Nature of Science
The following is not technically related to the curriculum, but could help students learn more about specific scientific fields and experiments, as well as inspire their own sense of scientific inquiry!
Often, students think that science is all about laboratory work, crazy equations, and boring, tedious experiments. The aim of this module is to not only excite and inspire students about becoming scientists, but also for them to understand where scientific knowledge comes from and how it has an impact on our daily lives.
When students imagine scientists, they often picture the stereotypical mad scientist with thick glasses and messy hair!
But science is not all crazy scientists wearing lab coats and blowing up test tubes! Scientific experiments are done by everyday individuals--teenagers, students, adults, parents, and even grandparents! They are not all obsessed with being in the lab, and many scientists often have non-scientific hobbies and interests, too.
Check out these images of some of the members of the Marzluff lab!
They're not mad scientists, but they sure are smart!
In fact, not all scientists work in a LAB! Science is NOT confined to a lab! Many scientists who study certain animals or environmental factors do much of their studies in the field. These sorts of experiments allow scientists to travel to exotic and exciting places like the rain forest, coral reefs, and glaciers!
And, let's not forget the variety of scientific fields that are out there! Of course, Biology is the science of life, but there are so many other types of scientists out there! There are the obvious chemistry, geology, and physics. But then there's also astronomy, zoology, forensics, entomology, and the list goes on! The frontiers available in science are almost limitless! It may be cheesy, but science is only limited by the scientist's imagination!
Additionally, "doing science" does not always involved performing experiments. When a scientist achieves his or her desired result, or discovers something new and amazing, he or she writes a paper to be published in a scientific journal that will be read by other scientific peers all around the world! Say, for example, an American scientist discovered a new protein called "squiggly". If the article were published, scientists in Japan could read the paper, confirm the result by running the same experiment as the American scientist, and further explore everything there is to know about "squiggly".
That's the great thing about scientific research: it's never-ending! Research not only achieves results, but also serves as the inspiration for other scientists to explore new ideas, techniques, and experiments. In that way, science is like a treasure map: for each new discovery, there are clues that hint at what could be explored next! Without the curiosity and hard work of scientists around the world, think of all of the knowledge we would be missing!
Have you ever thought of how the information in your textbook got there? Someone had to do the research, to make the discovery, to get the article published, to inspire other research, to explain unknown phenomena, for the knowledge to finally end up in your very own science textbook!
Next time you hear someone refer to science as boring or nerdy, or that research is not worth the time or money, simply remind them that science is not as "rigid" as it seems. It does not always involved laboratories and complicated experiments, and it is often exciting, innovative, and life-changing!