Key Idea: There is no guarantee that ideas based solely on a model are correct.

Students are expected to know that:

  1. Since a model is not identical to the object, event, or process it represents, it may look or behave differently than what it is representing.
  2. The only way to find out how adequately a model represents the behavior of a real world phenomenon is to check and see if the real world phenomenon behaves the way the model predicts it will behave.
  3. If a model and the phenomenon it represents behave differently, one or more significant aspects of the phenomenon are not being represented accurately, or are not being represented at all. Changing which aspects of the phenomenon are represented accurately (and which are not) may lead to a model that behaves more like the phenomenon behaves.
Percent of students answering correctly (click on the item ID number to view the item and additional data)
Item ID
Number
Knowledge Being Assessed Grades
6–8
Grades
9–12
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MO068003

If a student makes a drawing of how he thinks evaporation works and it turns out it was incorrect, he should make a new version that more accurately represents what he now knows about evaporation.

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MO094001

A model can predict the behavior of the object it represents (e.g. how a roof will perform in a rainstorm), but the predicted behavior may not be exactly the same as the object’s actual behavior because a model is never exactly the same as the object it represents.

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MO095001

A model can predict the behavior of the object it represents (e.g., a car crashing into a wall), but the predicted behavior of the object may not be exactly the same as the actual behavior of the object because a model is never exactly the same as the object it represents.

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MO069004

If a student makes a drawing of how he thinks people see in the dark and it turns out it was incorrect, he should make a new version that more accurately represents what he now knows about how people see in the dark.

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MO067003

Even if an engineer makes a good model of an airplane and discovers that it can fly well in the rain, she still cannot be absolutely certain that the real airplane will fly well in the rain unless she actually flies it in the rain.

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MO070004

A model of an object can be used to predict how an object will behave, but the prediction may not be the same as the actual behavior of the object because a model is never exactly like the object it represents.

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