Tools of environmental science
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Tools of Environmental Science. Chapter 2. The Experimental (Scientific) Method. Series of steps that scientists worldwide Observation -the process of obtaining information by using the senses 1. Problem or Question - to be asked

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Tools of Environmental Science

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Tools of Environmental Science

Chapter 2

The Experimental (Scientific) Method

  • Series of steps that scientists worldwide

  • Observation -the process of obtaining information by using the senses

  • 1. Problem or Question - to be asked

  • 2. Hypothesis - a theory or explanation that is based on observations and that can be tested

  • Predictions - statements made in advance that express the results that will be obtained from testing a hypothesis if the hypothesis is supported.

  • Hypothesis must be in If-Then-Because

  • 3. Experiments - procedures carried out under controlled conditions to discover, demonstrate, or test a fact, theory, truth

  • Good Experiments have two things:

    • 1. Variable - factor that changes in an experiment in order to test a hypothesis

    • 2. Control - group in the experiment that serves as a standards of comparison

  • Manipulated (experimental) Variable– one factor that is changed in the experiment

  • Responsive Variable– the resulting change in the experiment

Organizing and Analyzing Data

  • 4. Data - pieces of information acquired through observation or experimentation

  • Graphing the information makes the trends presented in tables easier to see.

Drawing Conclusions

  • Analyzing the data and comparing the outcome of their experiments with the hypothesis

  • Claims / Evidence

  • The conclusion must tie into the question, hypothesis and supported with data

Repetition and Communication

  • Scientists often repeat their experiments

  • Scientists look for a large amount of supporting evidence before they accept a hypothesis.

  • Scientists publish their results

  • Correlation studies are done when experiments are not possible to look at evidence therefore

Scientific Habits of Mind

  • Curiosity

  • Habit of Skepticism

  • Openness to new ideas

  • Intellectual honesty

  • Imagination and Creativity

Statistics and Models

  • Statistics - collection and classification of data in the form of numbers it helps to summarize, characterize, analyze, and compare data

  • Mean– add up data and then divide by the number of individuals

  • Distribution - range

    Normal forms bell

    Shaped curve

  • Probability– likelihood that a possible future event will occur in any given instance of the event expressed 0-1 as a decimal

  • Risk is the probability of an unwanted outcome.

Chapter 2

Thinking About Risk


  • Models-patterns, plans, representations, or descriptions designed to show the structure, workings of an object, system or concept

  • Various types of models:

    • Physical – 3 D model you can touch (DNA)

    • Graphical – Maps and charts

    • Conceptual – graphics or flow charts

    • Mathematical – uses equations

Values - principles or standards that an individual considers to be important

  • Decision-making model -conceptual model that provides a systematic process for making decisions

  • Starting point in issues affecting the environments

  • Be sure to consider you values, weigh the pros and cons, and keep in mind both the short-term and long-term consequences of your decision

    • 1. Gather information

    • 2. Consider values

    • 3. Explore consequences

    • 4. Make a decision

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