16 August Science 7 Continuing an introduction to the scientific study of motion

Today we want to investigate an event that vividly links energy and motion. We will try to clarify concepts in the study of motion and energy that might apply to what we see.

There are several purposes for using the event and investigation as an introduction to our study of motion.

  • We want to engage in the practices of scientific investigation. One of the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is called Science and Engineering Practices. We will try to identify various practices as we conduct the investigation, gather and analyze results, and write and present the findings.
  • We want to use science to look for patterns in apparent chaos. The dimension in the NGSS of Cross Cutting Concepts identify some of the characteristics of the ways scientists think. One is finding patterns. The target event looks like a mess in the first view. However, it is possible with scientific techniques to find patterns in the seeming chaos.
  • One of the practices and tools for thinking is graphing. Graphing is one of the main analytical tools you will learn and use this year. It is important to become fluent with making and interpreting graphs.
  • In any genuine scientific inquiry new questions arise as soon as answers to the original questions are sought. This generative nature of scientific work means that it is always productive. If you develop a scientific mindset, your life will seldom be boring.
  • By learning to write the report, which we will do collaboratively, you will have a clear example of how a scientific report is composed and what value this customary genre has for building scientific knowledge.
  • We will want to keep the event and investigation in view when we launch rockets and hot air balloons later in the semester. (KIV = keep in view) Concepts in science are inter-connected.

The format for a scientific report can help you organize your thoughts as well as the ways you carry out an investigation. The format reminds you of what you need to pay attention to and what you need to include.

  • Question: What happens when popcorn is popped in a pan without a lid?
  • (See the list of questions taped to the cabinets on the south wall of M313. These are progressive examples of questions to consider as you carry out investigations in Science 7. Think of the practice of science as activity that is driven by questions and the endeavor to develop answers to questions.)
  • Background: What is your knowledge of and experience with popcorn? What do you know about the process of popping corn? What do you know or think you know about heat? What do you know or think you know about motion?
  • (Always evaluate the state of your knowledge about any phenomenon under scrutiny. What are your concepts? What are your theories? What do you know or think you know? What are your questions about the phenomenon? What are the limits of your knowledge? What do you need/want to find out?)
  • Expectations: What to you expect “to happen?” Why do you expect this?
  • (Always outline what you expect the answer to the proposed question to be. Explain as best you can what you base your expectation on. The expectation and reason is a less formal way of making a prediction and proposing a suspected or possible explanation–sometimes the called an hypothesis. Many students have heard the word hypothesis before they have really understood. Some students confuse prediction with hypothesis. Some students think a particular sentence frame guarantees a hypothesis–like “if, then” or “if, then, because.” Many authentic scientific papers state the hypothesis and prediction without the “if, then” or “if, then, because” form. At this stage of your science education, it is fine to think in terms of expectation and reasons for the expectation. As your skill and experience with scientific investigation grow, we will introduce and develop the proper use and understanding of reasoning involving hypotheses, predictions, experiment, evidence, and deductive and inductive reasoning. You do not need to use the word hypothesis prematurely.)
  • Procedure: What did we do in order to address the question?
  • (Always write in past tense and first or third person. We will write some of this together in class. The test of a complete and clear procedure is when a person of equivalent experience and knowledge can read the account and could reproduce it if he or she chose. This does not mean that the procedure should be written like a recipe of commands. No real scientist ever writes procedures they have carried out as a set of commands. Avoid writing commands when you describe procedures you have carried out.)
  • Results: What happened?
  • (This is the section in which the results are revealed. Both quantitative and qualitative data can be included. In science relevant quantitative data is highly valued. All presentations of date should be well-labelled and organized. Both tables and graphs are important. If data can be graphed in ways that shed like on possible answers to the question, graphs must be created and included. We will develop an essential set of guidelines for graphing. We will also look at different kinds of graphs. An important skill to develop is knowing which kind of graph is appropriate for the question and the data. Well-labeled and well-organized mages and anecdotal observations may also be important and should be included. No discussion of the results takes place in this section–only presentation.
  • Analysis or Discussion: What do the results suggest about answer(s) to the question?
  • (This is a most important section of a scientific report. This needs to be thorough and thoughtful. We will work on developing an analysis section collaboratively as a class.)
  • Conclusion: How can the question, procedure, and results be summarized briefly? What are the implications of the findings? What are some changes in the procedure? What are new questions and expectations that arise from the investigation.

beginningwithoutaconclusion (An article about this activity by a much younger Dr. F)

The video below is not about our investigation, per se, but it does relate to the biological history of corn and the process of popping it. We will look closely at this example during second semester when we examine the growth, development, and reproduction of living things along with biodiversity, natural (and artificial) selection, and evolution.






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