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I was looking through the New Zealand Curriculum last week and came across it’s definition of science. I like it.

“Science is a way of investigating, understanding, and explaining our natural, physical world and the wider universe. It involves generating and testing ideas, gathering evidence – including by making observations, carrying out investigations and modelling, and communicating and debating with others – in order to devleop scientific knowledge, understanding and explanations. Scientific progress comes from logical, systematic work and from creative insight, built on a foundation of respect for evidence.”

While it is a longer definition than others I have seen I like it for a number of reasons.

First it points out that scientific progress comes not just from logical, systematic work but also from creative insight – that brilliant capacity to take what is known and extrapolate and think what if ….. For me it is these eureka moments that really make science exciting.

Second, I love the phrase “built on a foundation of respect for evidence”.

I wonder how many students actually see this definition and have it explained to them? It is fantastic.