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What is Science?
Science is the finding out of information and knowledge of the world around
us, both the natural world (physical objects, forces) and the social world
(how people interact, how society forms).
This is done by following a set of steps (called the Scientific Method) that
allows us to learn more about a particular thing or question. By using this
method, we try to understand as much as we can about whatever we are
The 3 Major Types of Science
Physical Science – physical science deals with the study of
things that are inorganic, or not living
Examples: physics, chemistry, astronomy
The 3 Major Types of Science
Earth Science – earth science deals with the study of the
materials that make up the Earth and its atmosphere
Examples: meteorology, geology, oceanography,
environmental science
The 3 Major Types of Science
Life Science – life science deals with the study of things that
are organic, or living
Examples: biologist/marine biologist, pharmacologist, forensic
Science vs. Pseudoscience
Science only deals with the natural world, not the supernatural
Science does not look at things like purpose or meaning, or of right and wrong
"Pseudo" means "false", so pseudoscience is not seen as true science – it is often
called "fake science"
Science must also always be honest and ethical
Scientific Law and Scientific Theory
After lots of tests and experiments, scientists use the information they find to try
and explain the things they had learned. When things happen the same way over
and over in these tests, it can lead to the creation of scientific laws and theories.
A theory is an explanation of something that is strongly supported by evidence
from tests/experiments. To be accepted as a theory by the scientific community, it
is tested by many people to see if everyone gets the same answers.
A theory explains the WHY
Scientific Law and Scientific Theory
A scientific law of nature is a statement that describes a thing or event in nature
that always happens in the same way under the same conditions.
A law doesn't explain why something happens; it explains WHAT happens
Scientific Law and Scientific Theory
Laws and theories are not absolute; any new information that is discovered can
possibly show us that we had something wrong.
Because laws describe something using the knowledge gained from one or more
theories, laws are very rarely disproven. A theory is considered to be true until such
a time that other information proves it wrong.
Scientific Method
The Scientific Method is the name given to the set
of steps that are taken by scientists to help
answer a question, like "Why is the sky blue?"
These steps are followed to solve all kinds of
questions, from the simple to the very hard.
You do it without even knowing that you are
Deciding what you want to eat or drink, choosing whether to spend
time with a friend or sleep in, or figuring out what smells so good when we
walk into a deli or bakery — every one of these things involve using at least
some of the steps of the Scientific Method.
Basically, most any time you're trying to answer a question of some kind
about something you can see, hear, feel, taste, or touch, you can use the
steps of the Scientific Method to help you find the answer.
• What do we want to know?
• What is it we're trying to figure out?
What did you experience (see/hear/smell/taste/touch) or think about that caused
you to come up with your question?
Is there anything we can think of or notice right away that gives us more
information? If so, that can help in the next step when we try to find out as much
as possible about the question.
Research About the Question
How can I find out more about the topic in the question?
Is there anything I need to help find out that information?
Researching a topic doesn't always mean having to get a book out and read it; in
fact, most of the time scientists research a question by thinking of past events or
experiences that are similar, or by taking measurements of something.
The more information you get, the less likely you will have to deal with bias in your
Bias is a favoring, preference or prejudice toward a specific outcome or result.
Don't allow yourself to expect a result, because then you might accidentally change
the way you perform the rest of the steps, and your conclusion could be affected by
those expectations.
Make A Hypothesis (your best guess)
Based on the information you got through your research and thinking about the
question, what is your thought on how to answer it
Until you actually begin the next step, you can change your hypothesis anytime.
To make a good hypothesis (guess), you have to start with good data, based off
your observations and thoughts.
Observational data is information you get by measuring things; anything you use
your five senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch) to know or use a tool like a
ruler or thermometer to find out, is observational data.
Inferred data is a prediction you make based off of the information you have. Be
careful not to predict things based off other predictions, because this lowers your
Accuracy vs. Precision
Accuracy is about getting a result that is at or very close to the actual value of what
you're measuring.
You can be accurate without getting the exactly right answer, but all your
values have to be close to one another.
Precision is about getting a result over and over that is always either the same or
very close to all the other results you get.
You can be completely wrong with your result but still be precise.
Test/Experiment (Try to Prove It)
Come up with an idea for how to figure out that your hypothesis, or guess, is true
Experiments don't need to be hard, but it does need to have a result that checks if
your guess was right or wrong.
Variables in Experiments
Any time we perform a test or experiment to find the answer to our questions, we
need to think about what information we are going to get from it.
The conditions of your experiment will involve things called variables – these are
things that can vary, or change; variables can be things like durations of time,
distance traveled, or number of successful attempts at a task.
There are 3 types of variables that experiments deal with:
Independent Variables – information that you change during the experiment, to see
what kind of change or difference that it makes
Dependent Variables - information about the thing that changes because of the
independent variable
Control Variables - information that does not change during the experiment, to
make sure only the independent variables are making a difference to the result
Types of Data
When getting our information, there are two basic types of data we can talk about:
Quantitative data, which is information that can be counted, shown in numbers, or
measured using a tool (like a ruler, thermometer, or clock/timer)
***(For quantitative, think "quantity" because it can be counted or measured)
***(It can answer a "how many", "how much", or "how often")
Examples: The ball was thrown 20 feet
The water rose in temperature by 10 degrees Fahrenheit
It took 8 seconds for the coin to fall down from the roof.
Types of Data
Qualitative data is information that is usually written out as a description, and does
not usually involve numbers or measurements
Examples: The fresh bread filled the store with a great smell.
The man had blond hair and wore a red hat.
Because this type of data is usually opinions or experiences, it's not as important as
quantitative data, unless it directly addresses a variable in the experiment/test.
Analyze Data
After the experiment, what does your result tell you? Was your guess right or
If it was right, do you think you can make your guess any more specific and check
again? (Doing this over and over is one way a hypothesis can become a theory)
If it was wrong, how can you change your guess to keep trying to figure out the
answer to your question?
Report Conclusion (Share What You Found)
Once you've completed all your experiments/tests, and looked at the results, what
have you found? Was your original guess right, or did you need to change it?
If your guess was right, can you add anything to that guess and test it again to make
your hypothesis stronger?
If your guess was wrong, can you tell what was wrong so you can change your
guess and try again?