"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.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games
section of our online store
includes a climate change card game
and the Traveling Nitrogen game
You might also be interested in:
How do scientists actually come up with explanations for the things that happen around us? The first step in this process happens when a scientist observes something happening that is both interesting...more
Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. "The data will help give us a better road map to what a future...more
The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core, and makes up about 84 percent of the Earth's volume. The mantle is made up of many distinct portions or...more
Some geologic faults that appear strong and stable, slip and slide like weak faults, causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults in a new way to figure out why. In theory,...more
The sun goes through cycles that last approximately 11 years. These solar cycle include phases with more magnetic activity, sunspots, and solar flares. They also include phases with less activity. The...more
Studying tree rings doesn't only tell us the age of that tree. Tree rings also show what climate was like for each year of a tree's life, which means they can tell us about climates of the past and about...more
Earth's first life form may have developed between the layers of a chunk of mica sitting like a multilayered sandwich in primordial waters, according to a new hypothesis. The mica hypothesis, which was...more