Fundamentals of Natural Science


Fundamentals of Natural Science – The graduate examines fundamental concepts and theories in the natural sciences.


The body of scientific knowledge and understanding constantly undergoes change and refinement. Scientific discoveries and historical events have the capacity to alter our understanding of scientific concepts and the natural world.

Scientific discovery is based on observation, study, and experimentation, which in turn leads to new understanding. Theories such as the big bang are examples of a concept or phenomena in science about which what we know has changed over time based on new knowledge, understanding, and research.

Historical events, such as major natural disasters, have often led to new discoveries about our natural world, especially due to their unique capacity to yield real world data that can be further studied in the lab and field using models, simulations, smaller scale studies, etc.

In this task, you will explore specific examples of how our scientific understanding has changed over time based on research and new discoveries on (1) a concept in science, and (2) as a result of a historical event in our natural world.


  1.  Create a multimedia presentation (e.g. PowerPoint, Keynote) (suggested length of 8–10 slides) in which you do the following:
  2.  Identify a specific scientific concept or phenomenon for which our understanding has changed over time (e.g., the nature and structure of the atom, genetics, plate tectonics, evolution, the solar system, big bang, biogeography).
  3.  Explain how scientific discoveries have changed our understanding of that scientific concept or phenomenon over time.
  4.  Include threespecific, sequential examples that support your explanation of how your chosen concept has changed over time based on new knowledge and understanding.
  5.  Identify a specific historical event that has changed our scientific understanding of an aspect of the natural world (e.g., the eruption of Mount St. Helens, the tsunami in Indonesia, the moon landing, Chernobyl disaster, Exxon Valdez oil spill, major floods, earthquakes, tornadoes).
  6.  Discuss the social or historical context in which the event occurred.
  7.  Discuss the impact that your chosen historical event has had upon our scientific understanding of an aspect of the natural world.
  8.  Include twospecific examples that support your analysis of how this event added to or changed our understanding of science in the natural world.
  1. When you use sources, include all in-text citations and references in APA format.

Note: When bulleted points are present in the task prompt, the level of detail or support called for in the rubric refers to those bulleted points.

Note: For definitions of terms commonly used in the rubric, see the Rubric Terms web link included in the Evaluation Procedures section.

Note: When using sources to support ideas and elements in a paper or project, the submission MUST include APA formatted in-text citations with a corresponding reference list for any direct quotes or paraphrasing. It is not necessary to list sources that were consulted if they have not been quoted or paraphrased in the text of the paper or project.

Note: No more than a combined total of 30% of a submission can be directly quoted or closely paraphrased from sources, even if cited correctly. For tips on using APA style, please refer to the APA Handout web link included in the APA Guidelines section.




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