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The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, English Language Arts

Resource Type

  • Videos, 1 minute, 37 seconds, CC

Regional Focus



Downloadable MP4/M4V

Decoding Science

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  • This short video talks about the nature of science, describes science as a process, and stresses that knowledge gained through science can be challenged, retested, or strengthened over time.
  • It provides ways to evaluate studies based on the size of the study, the funding source of the study, the factors considered, and the breadth of knowledge on the topic.
Teaching Tips


  • This video is very short and would be a great way to start a discussion at the beginning of a science course.
  • Understanding how to judge the trustworthiness of sources of information can be a challenge for anyone and this resource can help explain how science aims to build knowledge.

Additional Prerequisites

  • It would be helpful to review the scientific method and experimental design with students before or after this video.


  • Math and science classes can use this video to discuss the power of sample size in calculating averages, medians, and doing other statistical analyses.
  • Social studies classes could discuss why it might matter where the funding for a study came from and how it may impact the distribution of the results in the media.
  • Before starting the video, ask students the question "What is science?"  Using their answers, lead a discussion about how science is useful in answering questions in everyday life.
  • After watching the video have students discuss ways that science has helped solve problems in their school or in their lives.
  • To further explore the nature of science, check out the resource Interdependence of Science, Engineering and, Technology.
Scientist Notes
In addition to offering decisions, understandings, and answers using theories, hypotheses, inferences, and generalizations, this resource emphasizes the function of science in supplying reliable knowledge and information about an unknown world, a phenomenon, or a problem. The use of this resource in the classroom is advised.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 3: Gathering and Evaluating Sources
      • D3.2.6-8 Evaluate the credibility of a source by determining its relevance and intended use.
      • D3.2.9-12 Evaluate the credibility of a source by examining how experts value the source.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6.2 Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
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