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"Understanding Science," a Web site funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), offers a window to a better understanding about how dynamic and creative the scientific process really is.
"Understanding Science" Web site, University of California Museum of Paleontology

Not Just a Guy in a White Coat
News story originally written on February 26, 2009

Can you tell the difference between anecdotes and tested ideas? Do you know what science is and what it is not? †To make sense of the world today, itís important to understand science.

You may have heard that scientists follow a defined process called the scientific method when they go to tackle a problem: Ask a question, form a hypothesis, conduct an experiment, collect data and draw a conclusion. But science is much more than those steps. Itís dynamic and creative. Thatís what a new Web site called Understanding Science seeks to explain.

Instead of the five-step scientific method, there is an interactive chart showing how science works: the many motivations leading to exploration and discovery; the ways that ideas are tested out; the role of teamwork, analysis and feedback; and possible benefits and outcomes that result from making science happen.

The Web site illustrates what science is and how it works using real-life examples--from the structure of DNA to advances in fueling technology to the discovery of insulin. The site even offers a chance to consider whether pursuits like astrology are, or are not, science.

Understanding Science is designed for the general public and educators. Links to teacher resources include resources targeted to primary, middle school, high school and undergraduate-level educators.

Last modified April 13, 2009 by Lisa Gardiner.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF