Thermal Properties of Soils
Benchmarks Addressed in this Module

The content and methodology in this module were organized relative to the Benchmarks for Science Literacy from American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The Benchmarks are a statement of what promotes literacy in science, mathematics, and technology. The following passages list the relevant parts of the Benchmarks addressed in this module.

Scientific World View (pp. 5 8)
Results of scientific investigations seldom turn out exactly the same.
New information challenges prevailing theories.
Some matters cannot be examined usefully in a scientific way.

Scientific Inquiry (pp. 9 13)
People can learn things by making careful observations.
Tools (thermometers, rulers, etc.) often give more information about things than just observing.
Fresh observations are necessary when observations differ.
Scientific observations take many forms such as collecting specimens, doing experiments and making observations.
If more than one variable changes at the same time in an experiment, the outcome of the experiment may not be clearly attributed to any one of the variable.
Investigations are conducted for different reasons, including to explore new phenomena to check on previous results, to test how well a theory predicts, and to compare different theories.

Scientific Enterprise (pp. 14 20)
Everybody can "do" science and invent things and ideas.
In "doing science" it is often helpful to work with a team and to share findings with others.
Science is an adventure that people everywhere can take part in, as they have for many centuries.
No matter who does science and mathematics or invents things, or when or where they do it, the knowledge and technology that result can eventually become available to everyone in the world.
Computers have become invaluable in science because they speed up and extend people's ability to collect, store, compile, and analyze data, prepare research reports, and share data and ideas with investigators all over the world.
Accurate record keeping, openness, and replication are essential for maintaining an investigator's credibility with other scientists and society.

Patterns and Relationships (pp. 25 29)
Mathematical ideas can be represented concretely, graphically, and symbolically.

Mathematics, science, and Technology (pp. 30 33)
Students make observations, collect and sort things, use tools, and build things.
Graphing, making tables, constructing scale drawings becomes commonplace in student inquiries.

Technology and Science (pp. 43 47) This part applies only if data collection and analysis was performed by computers, calculators, or other special devises.
Tools are used to do things better or more easily and to do some things that could not otherwise be done at all.
Measuring instruments can be used to gather accurate information for making scientific comparisons of objects and events and for designing and constructing things that work properly.

Design and Systems (pp. 48 52)
People can use objects and ways of doing things to solve problems.
People may not be able to actually make or do everything they can design.
The solution to one problem may create other problems.
Design usually takes constraints into account.
In designing a device or process, thought should be given to how it will be manufactured, operated, maintained, replaced, and disposed of and who will sell, operate, and take care of it.

Issues in Technology (pp. 53 57)
People, alone or in groups, are always inventing new ways to solve problems and get work done.
Scientific laws, engineering principles, properties of materials, and construction techniques must be taken into account in designing engineering solutions to problems.
Technology cannot always provide successful solutions for problems or fulfill every human need.

The Universe (pp. 61 65)
The Earth is one of several planets that orbit the Sun.
Planets of varying size, composition, and surface features move around the Sun in nearly circular orbits.

The Earth (pp. 66 70)
Some events in Nature have a repeating pattern.
We live on a relatively small planet, the third from the Sun in the only system of planets definitely known to exist.

Structure of Matter (pp. 75 80)
Objects can be described in terms of the materials they are made of (clay, cloth, paper, etc.) and their physical properties (color, size, shape, weight, texture, flexibility, etc.)

Energy Transformations (pp. 81 86)
The Sun warms the land, air, and water.
Things that give off light often also give off heat.
Some materials conduct heat much better than others.
Heat can be transferred through materials by the collisions of atoms or across space by radiation.

Flow of Matter and Energy (pp. 118 121)
Plants and animals both need to take in water, and animals need to take in food.
Almost all kinds of animals' food can be traced back to plants.

Human Identity (pp. 128 130)
People need water, food, air, waste removal, and a particular range of temperatures in their environment, just as other animals do.
People tend to live in families and communities in which individuals have different roles.

Cultural Effects on Behavior (pp. 153 156)
People can learn from others from direct experience, from the mass communications media, and from listening to other people talk about their work and their lives.
Technology, especially in transportation and communication, is increasingly important in spreading ideas, values, and behavior patterns within a society and among different societies.

