The sixth-grade standards continue to emphasize data analysis and experimentation. Methods are studied for testing the validity of predictions and conclusions. Scientific methodology, focusing on precision in stating hypotheses and defining dependent and independent variables, is strongly reinforced. The concept of change is explored through the study of transformations of energy and matter. The standards present an integrated focus on the role of the sun’s energy in Earth’s systems, on water in the environment, on air and atmosphere, and on basic chemistry concepts. A more detailed understanding of the solar system and space exploration becomes a focus of instruction. Natural resource management, its relation to public policy, and cost/benefit tradeoffs in conservation policies are introduced.
The sixth-grade standards continue to focus on student growth in understanding the nature of science. This scientific view defines the idea that explanations of nature are developed and tested using observation, experimentation, models, evidence, and systematic processes. The nature of science includes the concepts that scientific explanations are based on logical thinking; are subject to rules of evidence; are consistent with observational, inferential, and experimental evidence; are open to rational critique; and are subject to refinement and change with the addition of new scientific evidence. The nature of science includes the concept that science can provide explanations about nature and can predict potential consequences of actions, but cannot be used to answer all questions.
-from Virginia Standards of Learning