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Thinking & Working Like A Scientist 7 th Grade. What is Science?. Science is the investigation and exploration of natural events and of the new information that results from those investigations. Scientific Inquiry.

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what is science
What is Science?

Science is the investigation and exploration of natural events and of the new information that results from those investigations.

scientific inquiry
Scientific Inquiry
  • When scientists conduct scientific investigations, they use scientific inquiry.
  • Scientific inquiry-a process that uses a variety of skills and tools to answer questions.
    • Scientists begin scientific inquiry with making observations and inferences
    • Empirical evidenceis the cumulative body of observations of a natural phenomenon on which scientific explanations are based.
observation vs inference
Observation vs. Inference



  • The act of using one or more of your senses to gather information and taking note of what occurs.
    • Qualitative: Things you use your 5 senses to observe. What you see, feel, smell, taste, hear. Not expressed as a number and open to interpretation.
    • Quantitative: Measureable observations. Length, width, height, mass,speed,etc.(Expressed as a number)

A logical explanation of an observation that is drawn from prior knowledge or experience

Example: Students who study for tests earn better scores!

what is an example of a quantitative observation

What is an example of a quantitative observation?

The Plant has white flowers

The White flowers have a nice smell

The plant is 15 CM TALL.

The plant has small leaves.

question or problem
Question or Problem

What are you trying to find out?

Also called the Purpose

Stated in the form of a question.

  • Hypothesis-a possible explanation for an observation that can be tested by scientific investigations
      • It is based on research and previous knowledge
    • Often used to make a prediction which is a statement of what will happen next in a sequence of events.
      • “If______ Then “ statement.
        • Ex: If the soil is fertilized,then the growth rate of the tomatoes will increase.
testing a hypothesis
Testing a Hypothesis
  • Scientists test a hypothesis by doing one or more of these steps:
    • Designing a controlled experiment
    • Make a model
    • Gather and evaluate evidence or research
    • Collecting Data/Record Observations
designing a controlled experiment
Designing a Controlled Experiment

To design a controlled experiment, scientists identify factors that might affect the outcome of the experiment.

Any factor that has more than one value is called a variable.

types of variables
Types of Variables

Independent variable: The thing you are testing. The one and only variable you allow to change.

Dependent Variable: What you measure to compare the results of your test. Should be able to be charted or graphed.

Constant: The variables that you don’t allow to change. What stays the same in each test.

Control: Used for comparison

which of these answers best describes a dependent variable

Which of these answers best describes a dependent variable?

A. The things that stay the same from

test A to test B to test C.

B. The variable that is changes from

test A to test B to test C.

C. The thing that never changes

D. the thing that you measure

writing response
Writing Response

Marshmallow Muscles

Larry was told that a certain muscle cream was the newest best thing on the market and claims to double a person’s muscle power when used as part of a muscle-building workout. Interested in this product, he buys the special muscle cream and recruits Patrick and SpongeBob to help him with an experiment. Larry develops a special marshmallow weight-lifting program for Patrick and SpongeBob. He meets with them once every day for a period of 2 weeks and keeps track of their results. Before each session Patrick’s arms and back are lathered in the muscle cream, while Sponge Bob’s arms and back are lathered with the regular lotion.

  • Which person is in the control group?
  • What is the independent variable?
  • What is the dependent variable?
  • What should Larry’s conclusion be?

Step by step instructions for how to conduct the testing.

Should be detailed enough that someone else could follow them and do exactly what you did.(Replication)

The experiment should be repeated at least five times for valid results. (Repetition)

replication vs repetion

Repetition(multiple trials)

Replication(by others)

Table 1: Plant Growth with TurboGroby Trial

Dr. Square copied Dr. Groovy’s procedure and got similar results! The plants grew an average of 30 cm in 5 days!

If scientific explanations are replicable, they are more valid and reliable.

recording data
Recording Data

Very careful record keeping is essential for valid results.

Use charts or tables to organize data.

Records measurements as well as observations and things you want to remember about what happened.

analyze the results
Analyze the Results

What are your results? What does the data show?

Create charts, tables, and graphs to represent all of your data.

Perform any calculations that will help you determine what the results mean. (i.e. averages, percentages, totals)

What are the possible sources of error? (i.e. inaccurate measurements, contamination, etc.)

draw conclusions
Draw Conclusions
  • Scientists draw conclusions based on relationships among their data; a conclusion is a summary of the information gained from testing a hypothesis.
    • What is the answer to your Question based on your results?
    • Was your hypothesis supported by your experimental results? Why or why not?
    • If you could do this experiment over again what would you do differently next time?
    • What other experiments could you do to further test this?
your results are not valid if
Your results are not valid if . . .

They are based on opinions rather than data.

You draw conclusions that don’t logically follow the evidence.

Your sample size is too small or is biased.

what do i do if my hypothesis is not supported by my experimental results
What do I do if my hypothesis is not supported by my experimental results?

Recheck and Repeat!

Then . . . .

Check all the calculations and instruments used to measure.

Repeat experiment at least 5 times.

Start questioning again . . . . Why??

Revise your hypothesis and start experimenting again!

results of science
  • A scientific investigation can result in:
    • New technology-practical use of scientific knowledge, especially for industrial or commercial use.
    • New materials, such as those developed by the space program.
    • New explanations as to why or how something occurs
  • A Model is a representation of an object, process, system, or event that is similar to the original object or idea.
model benefits limitations
  • Benefits
  • Used to study matter that is too large,
  • too small, too far away, too dangerous,
  • or too expensive to study directly
  • Models can be physical, mathematical,
  • computer simulations, or conceptual
  • Can be used to make predictions
  • Limitations
  • May lack details
  • May not be composed of the original
  • material (model of the Sun)
  • May not be able to demonstrate every
  • aspect of the system


Not all scientific knowledge is derived from experimentation

  • 1.Experiment– involves identification and control of variables
  • Independent variable/test variable/manipulated variable
  • Dependent variable/outcome variable/responding variable
  • Controlled variables

3.Field Study – observe a natural habitat without manipulating variables

2.Simulation– imitating a real situation or process

scientific theory vs scientific laws
  • Evidence-based explanation based on observations of events
  • Tested and supported with multiple lines of evidence
  • Widely accepted and strongly supported by the scientific community
  • Can be used to make predictions
  • Can be modified if new evidence becomes available
  • LAW
  • Patterns in nature derived from scientific fact
  • Describe how the natural world behaves under certain conditions
  • Describes an event but it does NOT explain it!
  • Can be expressed as a mathematical equation

Laws describe WHAT happens

Theories explain WHY

something happens

examples of scientific theories

Theory of Evolution-

All life on Earth shares a common ancestor. There is “decent with modification.”

Evidence– Fossil Record, Genetic Studies, Radiometric Dating, Stratigraphy

Theory of Plate Tectonics

Evidence – Sea Floor Spreading, distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes, Fossils

examples of scientific laws

Law of Conservation of Energy

Newton’s Laws of Motion

Universal Law

of Gravity

Law of Conservation of Mass

what is the difference between a scientific theory and a scientific law

What is the difference between a scientific theory and a scientific law?

A. Scientific theories explain why something happens, and scientific laws describe what happens.

B. Scientific theories require scientific evidence and scientific laws do not.

C. Scientific theories are based on observation, and scientific laws are based on opinions.

D. Scientific laws are frequently modified, but scientific theories are rarely changed as new information becomes available.



Scientific knowledge can change as new evidence or interpretations arise

It was a widely held belief that the Earth was the center of the Universe until the 1500s

Theories may be modified, but are rarely discarded