The Science Of Life S Sonlight Curriculum-Books Pdf

THE SCIENCE OF LIFE S Sonlight Curriculum
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THE SCIENCE OF LIFE, In this module you will learn the answers to the following questions. The Process of Science Why should we study science How does science enable us. to understand the natural world How can we use science as a framework for making. predictions and testing them Are there limitations to science if so what are they. The Study of Life What are the criteria for life How does each criterion contribute to the. definition of life, The Tools of Biology What tools do biologists use How do these tools help scientists. gather analyze and interpret data, THE PROCESS OF SCIENCE. In this course you re going to take your first detailed look at the science of biology. The word biology means the study of life, Biology The study of life The Greek word bios means life. and logy means study of, It is a vast subject with many subdisciplines that concentrate on specific aspects of biology.
Microbiology for example concentrates on those biological processes and structures that. are too small for us to see with our eyes Biochemistry studies the chemical processes that. make life possible and population biology deals with the dynamics of many life forms. interacting in a community Since biology is such a vast field of inquiry most biologists. end up specializing in one of these subdisciplines Nevertheless before you can begin. to specialize you need a broad overview of the science itself That s what this course is. designed to give you, But first let s look at what science really is You may think that science is a book full. of facts that you need to learn But that s not what science is at all While science is a. collection of information it is also much more Science is a process a way of investigating. understanding and explaining the natural world around us Scientists carefully gather. and organize information in an orderly way so that they can find patterns or connections. between different phenomena Scientists then use the patterns connections and. explanations to make useful predictions, What Scientists Do. Real scientists use many methods to investigate their area of interest But all scientists draw. conclusions based on the best evidence they have available to them at the time. Evidence The collected body of data from experiments and observations. In science evidence refers to all the data collected from observations and experiments. conducted in an area of scientific research Keep in mind that this body of evidence alone. isn t enough to convince scientists of the accuracy of their conclusions until the observations. and experiments are repeated multiple times with similar results Regardless of what method. scientists use to gather evidence they use a system with several things in common known. as the scientific method This system provides a framework in which scientists can analyze. situations explain certain phenomena and answer certain questions. Observations and Inferences, The scientific method often starts with observation Observation allows the scientist. to collect data Observing the world involves using your five senses to gather factual. information Scientific observations should be specific and accurate Scientists collect data. using quantitative observations and qualitative observations. Quantitative observations Observations involving numbers. such as counting or measuring, Qualitative observations Observations that are not easily. counted or measured such as color or texture, Quantitative observations are factual data.
collected using numbers For example, in Figure 1 2 a quantitative observation. could be There are five bears in the, river Qualitative observations are factual. descriptions that do not use numbers Some, qualitative observations for Figure 1 2 could. be The bears are brown and The bears, are in a river at a small waterfall Scientists. make as many specific and accurate, quantitative and qualitative observations FIGURE 1 2.
as possible when collecting data about the Observation and Inference. object or phenomenon they re studying Observation uses the five senses to factually describe. Once observations are made scientists a situation Inferring uses previous knowledge and. experience to interpret observations, will often begin to interpret the data using. Inference Logical interpretation based on prior knowledge experience or evidence. An inference is a conclusion drawn by logically thinking about possible relationships. between two or more observations Inferences are based on prior knowledge and experience. In Figure 1 2 for example it might be inferred that the five brown bears are fishing This. inference is based on observations as well as the knowledge that fish are usually found in. rivers and that bears eat fish Notice however that you haven t actually observed the bears. eating fish It is very important not to mix up observations and inferences. Hypotheses, Once enough data have been collected the scientist forms one or more hypotheses that. attempt to explain some part of the data, THE SCIENCE OF LIFE. Hypothesis A suggested testable answer to a well defined scientific question or a. possible testable explanation for observations, Hypotheses are possible explanations for a set of observations or possible answers to a. scientific question They are limited in scope so that you can test only one thing at a time. Usually several good hypotheses can explain a single observation or phenomenon In. fact good scientists try to figure out as many possible explanations for an observation. as their creativity allows For example if it has been observed that the males in a certain. species of birds sing then the following possible explanations could be made. Male birds sing to attract mates, Male birds sing to drive off territorial rivals.
