This chapter explains how scientists do research, and describes Earth science and its branches.
Refer to the following links for appropriate laboratory activities:
This lab provides a good introduction to the scientific method. It is easy to set up and uses basic materials. Students will learn how to use the scientific method to design an experiment, and they will distinguish among independent, dependent, and control variables.
In this lab, students will develop methods of collecting non-visual data by trying to determine the contents of several small boxes. They will use multiple senses to make observations, form hypotheses from their observations, and differentiate between hypotheses and predictions. They will come to an appreciation that other senses may be just as valuable as sight for making observations, and that an organized plan is needed to solve a problem.
This hands-on lab on the scientific method uses inexpensive materials but requires more than one class period. Students will make observations and predictions, test their predictions, and create a model. The lab encourages thinking outside the box and group discussion. At the end of the lab, students will understand the different interactive steps involved in the scientific method. They will also understand that the goal of science is not absolute truth but falsifiability, and that science is limited to empirical data and cannot answer all questions.
These links may also be helpful:
This site provides excellent background on student misconceptions and commonly confused concepts relating to the nature of science and scientific investigations. You may want to review the material before teaching this chapter.
These sites provide concise general strategies and tips for teaching middle school students about the nature and process of science.
Pacing the Lessons
Class Period(s) (60 min)
1.1 The Nature of Science
1.2 Earth Science and Its Branches