This resource features two NOVA videos that depict the scientific process in the framework of two groundbreaking 20th century experiments. The first video explores the work of chemist Percy Julian to find a synthetic treatment for glaucoma, and the second features Dr. Judah Folkman's quest to understand how tumors grow.
The videos are accompanied by an animated graphic display that shows the steps each scientist is taking along the path of scientific process. The graphics help learners understand that scientists approach and solve problems in unique, non-linear ways. Though both scientists are rigorous and orderly, their approaches do not follow a textbook "scientific method".
Included on this web page are background information and discussion questions for teachers.
Please note that this resource requires
Editor's Note:Meets a number of NGSS standards for Nature of Science.
experiment, experimental design, experimentation, hypothesis, research design, research methodology, research process, scientific experiment
Metadata instance created
October 6, 2010
by Caroline Hall
September 23, 2014
by Caroline Hall
Last Update when Cataloged:
December 31, 2007
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
1. The Nature of Science
1A. The Scientific Worldview
6-8: 1A/M2. Scientific knowledge is subject to modification as new information challenges prevailing theories and as a new theory leads to looking at old observations in a new way.
1B. Scientific Inquiry
3-5: 1B/E1. Scientific investigations may take many different forms, including observing what things are like or what is happening somewhere, collecting specimens for analysis, and doing experiments.
1C. The Scientific Enterprise
6-8: 1C/M7. Accurate record-keeping, openness, and replication are essential for maintaining an investigator's credibility with other scientists and society.
Next Generation Science Standards
Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)
Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems (1-12)
Science assumes that objects and events in natural systems occur in consistent patterns that are understandable through measurement and observation. (6-8)
Science is a Human Endeavor (3-12)
Scientists and engineers are guided by habits of mind such as intellectual honesty, tolerance of ambiguity, skepticism, and openness to new ideas. (6-8)
Science is a result of human endeavors, imagination, and creativity. (9-12)
NGSS Nature of Science Standards (K-12)
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (1993 Version)
1. THE NATURE OF SCIENCE
A. The Scientific World View
1A (9-12) #3. No matter how well one theory fits observations, a new theory might fit them just as well or better, or might fit a wider range of observations. In science, the testing, revising, and occasional discarding of theories, new and old, never ends. This ongoing process leads to an increasingly better understanding of how things work in the world but not to absolute truth. Evidence for the value of this approach is given by the improving ability of scientists to offer reliable explanations and make accurate predictions.
B. Scientific Inquiry
1B (6-8) #1. Scientists differ greatly in what phenomena they study and how they go about their work. Although there is no fixed set of steps that all scientists follow, scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant evidence, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected evidence.
1B (6-8) #4. New ideas in science sometimes spring from unexpected findings, and they usually lead to new investigations.
%0 Electronic Source %D December 31, 2007 %T PBS Learning Media: Scientific Processes %I WGBH Educational Foundation %V 2015 %N 21 April 2015 %8 December 31, 2007 %9 application/flash %U http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/drey07.sci.phys.matter.scprocess/scientific-processes/
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