Thinking like a scientist
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Thinking Like A Scientist. Identify skills scientists use to learn about the world. Describe the attitudes, or habits of mind, that are important in science. Observing. Using one or more of your senses to gather information . s ight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. 2 types:

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Thinking Like A Scientist

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Thinking like a scientist

Thinking Like A Scientist

Identify skills scientists use to learn about the world.

Describe the attitudes, or habits of mind, that are important in science.



Using one or more of your senses to gather information.

sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell

2 types:

Qualitative: descriptions

Quantitative: numbers



Explaining or interpreting an observation based on reasoning from what you already know.

Not always correct



Making a forecast about what will happen in the future based on past experience or evidence.

  • Not always correct



Grouping items together based on similar characteristics.

Helps stay organized

Making models

Making Models

Creating representations of complex objects or processes.

Help people study and understand things that are complex or that can’t be observed directly.

Ex: Globes, Stage Sets, cars, houses

Scientific attitudes

Scientific Attitudes

Curiosity: Eagerness to learn more

Honesty: Truthful observations

Open-mindedness: capable of accepting new ideas

Skepticism: a healthy amount of doubt

Creativity: Developing new ways to solve problems or create new things

Thinking like a scientist





Thinking like a scientist

On your paper make two columns:


1. 1.

2. 2.

3. 3.

Thinking like a scientist

Confer with your table partner. Each of you need to write the following:


Write down three observations- things that you can actually see that you believe are very important to the picture you are viewing.

Write down three inferences- things that you suppose are likely to happen based on what you see in the picture.


Your observations and inferences do NOT have to be the same as your partner.

Scientific inquiry a k a scientific method

Scientific Inquirya.k.a.Scientific Method

Explain what scientific inquiry involves.

Describe how to develop a hypothesis and design an experiment.

Differentiate between a scientific theory and a scientific law.

Step 1 pose a question

Step 1: Pose a question

Start with a problem or question about an observation.

Problem or question must be testable and clearly written.

Should avoid “yes” or “no” questions/answers.

Step 2 develop a hypothesis

Step 2: Develop a Hypothesis

hypothesis - a possible explanation for a set of observations or answers to a scientific question.

A testable hypothesis is one that can be

either supported or disproved based on

evidence collected during an investigation.

Must state specifically what you believe will happen and why based upon previous experience.

Step 3 design an experiment

Step 3: Design an Experiment

Should try to answer the Question by adjusting variables.

variable- a factor that can change in an experiment.

2 Types of Variables:

1) manipulated (independent) variable- the factor the scientist changes.

2 ) responding (dependent) variable- the factor that changes in response to the manipulated variable (the collected data).

Step 4 set up a controlled experiment

Step 4: Set up a Controlled Experiment

Manipulate only 1 variable at a time.

Have a clear operational definition- a list of clearly defined stepsthat describes how to measure a particular variable or define a particular term.

Step 5 collect and interpret data

Step 5: Collect and Interpret Data

Have repeated trials to ensure continuity and accuracy.

Collect data in a table

Graph data to reveal trends

Step 6 draw conclusions

Step 6: Draw Conclusions

Summarize what you learned from the experiment.

Did the data support or disprove your hypothesis?

Is there a need for further testing?

Step 7 communicate

Step 7: Communicate

  • Share the ideas and experimental findings with others

  • Many scientists work together to solve a problem

Scientific theories and laws

Scientific Theories and Laws

theory- well tested explanation for a wide range of observations or experimental results, accepted only after a great amount of supporting evidence is collected.

law- statement that describes what scientists expect to happen every time in a particular set of conditions. Usually describes an observed pattern in nature.

Thinking like a scientist



The belief that non-living objects can give rise to living objects.

Thinking like a scientist

Observation: Every year in the spring, the Nile River flooded areas of Egypt along the river, leaving behind nutrient-rich mud that enabled the people to grow that year’s crop of food. However, along with the muddy soil, large numbers of frogs appeared that weren’t around in drier times. “Conclusion”: It was perfectly obvious to people back then that muddy soil gave rise to the frogs.

Thinking like a scientist

Observation: In many parts of Europe, medieval farmers stored grain in barns with thatched roofs (like Shakespeare’s house). As a roof aged, it was not uncommon for it to start leaking. This could lead to spoiled or moldy grain, and of course there were lots of mice around. “Conclusion”: It was obvious to them that the mice came from the moldy grain.

Thinking like a scientist

Observation: In the cities, there were no sewers nor garbage trucks. Sewage flowed in the gutters along the streets, and the sidewalks were raised above the streets to give people a place to walk. In the intersections, raised stepping stones were strategically placed to allow pedestrians to cross the intersection, yet were spaced such that carriage wheels could pass between them. In the morning, the contents of the chamber pots were tossed out the nearest window. When people were done eating a meal, the bones were tossed out the window, too. A chivalrous gentleman always walked closest to the street when escorting a woman, so if a horse and carriage came by and splashed up this filth, it would land on him, and not the lady’s expensive silk gown. Most of these cities also had major rat problems which contributed to the spread of Bubonic Plague (Black Death) — hence the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Germany.“Conclusion”: Obviously, all the sewage and garbage turned into the rats.

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