Discussion: The Scientific Approach
Why is the sky blue? Why do bees sting? Why is the ocean salty? These are questions a young child may ask about the world based on his or her observations and experiences. As children grow older, their inquisitive nature may begin to fade. Anyone involved in the scientific process, however, must continually make observations and ask questions about his or her observations. In aIDition, scientists suggest possible answers to their questions and then test their ideas to determine if they are correct. This process is known as the scientific method.
The scientific method, however, does not answer every question about the universe. For example, it cannot answer questions such as “Is there a god?” or “What is the true meaning of life?” As you begin your exploration of biology this week, you consider the nature of science and how the scientific approach to the world differs from others, such as philosophical or spiritual approaches. Then, you apply this understanding by identifying a situation in which you can apply the scientific method and a situation in which you cannot.
To prepare for this Discussion:
What is a hypothesis?
How does an experiment test a hypothesis?
Why is the experimental process essential to science?
Review the articles in this week’s Required Resources.
In the article “The Nature of Science,” note the characteristics of scientific inquiry-that is, how scientists study phenomena to arrive at evidence-based conclusions.
Pay special attention to the Reality Check activity in the article “How Can We Tell Science from Non-Science?” Consider what distinguishes the scientific statements from the non-scientific ones.
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