Study Guide

Nature of Science

Nature of Science Introduction

Science.

Did you just think of a nerd, clad in a lab coat, tinkering with beakers filled with colorful substances while jotting down notes in a notebook?

Guess what—there's more to science than lab coats and beakers. We're going to explore how our studious friend got to this lab, surrounded by glassware and bubbling solutions. Here's a hint: it all started with a measly observation. This was followed by a question, and the rest is, well, the scientific method.

The scientific method is like a jungle, and while most savvy scientists may not look like Tarzan, they've all got the tools they need to navigate all of the twists and turns their experiments might throw at them.

Are you a little jealous? You want those tools, too? No problem.

We're going to equip you with evidence-collecting powers that will help minimize any errors you might encounter. We'll show you how to tame all of the numbers your experiment spews at you and corral them into an awesome graph. Then we'll teach you how to make that graph fetch you a donut. Just kidding; we really want a donut, though.

Once you're a master grapher, we'll show you how to understand what the numbers are trying to tell you. Yes, we speak fluent Graph-ese, and you will too. Then we'll get into the details on sharing your results with the world. Nope, you're not out of the jungle yet. The peer review process is a jungle in itself, but we'll get you through it.

Of course, navigating this jungle isn't going to be a walk in the park. We'll show you how to handle ethical issues with the greatest of ease, why scientific models are a scientist's BFF, and how technology has helped us understand more of the natural world than we ever thought we could. GPS won't get you out of this jungle, but knowing how science works will. Grab your goggles and some bug spray, 'cause we're goin' in.

Nature of Science Resources

Games and Tools

Using the Scientific Method to Escape a Room
You're locked inside a dark room and need to escape before you get hangry. Can you use the scientific method to find your way out?

Inky the Squid and the Treasures of the Scientific Method
Take Inky the Squid on a scientific method adventure, finding clues to help him stay alive and learning about the scientific method in the process. Watch out for the pinchy crabs and ridiculously catchy music.

Putting the Scientific Method to Good Use
Use the scientific method to solve a crime and learn about astronomy, all in a day's trip to the Internet.

Graph Maker
Use this handy tool to turn your unruly data into a stunning graph.

Graph Maker 2.0
Looking to make a line graph? Searching for a scatter plot? Can't wait to try a contour plot? We've got you covered.

Videos

Scientific Method Rap
Shmoop's our name and science is our game. Rapping is not, but check this out.

The Times and Troubles of the Scientific Method
Here's a look into the ups and downs of life as the scientific method. And you thought you had drama.

Take a Trip Down the Scientific Method
Want to see how new discoveries are made? Love spiders? Okay, we'll take one of the two. Check out this video to see how scientists use the scientific method to make new discoveries about spiders.

How Science Works
Watch how scientists can use a bunch of mud to figure out what Earth's climate used to be like, using the scientific method of course.

Websites

Can DNA Demand A Verdict?
Can a tiny drop of blood and itty-bitty hair solve a crime? Read on to find out.

Interactive Scientific Method Flowchart
The scientific method is hardly a Point A to Point B process. See what it's really like with this fancy flow chart.

The Scientific Method and the Death of the Dinosaurs
The dinosaurs didn't have YouTube yet, so we're left with the scientific method as our only means of figuring out what happened to them. Check out how scientists put the evidence to work.