Science aims to gain knowledge about the natural world. The very word science comes from the Latin word scientia, meaning knowledge. Scientists ask questions and use logic and evidence to answer the questions. They test these possible answers by conducting experiments that test their hypotheses under controlled conditions. When experiments are not possible, scientists use models and natural studies to test their hypotheses. Hypotheses that have been tested multiple times and accepted as facts become theories.
Science: A way of gaining knowledge about the natural world by asking questions and using evidence and logic to find the answers.
Observation: Something we detect with our senses.
Scientific Investigation: A plan for answering a scientific question and testing possible answers.
Hypothesis: A possible answer to a scientific question that can be tested (to be either true or false).
Evidence: Data that supports/disproves a statement.
Experiment: A special type of scientific investigation performed under controlled conditions.
Dependent Variable: Variable in a scientific experiment that is being affected by another variable (the independent variable).
Independent Variable: Variable in a scientific experiment that is manipulated to investigate its affect on another variable (the dependent variable)
Model: Representation of part of the real world.
Scientific Theory: A broad explanation of why something happens in nature that is widely accepted as true because it is supported by a great deal of evidence.
Scientific Law: Describe event that always happen under certain circumstances in nature.
The goal of science is to learn about the natural world.
Scientists conduct investigations for various reasons, such as explaining an observation and testing the conclusions of previous investigations. Scientific investigations generally follow the steps outlined below. The list of steps is not meant to be followed in a linear fashion from beginning to end; steps can be repeated or even skipped depending on the situation. Creativity, imagination, and a good knowledge base are also part of the scientific investigation.