Through science process skills and manipulating skills, scientific knowledge grows (with its potential, possible limits and a question of validity) and form the basic or the building blocks of science.
There are six main types of scientific knowledge :
1. Fact- event, phenomena, statement or information accepted to be true based on empirical evidence( eg speed of light, nucleus of an atom consists of protons and neutrons, g=9.8ms-2
2. Concept- idea or group of ideas (construct), object or process(eg density, force, momentum etc)
3. Hypothesis - general/conjectural statement of the relationship between two or more variables anticipated to be true but has to be proven empirically(eg the longer the length of the pendulum, the longer its period of oscillation)
4. Principle- generalized concept which links together a number of other concepts(eg Archimedes principle)
5. Theory- a connected/interrelated statements, concepts or principles which are generalized (have to be verified by experiment) to describe, explain and predict a phenomena.
6. Law- principle which are repeatedly and empirically proven to be true but its truthfulness may not be absolute( eg Boyle's law, Charles' law, Newton's law etc)- it is a relative truth !
Science process skills and manipulating skills should be developed through scientific method
The basic steps of scientific method includes:
1. Identify the problem
2. Formulating a hypothesis
3. Designing an experiment
4. Making observations
5. Recording data from the experiment
6. Analyze the data and confirming hypothesis
7. Forming conclusions
Main characteristics of the scientific method:
1. The method is systematic - this implies a procedure that is marked by thoroughness and has a certain regularity.
2. The method is empirical- grounded in reality ie based on actual data.
3. The method is objective- the results can be replicated by other scientists.
4. The method is logical- the results rationally follow from evidence.
5. The method is critical and analytical in nature
6. The method is an inquiry and investigative in nature.
There are two main types of scientific approaches which contribute to the development of scientific knowledge.
1. Inductive approach is characterized by a strictly empirical approach through repeated experiment/observation of reality in order to make a conclusion.
eg experiment : heating one end of metal rod
observation : the other end gets hot
conclusion : metal conducts heat
2. Deductive approach is a form of inference or a process of reasoning by which conclusion is drawn by logical inference from given premises.
premise: all metals conduct heat
premise : object A(new object found) is a metal
conclusion (or deduction): object A conducts heat
The wheel of science is circular, depending on where one starts the wheel ie from inductive or deductive approach. Both attempt to establish a valid and verifiable knowledge through the correct use of a scientific method. It is a process of continuous inquiry, investigation and discovery.
Pedagogical question - How best can we develop methods of teaching scientific knowledge to our
students in secondary schools?
students in secondary schools?