Monday, August 30

Science of Breakable Things + Scientific Method


Since the 17th century, scientists have been refining and honing the scientific method.  This is a standard way of acquiring knowledge through experimentation and observation...

The six steps of the scientific method include:

  • Observe: Make an observation.
  • Question: Ask a question.
  • Hypothesize: Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
  • Predict: Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
  • Experiment: Test the prediction.
  • Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.

The purpose of an experiment is to determine if your observations agree with your predictions.  A well-planned experiment will have an independent variable which affects a dependent variable.  Be sure not to get confused, however, with confounding factors!  After testing the hypothesis, look at the data collected and see if it needs further testing.  Should a variable be changed?  Should you alter the conditions or the number of test studies?

It helps to know a little bit about statistics when looking at your measurable data.  Look at your sample size -- did you test three subjects or thirty?  A larger sample size will give you a clearer picture.  Think about this - if your family has a nut allergy, then 75% of the people in your family (a small sample) are allergic to nuts.  However, 75% of the overall population does not have that same allergy.  A larger sample size - say a sample of your entire homeschool co-op or robotics team - will give a clearer picture on how many people have nut allergies.

Your challenge today is to look at the world around you and ask a question - any question.  Design an experiment.  Be sure to label the variables and only change one variable at a time, otherwise you might be testing something other than what you planned!  Collect data and draw a conclusion.  What did you learn?

Our spine read for this unit is:

  • The Science of Breakable Things   
    • When Natalie’s science teacher suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, she thinks it could be the perfect solution to all of her problems. With the prize money, she can fly her botanist mother to see the miraculous Cobalt Blue Orchids--flowers with the resilience to survive against impossible odds. Her mother has been suffering from depression, and Natalie is positive that the flowers’ magic will inspire her mom to fall in love with life again.  But she can’t do it alone. Her friends step up to show her that talking about problems is like taking a plant out of a dark cupboard and exposing it to the sun. With their help, Natalie begins an unforgettable journey to discover the science of hope, love, and miracles.

The the ENTIRE UNIT in Twenty-Three Reads Bundle - for someone who wants a little bit of everything! 

It includes twenty-three unit studies covering a wide range of topics. Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand. These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together.
  • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
  • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.
  • Language Arts
    • Finding Langston & the Poetry of Langston Hughes
  • Geography
    • Anne of Green Gables & Canadian Provinces
    • Stowaway & Antarctica
    • Julie of the Wolves & Alaska
    • Blades of Freedom & the Louisiana Purchase
    • The Avion My Uncle Flew & France
  • History
    • Zlata’s Diary & the Slavic Wars
    • Freedom Summer & the Summer of 1964
    • Treasure Island & Pirates of the Caribbean Sea
    • Farenheit 451 & Types of Government
    • Red Stars & Russia in World War 2
    • The Great Gatsby & the Roaring Twenties
    • The Long List of Impossible Things & Post-War Germany
    • A Tale of Two Cities & French Revolution
    • Witch of Blackbird Pond & Salem Witch Trials
    • The World Made New & Early Explorers
    • Stitching a Life & Jewish Immigration
  • Life Skills
    • Teetoncey & Lifesaving Skills
    • Freak of the Week & Disabilities Awareness
    • Island of the Blue Dolphins & Sailing
  • Science
    • The Science of Breakable Things & the Scientific Method
    • Frankenstein & Human Anatomy
    • Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation & Albert Einstein

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