Curriculum» National Standards

River City and the National Science Standards

The National Science Education Standards list seven content standards for K-12 school science (National Research Council, 1996). River City maps to five of these standards.

  1. CONTENT STANDARD A: As a result of activities in grades 5-12, all students should develop:
    • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
    • Understandings about scientific inquiry
      1. River City is an inquiry-based project;
      2. As an inquiry-based project, students gather data, hypothesize, use tools to test, analyze and make conclusions;
      3. Students are guided to learn the skills necessary to conduct scientific inquiry;
      4. Simultaneously, they engage in an authentic and personal inquiry investigation.
  2. CONTENT STANDARD C: As a result of their activities in grades 5-12, all students should develop understanding of:
    • Structure and function in living systems (grades 5-8)
    • Populations and ecosystems (grades 5-8)
    • Diversity and adaptations of organisms (grades 5-8)
    • Interdependence of organisms (grades 9-12)
      1. River City helps students understand disease and three forms of disease transmission;
      2. Students are guided to understanding the effect of disease on humans;Students investigate the niche of microorganisms;
      3. Students see the interactions between humans, microorganisms and the ecosystem they both inhabit;
      4. Students learn the role of microorganisms in causing disease.
  3. CONTENT STANDARD E: As a result of activities in grades 5-12, all students should develop:
    • Abilities of technological design
    • Understandings about science and technology
      1. Students are asked to design virtually an intervention that will potentially solve the River City epidemic;
      2. Students evaluate their intervention to see if it did indeed affect the spread of disease;
      3. Students learn that technological inventions such as microscopes drive scientific discoveries by expanding scientists' ability to make observations;
      4. Students investigate the intended and unintended consequences of a newly introduced technological invention.
  4. CONTENT STANDARD F: As a result of activities in grades 5-12, all students should develop understanding of Personal health
    • Community Health (grades 9-12)
    • Populations, resources, and environments (grades 5-8)
    • Environmental quality (grades 9-12)
    • Natural hazards
    • Human-induced hazards (grades 9-12)
    • Risks and benefits
    • Science and technology in society
      1. Students explore three different diseases with varying health impact;
      2. Students discover that there are human-caused health hazards in the river;
      3. Students' investigations lead them to understand that the causes of these hazards stem from natural occurrences such as heavy rain, water stagnation as well as human impact;
      4. Through experimentation, students are able to test out their hypothesis of the cause of the sudden increase in disease before making recommendations;
      5. Students need to weigh the advantages and drawbacks to various interventions before choosing what they view as the best option;
      6. Students join politicians, doctors, and university professors in working together to understand the impact on the poorest segment of the River City population.
  5. CONTENT STANDARD G: As a result of activities in grades 5-12, all students should develop understanding of: Science as a human endeavor
    • Nature of science (grades 5-8) and of scientific knowledge (grades 9-12)
    • History of science (grades 5-8)
    • Historical perspectives (grades 9-12)
      1. Students participate in science along with men and women in various virtual roles;
      2. Students are exposed to concepts of nature of science;
      3. Students are encouraged to base their conclusions and decisions on evidence and to re-evaluate them in light of new evidence;
      4. Students travel back in time to experience the “dawn of microbiology” along with the culture and habits typical of that time


National Research Council. (1996). National science education standards: Observe, interact, change, learn. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Harvard University | Arizona State University | 1878 Archives | Active Worlds

Site content copyright © 2004-2012 Harvard University. Questions concerning this site? Contact the webmaster.