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Transcript of Unit 1!
Objective When you show these characteristics, you are thinking like a scientist. Scientists are curious about the world and how it works. They are creative and use their imagination to come up with explanations, experiments, and solutions. Scientists make careful observations. They may use their senses or scientific tools to make observations. Pseudoscience is beliefs or practices that are mistakenly believed to be based on scientific principles. Pseudoscience can look like science, but it is not science. Both science and pseudoscience can address topics from the natural world. Pseudoscientific claims sound logical. They may use technical language or scientific-sounding terms. Both science and pseudoscience claim to be supported by empirical evidence. Scientists are logical. They use evidence and careful reasoning to develop explanations. Scientists are skeptical. They do not immediately accept claims. Instead, they ask questions and evaluate the claims. Scientists are objective. They set aside their feelings and opinions when they evaluate ideas. Unlike science, pseudoscience does not use accepted scientific methods. The evidence supporting pseudoscientific claims may be vague, biased, or inaccurate. Pseudoscientific claims are often not testable Pseudoscientists may say that any claim that has not been proven false must be true. This is faulty logic. Pseudoscience is different from science in the way that scientists offer evidence for their explanations. Pseudoscientists often ask skeptics to prove their claims false. Lesson 2! Scientific Knowledge Scientists plan their investigations to address a specific problem or question. Their goal is to come up with a scientific explanation. Each problem or question is unique and so requires a unique method and the proper tools. Scientists also need to be creative in the ways they use their tools. Tools are useful only if the scientists using them can interpret the data they provide. This skill is a large part of the education of a scientist. When choosing their methods, scientists rely on the tools available. Scientists, however, know they don't always have the tools they need. Some tools may be too expensive, and others may not exist. Based on the subject under study, scientists may plan to do experiments or field work. When doing experiments, scientists control different variables under precise conditions in a laboratory. Generally, physicists do a lot of experiments. Scientists doing fieldwork make observations of what is around them by watching, observing, and trying to make sense of what they see. They try to determine what variables are at work instead of controlling them. A large part of doing fieldwork is coming to understand the variables that exist. Biologists and geologists generally do a lot of field work. Some theories are quickly accepted; others are not A good scientific theory is one that is supported by most of the evidence and can account for new observations as they arise. Such a theory becomes widely accepted. At times, new evidence is discovered and scientists may find that an earlier theory was incorrect or incomplete. Theories often get modified but are rarely changed The most reliable scientific information is found in professional scientific journals, but it may not be easy to understand. Remember that science does not claim to prove anything, it attempts to provide an explanation that agrees with the results of observation and testing. You should be cautious of accepting scientific explanations from advertisers or anyone trying to sell you something. When you assess any scientific claim, ask yourself if it makes sense logically and whether the results support it. Scientists investigate the natural world through experiments and observations. Lesson 3! Scientific Investigations An experiment is an organized procedure to study something under controlled conditions. Observation is the process of obtaining information by using the senses. Scientific investigations may also involve the use of models. A model is a representation of an object or system. Hypothesis must be carefully constructed so they can be tested in a practical and meaningful way. A testable idea that leads to scientific investigation is a hypothesis. A scientist may think of a hypothesis after making observations or after reading findings from other scientists’ investigations An independent variable is the factor that is deliberately manipulated. A variable is any factor that can change in a scientific investigation. If an investigation does not support a hypothesis, it is still useful. Scientists may go through many cycles of testing and analysis before they arrive at a hpothesis that is supported. A dependent variable changes as a result of manipulation of one or more independent variables. Data are information gathered by observation or experimentation that can be used in calculating or reasoning. This information may be anything that a scientist perceives through the senses or detects using instruments. During their investigations, scientists record all their observations, setup, and procedures so they will not forget anything. Scientists analyze the data, then draw conclusions on whether the data supports the hypothesis. Scientific Methods Defining a Problem Forming a Hypothesis and Making Predictions Planning an Investigation Identifying Variables Collecting and Organizing Data Interpreting Data and Analyzing Information Drawing and Defending Conclusions Scientists may use models when studying things that are very small, large, or complex. Experiments should be repeated multiple times by the original investigator. All scientific investigations should be replicated by scientists not involved with the original work. All of the different types of scientific investigations involve the collection of data. Lesson 4! Representing Data Scientists organize and record their data in data tables. A scatter plot is a graph with points plotted to show a possible relationship between two sets of data A bar graph is used to display and compare data in a number of different categories A circle graph is used to show how each group of data relates to all of the data Graphs make it easy to tell if something is increasing, decreasing, or staying the same. In some cases, a line can be used to show the trend of data on a graph. A graph in which the relationship between the variables cannot be shown with a straight line is called a nonlinear graph. If the relationship between the independent and dependent variables can be shown with a straight line, the graph is called a linear graph. A straight line shows that the rate of change of the dependent variable with respect to the independent variable is constant. Science has led us to lifesaving discoveries and has taught us to protect our resources, too. Lesson 5! Science and Society Decision-makers use scientific information to help them make laws. Rules and laws may be enforced by government agencies on the community, state, and national levels. Science, in turn, affects politics, society, and the economy. The direction of science is affected by many things, including political, societal, and economic concerns SCIENCE economy politics society As scientists explore new things, they gain new knowledge that may improve upon or even challenge existing knowledge Scientists look for ways to meet the needs of society. Science can be expensive, and priorities must be set on how to spend money on science. Science and economics affect each other. Conversely, science makes improvements that allow people to live longer, make more money, and put more money back into the economy.