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2004 Minnesota State Science Standards

The entire set of 2004 Minnesota State Science Standards may be found here. (This is in pdf format.)

The following excerpt from the standards directs schools to teach about the controversy surrounding the theory of evolution. This section of the standards, Nature of Science, is not from the sections that will be tested by the state assessments, and other parts of the science standards teach only evolutionary theory. Therefore, the state cannot enforce these standards.

However, Minnesota parents and school board members may use these standards to support their efforts to have their schools teach the controversy in evolutionary theory. It will be very difficult, for example, for schools to prohibit teachers from teaching the controversy when this language has been adopted by the state legislature as part of the state science standards.

The Santorum amendment, a section of the No Child Left Behind Congressional conference report that was agreed to by Congressional House and Senate conference committee members, clarifies Congressional intent that all sides of controversial subjects such as evolution be included. The amendment states: "Where topics are taught that may generate controversy [such as biological evolution], the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist and why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society."

Also see more discussion of this debate from our website.

Grades 912
NATURE OF SCIENCE
A. Scientific World View

Standard
The student will understand the nature of scientific ways of thinking and that scientific knowledge changes and accumulates
over time.

Benchmarks
1. The student will be able to distinguish among hypothesis, theory and law as scientific terms and how they are used to answer a specific question.

2. The student will be able to explain how scientific and technological innovations as well as new evidence can challenge portions of or entire accepted theories and models including but not limited to cell theory, atomic theory, theory of evolution, plate tectonic theory, germ theory of disease and big bang theory.

3. The student will recognize that in order to be valid, scientific knowledge must meet certain criteria including that it: be consistent with experimental, observational and inferential evidence about nature; follow rules of logic and reporting both methods and procedures; and, be falsifiable and open to criticism.