# science skills by h5t8I9

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```									                              Core Academic and Study Skills - Science

Essential Skill 1 – Observation
Qualitative:
 Use detailed descriptors to convey size, shape, color, odor
 Accurately create sketches and diagrams
Quantitative:
 Measure accurately, with appropriate estimation of uncertain digit
 Use appropriate instruments and metric units for length, volume, mass
Observer bias
Developing Inferences:
 Draw solid conclusions based on observations

Essential Skill 2 – Writing Lab Reports
Objective:
 Concise statement of purpose of the activity
Background Information
 Summary of knowledge directly related to objective
Hypothesis
 Communicate prediction of relationship between independent and dependent variable
Materials:
 Complete and specific list of all equipment and reagents that will be used.
Procedure:
 Written in past tense
 Clearly reveals each step
 Written in paragraph form
 Accurately represent equipment set up in clear line drawing
Data:
 Unmodified results as recorded in the lab
 Displayed in a table that is understandable to the reader with appropriate headings and units
Analysis:
 Calculation with the numbers from the data
 Formula used for data calculations
 Representation of information visually presented in appropriate graph
Conclusion:
 Objective and procedures are briefly restated
 Hypothesis is restated and supported or not supported by findings from the study
 The most revealing result is repeated and explained in context of background information
 Concrete sources of error are discussed
Presentation of Findings:
 Able to orally communicate and present their experiment to a group
 Write a clear lab report
Core Academic and Study Skills - Science
Essential Skill 3 – Measurement
Metric Conversions:
 Understand why the metric scale is used in science
 Mass (mg, cg, g, Kg)
 Length (mm, cm, m, Km)
 Volume (mL, L, cubic centimeters)
 Density (mass per unit volume)
Materials used to measure :
 Recognize and name key lab equipment (triple beam balance, electronic balance, hot plate)
 Identify what each piece of equipment is used for
Accuracy vs. Precision:
 Identify the most accurate way to measure… (why is it more accurate to measure volume
 Identify the appropriate material and units to measure a variety of objects
 Understand uncertainty – why you can not be confident in anything or “prove” anything
 Understand when it is more important to be accurate or precise

Essential Skill 4 – Graphing
What type of graph to use when:
 Pie chart; X,Y Scatter Plot; Bar Graph
 When to connect the dots on a X, Y Scatter plot
How to create an effective graph:
 Pie Chart
 X, Y Scatter plot
 Bar Graph (histogram)
 Axis labels and units

Essential Skill 5 – Setting up an experiment
Controls:
 Used to minimize the unintended influence of other variables in the system
 Enable the relationship between dependent and independent variables to be explored
without confounding influences
Dependent Variable:
 The factor that changes in response to the independent variable
 Goes on Y-axis in an X-Y scatter plot
Independent Variable:
 The factor that is “deliberately” changed
 Goes on X-axis in an X-Y scatter plot
Apply controls and understanding of variables to experimental procedures
Causality vs. Correlation
 Correlation does not imply causality
Core Academic and Study Skills - Science
Essential Skill 6 – Lab Safety
Following Directions:
 Understand the importance of reading entire protocol before beginning the lab
 Be aware of and use safety precautions
Using materials in the lab
 Goggles
 Glassware
 Working safely (no horseplay and appropriate attire)

Essential Skill 7 – Formulating Questions
Testable vs. Non-testable Questions:
 Clearly defined
 Verifiable by experiment
 How, What, When, Who, Which, Why, or Where….
Scientific questions do not include an opinion
Scientific questions test one thing
Understand science as a spiral not a circle
 data can support or fail to support a hypothesis, but not PROVE one
Hypothesis vs. theory

Study Skills for Science
Note Taking – Cornell Notes
 Organizing the paper with headings, dates, page numbers
 Organizing notes within a binder by subject and sequence
 Active listening to distill main points of lecture/discussion
 Paraphrasing and summarizing main points
 Separating ideas from examples (using headings to identify ideas in notes with bullets
underneath focusing on examples)
 Using notes as a study companion (reviewing, editing, and clarifying areas that are
questionable)
 Interpreting figures including diagrams and graphs
 Identify and underline topic sentence in each paragraph
 Separating ideas from examples (ideas typically headings in text vs. examples found in the
body of paragraphs)
Vocabulary
 Mnemonic devices
 List of vocabulary words that grows over the summer
 Note cards with vocabulary word on one side and definition on the other
 Breakdown vocabulary words into root words, define roots to learn scientific terminology
 Identifying when help is needed
Core Academic and Study Skills - Science
 Asking effective and specific questions that enables teachers to target their help
Organization
 Organizing sections of a binder using dividers
 Writing homework and assignments clearly in agenda
Confidence
 Willingness to be wrong and take risks

Genevieve Nelson – Science Department Chair and AP Biology and Chemistry Teacher,
Germantown Friends School genn@gfsnet.org

A native of the Philadelphia area, Gen Nelson attended the Baldwin School, and did her
undergraduate work at Cornell University. Gen Nelson received a BA in Biology from Cornell in
1985 and spent three years working in a Microbiology research lab at the University of
Pennsylvania. She came to GFS as a teaching intern in the spring of 1989, and received her MS
in Secondary Education from the University of Pennsylvania in May of that year. Gen began
teaching at GFS full time in the fall of 1989. Gen attended the Woodrow Wilson Biology
Institute in 1992, and the Cold Spring Harbor Leadership Institute in Molecular Genetics in
1993. She served as an Access Excellence Fellow in 1994 and 1995, and served as the head of
the Science Department from 1994-2006. Gen is a member of the National Science Teacher's
Association and the National Association of Biology Teachers, and frequently gives workshops
at national conventions. She received the Presidential Award for Exellence in Mathematics and
Science Teaching in 2001, the Radioshack National Teaching Award in 2002, and the NABT
Outstanding Biology Teacher Award in 2006. Gen is teaching Advanced Biology and Chemistry
this year.

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