Scientific Inquiry. Chapter 1.2 Page 10. Section 2: Scientific Inquiry. How do scientists investigate the natural world? What role do models, theories, and laws play in science?. The Nature of Inquiry.
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There is no set path that a scientific inquiry must follow. Different scientists may choose different paths when studying the same event.
Does additional weight cause the car to go faster down the ramp?
A hypothesis is a possible explanation for a set of observations or answer to a scientific question.
Increasing the weight of the car will increase its speed down the ramp.
In a controlled experiment, the effect of one of those variables is measured. Therefore only one variable parameter is changed in each experiment.
Hypothesis: Eating breakfast in the morning helps you stay awake in class.
Day one: After 10 hours of sleep, you eat breakfast and stay awake in class.
Day two: After 5 hours of sleep, you eat only toast and you get tired in class.
Day three: After 4 hours of sleep, you don’t eat breakfast and you fall asleep in class.
In an experiment:
Data are the facts, figures, and other evidence gathered through observation.
Quantitative observations (facts, figures, numbers, etc.) are usually recorded in a table or chart. These data are analyzed later and are often put in graphs for easier understanding.
Qualitative observations are usually recorded in the lab journal.
A very important part of the scientific inquiry process is communicating the results of your inquiry.
-help others with your information
-a check on the accuracy of your findings
A model is a picture, diagram, computer image, or other representation of an object or process.
Example: Bohr model of the atom
A scientific theory is a well-tested scientific concept that explains a wide range of observations. (“The best explanation for the data we have.”)
Example: The theory that the Earth is flat.
Theories can change if there is enough evidence against it.
A scientific law describes an observed pattern in nature. But does not provide an explanation for it.
Example: The law of gravity.