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Scientific Models

Types, Purpose, and Limitations of Scientific Models for Middle School Science Class

Cindy Mullikin

on 29 July 2016

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Transcript of Scientific Models

Scientific Models
Why do scientists need models?
Can models be changed?
Absolutely! Models change as new knowledge is acquired.
Examples of Models
Sir Isaac Newton
Another Example of a Model
What is an idea model?
What is a physical model?
What is a computer model?
What might a model represent?
Sometimes it takes several models to explain something. For instance, no single model can explain light. Light behaves like a particle and like a wave. Depending on the circumstances, scientists decide which model to use.
Scientists need models because reality is complex and difficult. Size alone makes it impossible for us to study the actual thing so we need to make a representation of it. Models allow us to study very large and very small things in a way that is manageable.
What are the three basic types of models?
Physical models are smaller (or larger if the actual thing is really small) and simpler representations of the thing being studied. A globe or a map is a physical model of a portion or all of Earth. You can make a model of anything.
Scientists often will gather data and enter the data into the computer where software is programmed to simulate a phenomenon or an event. This is a computer model.
Idea models are models made of words or mathematical equations.
1. Physical
2. Computer
3. Idea (Theories)
These "models" are considered to be scientific theories.
What do models do for us?
Models communicate information, help us make predictions, and often save time, money and even lives!
Sadly...there are limitations!
Nothing is perfect!!!
Models are always subject to being thrown out.
Models can't be exactly the same as the real thing. There are always parts of the model that are missing.
The Plate Tectonic model of the Earth pictures the outer layer of our planet as broken into fragments called plates, which float on underlying plastic layers and slowly drift around. This model can explain the jigsaw fit of some continents, the origin of many earthquakes and volcanoes, and the global distribution of some living things – things that previously were not thought to be related. It was not accepted until scientists were able to come up with the energy source that actually drives the movement of the plates..
Different models have differing success in explaining climate variations. The most successful models we have today are those that incorporate the effect of human-produced greenhouse gases.
Here's a model from NASA
We will be studying currents this year. This model is called the great ocean conveyor belt.
Sometimes there are competing models like the causes of the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs 'gassed' themselves into extinction, British scientists say.
1. Since models have limitations, why do scientists use them?
2. What are some specific scientific models that you can name?
3. Which type model (physical,computer, or idea) do you think is the most important? Why?
Meteorites Hit
Huge Volcanic Explosions
Models can't be exactly the same as the real thing. There are always parts of the real thing that are missing in the model.
Read the following questions.
You should be able to answer them.
If you can great......if not, you need to go back over this prezi and re-read your text.
Full transcript