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Scientific Method in Real Life

Part I: The Scientific Method
Apply the Scientific Method to two real life scenarios:

Scenario 1: You arrive home late at night. You walk up to the front door, unlock it, and reach in to turn on the light switch located just inside the front door. The light does not come on! Now what?

Scenario 2: Develop your own detailed problem/observation and apply the scientific method to solve.

Part II: Why I Cannot Live With/Without Science

1) Describe a typical day in your life from the time you wake up, until the time you go to bed. Describe how science impacts you and your routine throughout the day.

2) How has science improved your quality of life and why?

3) Are there any negative impacts that science has had? What are they and why?

4) Do you believe that you could survive without science? Why or why not?

Solution Preview

Part I
The scientific method is a cycle of observation, developing a hypothesis, experimentation based on the hypothesis, and identifying conclusions. Through successive rounds of the scientific method hypothesis are refined into theorems that can explain our observations.

Let's take Scenario 1. You reach for the switch and the light doesn't come on. What would you do next? I would try the switch again. Maybe I didn't flick it all the way the first time. Then I would check to see if there was anything wrong with the electricity, by trying to turn on other lights in the house or looking to see if any electrical appliances were working. And so on and so forth until I found out why the light wasn't working.

Now in Scenario 2 let's use the scientific method.
Observation: The light doesn't come on the first time that I flick the switch. Based on experience I know a few potential causes of this observation, namely: faulty switch, no electricity, or burnt out light bulb. Using this background information I can then form a hypothesis as to why the light bulb didn't come on when I flicked the switch.

Hypothesis: The light bulb didn't come on when I turned the switch because the light bulb has burnt out.

Experiment: Take the old bulb and test it in a known working socket (at a neighbor's). Experiments should ideally have only two possible outcome. Either they will support the hypothesis or disprove it. If the light doesn't work at my neighbors house then there is something ...

Solution Summary

The solution gives detailed examples of how the scientific method can be used in a real life situation as well as short answers to questions concerning the place of science in our lives. Web references provided with 1008 words total.

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