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Students are introduced to the process of scientific inquiry as they develop an approach to determine the shape and size of an unseen object.
Nature and Process of Science
One to two class periods
The activity reinforces the concept that scientists often make indirect observations of the phenomena they are attempting to study. This activity also points out that not all scientists follow the same path in such an investigation.
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- Scientists strive to test their ideas with evidence from the natural world; a hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7, NOS2)
- Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as new ideas surface and new evidence is discovered. (P4, P6, NOS3)
- Scientific ideas cannot be absolutely proven.
- The process of science involves observation, exploration, testing, communication, and application.
- Scientific observations can be made directly with our own senses or may be made indirectly through the use of tools.
- Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.
- Scientists often try to generate multiple explanations for what they observe. (P7)
- Hypotheses are proposed explanations for a narrow set of phenomena. (P6)
- Hypotheses are usually inspired and informed by previous research and/or observations. They are not guesses. (P6)
- Scientists usually work collaboratively. (NOS7)
- Scientists are creative. (NOS7)
- Problem-solving and decision-making benefit from a scientific approach.