Mr. T's Science Scene

Observation, Guess, Inference, Hypothesis

So today we reviewed (learned) a bit about observations, guesses, inferences, and hypothesis.

An observation is the gathering of information using your five senses and experience.  Sometimes there just isn't much you can get from simple observations and you end up with a guess.

A guess is an "answer" that has, really, very little information to go with it.  On a scale of 1 to 10, a guess is a 1 to 3 (if you're the lucky sort).  In science, we do not base forward motion on a guess. . . . READ MORE


Scientific Method

The science scientific method or process begins with an observation and ends with new knowledge that is offered to the world!  In reality, the scientific method is not so grand as this unless you are finding the cure for cancel or something like that.  In everyday life we use the scientific method to solve all sorts of issues or problems from the mundane, such as where you left your textbook, to more pressing, like being locked out of your house!  

No matter what there has to be some obseravation which leads you to a question or issue.  Maybe you don't care about that issue enough to question it so you dismiss it.  For the rest of your daily questions or issues you move on to guessing an "answer"- not recommended- to an inference.  Humans do just fine with making inferences to solve most of their problems- especially the ones that are familiar or the ones that you have experience with.  For example, you lock yourself out of the house- which you've done before- so you infer, as you've done before, that the neighbor has a spare.  You go there and if they do- great; you're in your house.

On the other hand, if the neighbor isn't home either you have a bigger problem and you might seek a way into your house that your parents wouldn't approve of.  This then moves you to the research portion of our example.  No, in this case, you can't and don't try to look up information about "getting into your house" on the internet over your phone.  You start walking around the house make better observations- maybe a window is unlocked, maybe another . . . . READ MORE


Variables, Constants, and Controls

Today was a quick review of things that were presented and, hopefully, learned in both 6th and 7th grade.


In general, hypotheses are written in many ways but the pattern seems to be If/Then statements.  Given that I would like to offer the following:

IF (independent variable) some action or decisions THEN (dependent variable) something will happen.


The independent variable is the action or decision that the experimenter chooses to take.  They (You) are in total contral of what you do, how you do it, how often you do it, to what degree you do it, etc.  The independent variable is usually can be seen as the cause of a situation or . . . . READ MORE


Science Extravaganza

The science extravaganza project is a scientific method project of your own design.  You may do anything you wish (within reason) as long as you are able to follow the scientific method process as outlined in your packet.  Use the packet! We will be working on some of this project in school- during class- but you will have to do a bunch of it at home.  If this is a problem . .  . . . . READ MORE


Metrics

The Metric Packet can be found here.  

The metric system is based on the number 10!  There are 10 of everything in everything else.  That's why its so great and easy to use.  When writing out the number, this base 10 system makes it easy to move through the whole numbers and into the "after the decimal" numbers.  For instance, 1.0 meters can be written as 10 decimeters, 100 centimeter, or 1000 millimeters.  Likewise, 1 meter is .1 Decameters, .01 Hectometers, and .001 Kilometers.

In addition, there are only three suffixes for us to worry about in class; gram (mass), liter (volume), and meter (length).

There are six prefixes and together with the suffixes and bases there are 21 different combinations of metric measurement.  In reality, however, there are only ten measurements that we will be exposed to on a daily or life basis.  They are:

Kilo-meter, gram, (and to a much lessor extent), liter

Meter, Gram, Liter

Centimeter

Milli-meter, gram, liter (these are the most common in our daily lives)


Sometimes a number is too big (634,210.13) or too small (.0182743628) for use to work with comfortably.  In the metric system you can convert between prefixes- like meter to Kilometer or centimeter to millimeter in order to make that number more manageable.  To do this you learned a silly sentence:

King Henry Died (by) drinking chocolate milk         or        Ken Hit Down (the line) dodging calvin's mitt.

In either case, when converting from one number/prefix to another simply put your finger on the prefix you are given and "jump" to the prefix you want (don't forget the base or the line).  This tells you which direction to move the decimal and how many times. . . . . READ MORE


Scientific Theories and Laws

You might often hear, "oh, that's just a theory" especailly with such theories as the Theory of Evolution or Theories involving climate change.  This attitude and/or understanding is confusing because of the differences between the meaning of theory or law in science and the meaning of theory or law in society.

In science, a theory is an explanation that tells you how something will happen (in science).  It is based on an enormous amount of testing and evidence and has withstood the "test of time".  Theories can be altered or changed so dramatically that they no longer resemble the original theory.  Some theories are eventually proven insufficient as an explanation.  An example of that was the Theory of Spontaneous Generation in which it was thought that lower life forms arose from the inanimate objects around them.  This was eventually proven wrong by Louis Pasteur.

In society terms a theory is used more like an idea or a thought.  Often you will here that someone has a theory about how something happened without a whole lot of evidence.  Many societal theories are based on experience or inferences.  They are relatively weak and are without the supporting evidence you find in scientific theories.  . . . . READ MORE