Science Education Resources

Big Ideas in Science

These big ideas represent overarching principles in the science curriculum, and they are just that, ideas. They are statements about what the main principles of each curriculum encompass. They are not definitions of terms. That being said, these big ideas are courtesy of Dr. Janice Koch and her classes at Hofstra University. In the coming months, we will be developing our own set of big ideas, which will be posted here when complete.

The big ideas can also be looked at as "umbrellas", where the content material from various subjects can be brought under the same "umbrella" in order to develop a common theme running through the science curricula. The link below is a document explaining this idea in further detail, provided by Marion Zachowski.

Umbrella Big Ideas

  • Big Ideas In Chemistry
    • Matter is made from discrete fundamental units called atoms.
    • Chemical and physical properties of materials can be explained by the structure and arrangement of atoms, ions, and molecules and the forces between them.
    • Rates of chemical reactions are determined by the details of the molecular collisions.
    • The law of thermodynamics explains and directs the changes in matter
    • Any bond or intermolecular attraction that can be formed can be broken.
  • Big Ideas In Biology
    • Cells are the most basic unit of life in living organisms. All cells come from other cells.
    • Homeostasis is an organism's ability to remain stable and stay alive by making changes to maintain a dynamic equilibrium.
    • All life grows and changes over long periods of time through the processes of evolution and natural selection.
    • The interaction of living and nonliving elements of nature constitutes an ecosystem, and each one of the interactions is important to maintaining the balance of the ecosystem.
    • DNA is a chemical code that makes up the hereditary material that is used to pass traits on from parent to offspring.
  • Big Ideas In Earth Science
    • The Earth is composed of "plates" that float on a liquid-like layer called the asthenosphere. The movement of these "plates" is the cause of many geologic events.
    • The Earth revolves around the sun while rotating on its axis.
    • Weather is the daily change in temperature and atmospheric condition, climate is the average weather of an area over a given period of time.
    • Rocks and minerals are formed and broken down by erosion and deposition, respectively.
    • The Earth is part of a galaxy named the Milky Way, which is in motion in the universe. This universe is expanding per the Big Bang Theory.

Big Ideas in Physics coming soon!