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Scientific Models Beth Roland Eighth Grade Science JFMS

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Why use a model…Whats the purpose? A model is a scale representation of an object or a system. Often if an object or system is exceedingly large or small, a model is used to conceptualize the object. Models often use something familiar to understand something that is unfamiliar.

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Physical Models A Physical model, such as a model air plane, is a scale reproduction of an object. A physical model is limited in that it does not function exactly as the real object.

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Mathematical Models A mathematical model allows you to use equations to calculate such things as forces and acceleration. Mathematical models are used for weather forecasting. Mathematical models have numerous variables (factors that change) and are often so complex a computer is needed to solve the formulas.

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Conceptual Models A conceptual model are systems (or series) of ideas that help illustrate or explain an idea. The Big Bang Theory, is a conceptual model that is used to explain the evolution of our universe. Often, not all data fits or supports a conceptual model.

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Theory vs. Law Theory- A theory is a unifying explanation based on hypothesis and observations that have been supported by testing. A theory is not accepted as law and may change as new knowledge is gained about the topic. Law- A law is a summary of many experimental results and conclusions. Laws tell us what happens not why it is so.

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