
  • oxygen theory of combustion
  • gather secondary-sourced data to investigate how aspects of a theory can be disproved through the collection of evidence, including: cctictln
  • Geocentric Theory (of the solar system)
  • Theory of Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics
  • Dalton’s atomic theory
  • Steady State Theory of the Universe (in cosmology)
  • Development of Laws

  • Inquiry question: What leads to the acceptance of a scientific law?
  • Students:
  • gather secondary-sourced data to investigate and assess the evidence that supports scientific laws, including but not limited to: cctictln
  • Newton’s Second Law of Motion
  • Avogadro’s Law
  • law of superposition
  • Mendel’s Law of Dominance
  • design and collect primary data to show that results can be predicted by laws, including but not limited to: cct
  • Ohm’s Law
  • law of conservation of energy
  • Application of Theories and Laws in Science

  • Inquiry question: How are theories and laws used in science?
  • Students:
  • investigate how the law of conservation of energy is applied in different science disciplines through primary and secondary-sourced research, including but not limited to: cctictln
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Human Biology
  • Earth and Environmental Science
  • demonstrate, using evidence and examples, how diverse phenomena have been unified into specific theories, for example: cctictln
  • atomic theory
  • theory of evolution
  • Big Bang theory
  • plate tectonic theory
  • gather secondary-sourced data to investigate how scientific investigations of nuclear reactions and decay changed the way in which the law of conservation of mass and law of conservation of energy are interpreted cctictln