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Scientific Induction

Drawing general conclusions from evidence as the basis for scientific method

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It's a Mystery

It's a Mystery

Credit: Robert Lopez
Source: CK-12 Foundation
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Did you ever want to solve mysteries, like the great detectives in fiction? Here’s your chance!

News You Can Use

  • Solving mysteries requires collecting evidence and drawing logical conclusions from the evidence. This is called inductive reasoning.
  • Inductive reasoning, or induction, is also the cornerstone of scientific research. Like detectives, scientists gather evidence and then try to draw logical conclusions based on the clues.
  • Use inductive reasoning to solve the “Angry Red Planet” mystery at the following URL: http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/mspot/arp/
  • In the mystery, you’ll assume that you are helping with a simulated flight to Mars. In this simulation, four “bionauts” are sealed into identical pods containing plants, animals, and water. The goal is for them to survive for six months without getting any additional water, food, or air from outside. Your role is to monitor conditions in each pod. Sound boring? It won’t be after the oxygen mysteriously starts to run out!

Can You Apply It?

With the links below, learn more about the power of reasoning and how it is used to solve mysteries both in science and in real life. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Compare and contrast deductive and inductive reasoning.
  2. How can you increase the chances that your conclusion is correct when you use inductive reasoning?
  3. What are advantages of induction over deduction to the scientist?
  4. How did you use inductive reasoning to solve the “Angry Red Planet” mystery?
  5. What role do photosynthesis and cellular respiration play in the “Angry Red Planet” mystery?

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    1. [1]^ Credit: Robert Lopez; Source: CK-12 Foundation; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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