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# Thinking Like a Scientist

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Thinking Like a Scientist

Thinking Like a Scientist
What are 5 skills scientists use to learn more about the world? Observing Inferring Predicting Classifying Making Models

Observations An observation is the gathering of information by using our five senses: Sight

Observations An observation is the gathering of information by using our five senses: Smell

Observations An observation is the gathering of information by using our five senses: Hearing

Observations An observation is the gathering of information by using our five senses: Taste

Observations An observation is the gathering of information by using our five senses: Touch

Observations There are two types of observations Quantitative
Qualitative

Quantitative Observations
Quantitative observations measure what we observe. “Quantitative” = quantity (numerical)

Quantitative Observations
These observations use numbers to measure something in a quantitative way. Example: The flower has seven petals. Example: You have 8 new s.

Qualitative Observations
Qualitative observations describe what we observe. “Qualitative” = quality (descriptive)

Qualitative Observations
These observations use adjectives to describe something. Example: The flower has white petals. Example: The lemon tastes sour

Which is better? Both types of observations are valuable in science.
Qualitative: The road is long. (describes) Quantitative: The road is 5 km long. (measures) Both types of observations are valuable in science. In an experiment though, quantitative observations can be precisely and objectively compared.

Which is better? Sometimes scientists need to quantify qualitative observations. For example, someone might say that a dead fish is smelly. It is hard to know just how smelly the fish is though. Some things are easier to quantify than others. Scientists use innovative ways of turning qualitative into quantitative.

Which is better? To make this quantitative, the scientist could ask the person to rate the “smelliness” on a scale of 1-5. This would then allow you to compare how smelly the fish is!

1 = Least Smelly 5 = Most Smelly

Qualitative or Quantitative?
There are 15 flowers with white petals The is long The surface feels rough The leaf is 9 cm long

Qualitative vs Quantitative Observations
Individual Activity

Inferences When you explain or interpret the things you observe, you are inferring, or making an inference. They are based on reasoning from what you already know

Inferences Inferences are often changed when new observations are made. Observations are information we gather directly through our five senses….Inferences help explain those observations!

Here are some examples! Observation: The grass on the school’s front lawn is wet. Possible inferences: It rained. The sprinkler was on. There is dew on the grass from the morning. A dog urinated on the grass! All of these inferences could possibly explain why the grass is wet. They are all based on prior experiences. We have all seen rain, sprinklers, morning dew, and dogs going to the bathroom.

Here are some examples! Observation: The school fire alarm is going off. Possible inferences: The school is on fire. We are having a fire drill. A student pulled the fire alarm. Again, these are all logical explanations for why the fire alarm is going off.

? Last one! Observation: A student is sitting in the main office.
Possible inferences: ? Why might a student be sitting there?

What Inferences can you make about this picture?

What Inferences can you make about this picture?

Observation vs Inference
Individual/Group Activity

Predicting Making a forecast of what will happen in the future based on past experience or evidence

Predicting Inferences are attempts to explain what is happening or has happened Predictions are forecasts of what will happen

Predicting What do you think will happen next?

Predicting vs Inferring
Individual/Group Activity (worksheet) Analyzing Data and Predicting Individual/Group Activity (page 9 – Math analyzing data)

Classifying The process of grouping together items that are alike in some way

Classifying Helps you stay organized
Organizing a notebook by subject and date helps you find things later

Classifying Classifying complex behaviors makes it easier to study and compare

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

Examples of Models Globes Charts Movie sets Pictures Maps
Computer models Diagrams

Making Models Models are only representations of a real object or process An object or process may be represented by many different types of models Some information may be missing from a model

Examples of Models A model that traces a chimp’s travel over the course of 1 day What does this model show? What information is missing?

Examples of Models A Scientific Model Individual/Group Activity
Read the information about the two different models of the solar system and answer the 7 questions. What does this model show? What information is missing?

Scientific Attitudes What is Science?
Science is a way of learning about the natural world Successful scientists possess certain important attitudes, or habits of mind

Scientific Attitudes Curiosity Honesty Open-Mindedness and Skepticism
Creativity

Scientific Attitudes Curiosity
An important attitude that drives scientists Question Explore Investigate

Scientific Attitudes Honesty
Good Scientists always report their observations and results truthfully

Scientific Attitudes Open-Mindedness and Skepticism
Scientists need to be open-minded – capable of accepting new and different ideas

Scientific Attitudes Open-Mindedness and Skepticism
Scientists also need to be skeptical – having an attitude of doubt

Scientific Attitudes Creativity
Coming up with inventive ways to solve problems or produce new things

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