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Thinking like a Scientist

First set of notes of the year
by

Christopher Landry

on 22 August 2015

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Transcript of Thinking like a Scientist

Thinking like a Scientist
Review:
What are the basic skills a scientist needs everyday?
What are the steps to the Scientific Inquiry?
Scientists use skills such as observing, inferring, predicting, classifying, and making models to learn more about the world.
Scientists also need to have a particular attitude to be successful. They need to be curious, honest, creative, and open minded.
Observation
Observation
means using one or more of your senses to gather information.
Your senses include sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. You use your senses every day to gather information.
Observations can be Quantitative or Qualitative.
Quantitative
observation deals with numbers or amount.
Qualitative
observation deals with descriptions that cannot be expressed in numbers.
Inferring
When you explain or interpret things you observe, you are
inferring
, or making an inference.
Making an inference doesn't mean guessing. Inferences are based on reasoning from what you already know.
Predicting
Predicting
means making a forecast of what will happen in the future based on past experience or evidence.
Predictions and inferences are similar.
An inference is an attempt to explain what is happening or has happened.
A prediction is a forecast of what will happen.
Classifying
Classifying
is the process of grouping together items that are alike in some way.
Classifying things helps you stay organized so you can easily find and use them later.
When your papers are in a binder, you might classify them by subject or date.
Making Models
Making models
involves creating representations of complex objects or processes.
Models help people study and understand things that are complex or that can't be observed directly.
For example, it is easier to study a model of a cell that has been enlarged than it is to study an actual cell under a microscope.
Scientific Inquiry
Background Research
Collecting and Interpreting Data
Developing a Hypothesis
Asking questions and being curious is how all scientists get started.
Designing an Experiment
Posing Questions
Scientific inquiry
is what you know as the
scientific method
. It is how scientists discover and explore the world and the universe. The steps involved are very simple.
You can't find any answers until you know something about the topic you are questioning. All good scientists research about the topic they want to explore.
A hypothesis is a possible explanation to observations and questions asked. It is not an educated guess. It usually is used to give a possible answer to the question posed. It is a possible theory or a possible outcome that is expected when something is going to be done.
You write a hypothesis this way: If I do this, then this will happen. For example, If I drop a ball, then it will bounce. The more specific your hypothesis is, the more reliable and the better it is.
Experiments are activities used to test a hypothesis which will answer questions.
An experiment has to be designed using a step-by-step process.
You will need to take accurate notes to help you remember what happened. You can draw pictures, diagrams, and anything else that will help you remember what you inferred.
Drawing Conclusions
This step usually happens immediately after the scientist interprets the data. It is when you decide if your hypothesis is correct or not.
It is also important to allow others to try the same thing you did. If no one else can do what you did, it is considered inconclusive.
Communication
Communicating is important to share your research with others.
Scientific Theories & Laws
A scientific law or scientific principle, is a concise verbal or mathematical statement of a relation that is always applied under the same conditions.
A theory explains scientific observations; "scientific theories must be falsified".
Significant Figures
There are two kinds of digits you will see in science. Exact numbers and measured numbers.
Exact numbers are known to be absolutely correct and are obtained by direct counting or by definition.
Measured numbers involve estimation.
Significant digits
are numbers believed to be correct by the person making and recording a measurement.
To count the number of significant digits, we follow 2 rules:
- if the digit is not a zero, it is significant.

-if the digit is a zero, it is significant if it is a sandwiched zero, or it terminates a number.
Safety in Science
Always wear appropriate clothing.
Read and follow directions completely.
Understand all safety symbols
on lab notes and equipment.
Be sure to clean up and keep
your space clean at all times.
A
hypothesis
is a prediction or solution to a problem
based on prior knowledge or experience.
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