Male birds sing to warn other birds of approaching predators. Scientists would need to design ways of ruling out or testing each of these hypotheses to. determine which if any of them may explain why male birds sing. Experiments, Once the hypotheses are formed the scientist typically with help from other scientists. collects much more data in an effort to test them These data are often collected by. performing experiments or by making even more observations. It s important to understand that you can test a hypothesis multiple ways Designing an. experiment is one way The student notebook that accompanies this text goes into detail. about how you can design your own experiment Scientists use experiments to search for. cause and effect relationships in nature In other words they design experiments where a. change in one thing will affect something else in a measurable way The factors that change. in an experiment are called variables, Variable A factor that changes in an experiment. Scientific experiments test only one variable at a time The independent variable cause. is the factor that is changed by the scientist The independent variable is also called the. manipulated variable because it is the variable deliberately altered The dependent variable. effect is the factor that responds to the independent variable and is sometimes called the. responding variable, Independent variable The variable manipulated by the experimenter. Dependent variable The variable responding to the manipulated variable. Having only one independent variable is how a scientist can be sure that the results of the. experiment are due to the one factor being investigated All other factors variables that. might influence the experiment must be controlled This is called a controlled experiment. and scientists pay as much attention to controlling all the variables except one as they do. to observing the changes in the dependent variable For example if you were trying to test. if watering plants with coffee causes those plants to grow faster than plants watered with. water you would have two groups of plants The group of plants that you water normally. is called your control group The group of plants that you water with coffee is called the. experimental group because this group contains the independent variable the one you want. to test Both groups would be identical same type of plant soil temperature amount. of sunlight etc except for the substance used for watering Data are collected on both. Experimental group The group in an experiment that is manipulated. contains the independent variable, Control group The group in an experiment that experiences no manipulation. does not contain the independent variable, Scientific Theories and Laws.
If the data collected from experiments or observations are not consistent with the. hypothesis there are a couple things scientists can do They might completely discard the. hypothesis if none of the data supports it Or they might modify the hypothesis a bit until. it is consistent with all data that have been collected Once a large amount of consistent. data is collected from testing one hypothesis or many hypotheses related to the subject. or phenomenon then an explanation is formed This inferred explanation of observable. natural phenomena is called a scientific theory, Scientific theory An explanation of some part of the natural world. that has been thoroughly tested and is supported by a significant amount. of evidence from observations and experiments, Since a theory has been tested by a large amount of experimental data it is considered. reliable A scientific theory is more substantial than a hypothesis because it explains as many. observations as possible with no exceptions and should be able to predict the outcomes of. future experiments As more and more predictions based on the theory are tested the theory. either will be supported or will need to be changed If new observations or interpretations. of the data arise that cannot be explained by the theory then the theory is modified so that. it continues to be the best possible explanation Often it takes scientists a while to really. analyze data inconsistent with a current theory but once the new data are thoroughly. verified by experiments a theory will be revised Sometimes a theory is rejected if an. overwhelming amount of evidence from testing hypotheses fails to support the theory. Unlike a scientific theory a scientific law is a description of a natural event but it doesn t. attempt to explain why the event occurs or how it happens. Scientific law A description of a natural relationship or principle often expressed in. mathematical terms and supported by a significant amount of evidence. THE SCIENCE OF LIFE, Most scientists generally accept both scientific theories and laws because they both result. when a great body of evidence support them often from years of observations and. thousands of experiments You may have learned that with enough research testing and. time a theory can become a law This is actually a common misconception In fact laws. often precede theories in science because describing a natural phenomenon can be easier. than explaining how it happens For example you will learn about Mendel s laws of. inheritance in module 7 These laws describe what Gregor Mendel observed about traits. such as the color of peas as they are passed from parent to offspring However Mendel. didn t know how these traits were passed from generation to generation so he didn t explain. but merely described what he observed It wasn t until years later after the discovery of. DNA that an explanation could be formed This explanation is called the chromosome. theory of inheritance and you will learn more about it too in module 7. Scientific Method in Action, An example of the scientific method in action can be found in the work of Ignaz Semmelweis. a Hungarian doctor who lived in the early to mid 1800s He was appointed to a ward in. Vienna s most modern hospital the Allgemeines Krankenhaus He noticed that in his ward. patients were dying at a rate that far exceeded that of the other wards even the wards with. much sicker patients Semmelweis observed the situation for several weeks trying to figure. out what was different about his ward as compared to all others in the hospital He finally. determined that the only noticeable difference was that his ward was the first one that the. doctors and medical students visited after they performed autopsies on the dead. Based on his observations Semmelweis hypothesized that the doctors were carrying. something deadly from the corpses upon which the autopsies were being performed to the. patients in his ward In other words Dr Semmelweis exercised the first step in the scientific. method He made some observations and then formed a hypothesis to explain those. observations, Semmelweis then developed a way to test his hypothesis He instituted a rule that all.
doctors had to wash their hands after they finished their autopsies and before they entered. his ward Believe it or not up to that point in history doctors never thought to wash their. hands before examining or even operating on a patient Dr Semmelweis hoped that by. washing their hands doctors would remove whatever was being carried from the corpses to. the patients in his ward He eventually required doctors to wash their hands after examining. each patient so that doctors would not carry something bad from a sick patient to a healthy. Although the doctors did not like the new rules they grudgingly obeyed them and. the death rate in Dr Semmelweis s ward decreased significantly This of course was good. the microscope pictured in Figure 1 1 available to study even the smallest living things As you begin your journey through biology take time to consider what lessons you may learn about the Creator of all 1 FIGURE 1 1 signs of life Scientist using a microscope The Bible tells us God saw all that he had made and it was very good Of course God did not have to observe creation to

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