Courses in the science and technology category should educate students to become questioning, critical thinkers by teaching them the thought processes with which scientists, engineers, and other inventors view the world.
Science plays a central role in the attempt to answer many of the deepest questions pondered by humans throughout history. Scientific reasoning is central to understanding the workings of the human mind, the nature of the universe, and a vast array of contemporary challenges. Technology, in turn, translates basic scientific knowledge into vital tools, products, and processes. As citizens, our graduates will be faced with making personal and policy decisions that will require the ability to understand and synthesize information and evidence, the discernment of limitations of current scientific understanding or technical resources, and the ability to analytically evaluate competing claims, approaches, or policies.
All areas of science share the common goal of building a body of knowledge based on observation, experiment, and evidence. It is inherent to science that current explanations are open to scrutiny; scientific and technical knowledge are both continually refined and changed as new evidence comes to light. Science and technology, however, are richer than a simple application or exposition of the scientific method. The study of life and its origins as well as how organisms adapt to and change their environments and how they can be affected by such things as disease leads one to a corpus of knowledge and a set of experimental techniques that elucidate this area of science. These ideas are far removed, though, from the concepts and experimental techniques used to study physical systems such as the origin of the universe, the fundamental particles and their interactions, superconductivity, or earth’s climate. Science and technology as a whole thus represent multiple ways of knowing, each with a fundamental basis in applications of the scientific method.