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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 : Name glassware (beaker, Erlenmeyer flask, graduated cylinder, pipets) 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 with a graduated cylinder than with a beaker or flask?) 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 Reading – SQ3R plus: 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 Self-advocacy 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 For more information about science skills, please contact: Genevieve Nelson – Science Department Chair and AP Biology and Chemistry Teacher, Germantown Friends School firstname.lastname@example.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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