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SCIENCE 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 investigating. 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 scientist 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. Observation/Question • 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 experiments. Bias 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. 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 wrong? 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?