gorongosa students draft Sp16 - Welcome to Life Sciences 1...

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www.BioInteractive.org 1 Welcome to Life Sciences 1 In this class, we will explore various aspects of biology focusing particularly on evolution, ecology, and biodiversity. The lab is designed to illustrate some of the important concepts from lecture. It is also your chance to explore some aspects of biology in further depth through in-class exercises and observation of living and preserved organisms. You might see organisms you have never seen before, and hopefully, you will learn much more about biology. Above all, be enthusiastic and have fun! The Scientific Process: Research Tools and Techniques Objectives Upon completion of this lab, students should be able to: Make detailed observations and pose scientific questions that can be answered with further research Analyze data and describe observational trends related to the animals, their behaviors and the environments in which they live Describe the utility of field observations to testing scientific questions Scientific Method Modern science began during the Age of Enlightenment, which swept through Europe in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Although science itself was performed in all parts of the world and in various manners long before then, the philosophical advancements that were brought about in the Age of Enlightenment codified a logically sound methodology that is the basis for all modern scientific knowledge. The methodology, naturally, is referred to as the scientific method. The scientific method is a process that starts with careful observation of the natural world. From these observations, a hypothesis is formulated to explain the observation, and the hypothesis is used to make predictions about the results of the experiment. The predictions are tested through experimentation, then the experimental results are interpreted to either support or reject the hypothesis. This process repeats, until the hypothesis is either highly supported or rejected. The scientific method is based on deductive reasoning championed by Francis Bacon (1561-1626), a philosopher and scientist from the Age of Enlightenment. Deduction is a philosophical process in which you can conclude that something is true because it is a logical extension of other things you know to be true. For instance, because you know that there are two sides to a coin, you can deduce that the odds of attaining a head when the coin is flipped are 50%. Induction , on the other hand, is a form of reasoning in which multiple, consistent observations yield a conclusion. In our coin example, if you were to flip a coin 10 times and attained 10 heads, you might inductively conclude that a flipped coin always lands on heads. A conclusion based on inductive reasoning, however, is easily negated: a single tail in our example would disprove our conclusion.
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