Why Should a Non-Science Major Study Science?

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1/17/2013

CHEM 110: Welcome!

Why should a non-science major study science? What are your answers?

• Take handouts from front table (3 of them
plus a small, purple square of paper
o o

• Begin by:
Filling in the information sheet (this will be turned in at the end of class) Forming groups of 4-5 students to proceed with Worksheet 1.1. This will not be turned in.

Why should a non-science major study science? Three possible answers • Modern science influences culture and society in
profound ways…
o o o

Which of these goals do you consider to be most important? Choose only 1… A. Acquiring information (facts, principles,
concepts, etc.)

Medicine Technology Energy

B. Learning how to use information and
knowledge in new situations.

• Decisions regarding scientific principles are often
made by nonscientists, particularly politicians. • Science is a fundamental way to understand the world around us, revealing knowledge systematically that is not accessible by other means.

C. Developing skills to continue learning after
college. Of course, they are all important!

Which of these goals can you best accomplish on your own, without help from your instructor or classmates? A. Acquiring information (facts, principles,
concepts, etc.) B. Learning how to use information and knowledge in new situations. C. Developing skills to continue learning after college. That’s the primary reason I require you to purchase a textbook for the class…. And to read it before coming to class

If students read the textbook carefully outside of class, then in class… • “Lecture” over the same material can be used to
efficiently reinforce factual and conceptual information • There are many opportunities for students to do self-assessment of their learning • There are more time to apply your knowledge to interesting applications

1

1/17/2013

First Topic: The Scientific Method (I’ll discuss the syllabus later in class) • You are probably somewhat
familiar with it already… • Your brain is hard-wired to do it, whether you realize it or not… • You learn by making connections with what you already know…

Scientific Method: What is the first step? (See back page of WS 1.1) • Observation! An observation is a measurement
of some aspect of nature.
o o o

An experiment is simply a controlled observation Scientific observations can be confirmed by others You all observe things all the time

• What observations can you make about the
handouts in CHEM 110G?
o o o

They are multi-colored They are three-hole punched Etc.

Scientific Method: What is the second step?
• Finding patterns, trends, and eventually laws. • A scientific law is a summary or generalization of a large number of observations, never contradicted under its specified conditions. • What patterns or trends can you identify for the handouts in CHEM 110G, Section M01 (my section)? o

Scientific Method: From Another Textbook

You probably found that you identified some trends naturally as a part of your observations!

• Finding and recognizing patterns is something art
and science both clearly share!

Scientific Method: Next Step
• Formulate a testable hypothesis, a tentative,
initial attempt to explain the origin or cause of a set of observations. o o

Scientific Method: Final Goal
• Develop a theory, the best current explanation
for a phenomenon.
o o o o

It attempts to explain why something happens It must be testable!

• Why are my handouts all three-hole punched? • How could you test your hypothesis, or acquire evidence to support it?

Like a hypothesis, it attempts to explain why something happens It is supported by a significant number of hypotheses and experimental measurements. It is tentative, but not easily discarded. The shift from hypothesis (tentative) to theory (much more certain) is often gradual.

• A common phrase like “it’s just a theory” really
does not reflect the certainty with which a genuine theory...
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