Social Trade-offs (pp. 164 166)
Different people may make different choices for different reasons.
Choices have consequences, some of which are more serious than others.
In making decisions, it helps to take time to consider the benefits and drawbacks of alternatives.

Political and Economic Systems (pp. 167 170)
Everyone wants to be treated fairly, and some rules can help to do that.

Materials and Manufacturing (pp. 187 191)
Some kinds of materials are better than others for making any particular thing.
Several steps are usually involved in making things.

Energy sources and Use (pp. 192 195)
The Sun is the main source of energy for people and they use it in various ways.

Numbers (pp. 210 214)
Sometimes in sharing or measuring there is a need to use numbers between whole numbers.
Simple graphs can help to tell about observations
When people care about what is being counted or measured, it is important for them to say what the units are.
Measurements are always likely to give slightly different numbers, even if what is being measured stays the same.

Symbolic Relationships (pp. 215 221)
Similar patterns may show up in many places in nature and in the things people make.
Sometimes changing one thing causes changes in something else.
Tables and graphs can show how values of one quantity are related to values of another.

Shapes (pp. 222 225)
Graphical displays of numbers may make it possible to spot patterns that are not otherwise obvious, such as comparative size and trends.

Uncertainty (pp. 226 230)
Even when there is plentiful data, it may not be obvious what mathematical model to use to make predictions from them or where may be insufficient computing power to use some models.

Reasoning (pp. 231 234)
People are more likely to believe your ideas if you can give good reasons for them.
One way to make sense of something is to think how it is like something more familiar.
Reasoning can be distorted by strong feelings.

Models (pp. 267 270)
One way to describe something is to say how it is like something else.

Constancy and Change (pp. 271 275)
Things can change in different ways, such as in size, weight, color, and movement. Some small changes can be detected by taking measurements.
Some features of things may stay the same even when other features change. Some patterns look the same when they are shifted over, or turned, or reflected or seen from different directions.
Things change in steady, repetitive, or irregular ways or sometimes in more than one way at the same time. Often the best way to tell which kinds of change are happening is to make a table or graph of measurements.
Things that change in cycles, such as the seasons or body temperature, can be described by their cycle length or frequency, what the highest and lowest values are, and when they occur.
Graphs and equations are useful (and often equivalent) ways for depicting and analyzing patterns of change.

Scale (pp. 276 279)
Almost anything has limits on how big or small it can be.

Values and Attitudes (pp. 284 287)
Keep records of their investigations and observations and not change the records later.
Offer reasons for their findings and consider reasons suggested by others.
Know that hypotheses are valuable, even if they turn out now to be true, if they lead to fruitful investigations.
Know that often different explanations can be given for the same evidence, that it is not always possible to tell which one is correct.
Know why curiosity, honesty, openness, and skepticism are so highly regarded in science and how they are incorporated into the way science is carried out; exhibit those traits in their own lives and value them in others.

Computation and Estimation (pp. 288 291)
Judge whether measurements and computations of quantities such as length, area, volume, weight, or time are reasonable in a familiar context by comparing them to typical values.
Use computer spreadsheet, graphing, and database programs to assist in quantitative analysis. (This part applies only if data collection and analysis was performed by computers, calculators, or other special devises.)

Manipulation and Observation (pp. 292 294)
Read analog and digital meters on instruments used to make direct measurements of length, volume, weight, elapsed time, rates, and temperature, and choose appropriate units for reporting various magnitudes.

Communication Skills (pp. 295 297)
Use numerical data in describing and comparing objects and events.
Organize information in simple tables and graphs an identify relationships they reveal.
Read simple tables and graphs produced by others and describe in words what they show.

Critical Response Skills (pp. 298 300)
Ask "How do you know?" in appropriate situations and attempt reasonable answers when others ask them the same question.
Recognize when comparisons might not be fair because some conditions are not kept the same.
Be aware that there may be more than one good way to interpret a given set of findings.

The above headings and descriptors were abstracted from:
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Benchmarks for Science Literacy, 1993.

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