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What do Scientists Do?

What do Scientists Do?

TEKS Objective

The student is expected to describe what scientists do.

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Essential Understanding

The student knows that information and critical thinking are used in scientific problem solving.

Science Background

Sea Grant Marine Careers: WHOI Sea Grant Program (website) - Learn about the wide variety of careers available in the marine sciences, including marine biology, oceanography and ocean engineering.

Sea Grant Marine Careers
WHOI Sea Grant Program,

How the Scientific Method Works: HowStuffWorks (website) - Good descriptions of the approaches used by scientists, with numerous examples of famous scientists and their contributions.

How the Scientific Method Works
by William Harris, HowStuffWorks,

Signature Lesson

In the Mix: 3M Science of Everyday (PDF) – In this lesson, students cooperate as engineers and scientists to solve a real world problem related to the filtration of water.

In the Mix
3M Science of Everyday,

Supporting Lessons

How Big in Your Heart? National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (website) - Describe the location and function of the heart, and how exercise affects the heart.

How Big in Your Heart?
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics,

Beluga Whales in the Ice: National Geographic Xpeditions (website) - Students become scientists as they research how beluga whales survive in the icy Arctic and subarctic waters and why they sometimes need to migrate.

Beluga Whales in the Ice
National Geographic Xpeditions,

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Fish Aren’t Afraid of the Dark: National Geographic Xpeditions (website) - Introduce students to the concept of bioluminescence and discuss how animals benefit from having their own light sources.

Fish Aren’t Afraid of the Dark
National Geographic Xpeditions,

Nautilus Live 2011 Expedition Overview: National Geographic (video) - Watch Bob Ballard describe his upcoming Nautilus expedition, which will begin in the Black Sea, searching for antiquities and exciting geology.

Nautilus Live 2011 Expedition Overview
National Geographic,

Archeology for Kids: National Park Service (website) – Who are archeologists and what do they do? This site provides the anwers.

Archeology for Kids
National Park Service,

Assessment Ideas

Draw A Scientist: Crestwood Explores the World (website) - Students can demonstrate what they learned about what a scientist does by drawing one.

Draw A Scientist
Crestwood Explores the World,

Literature Connections

What is a Scientist? Lehn, Barbara. (ISBN 0761312986)

Scientists Ask Questions. Garrett, Ginger. (ISBN 0516246623)

What is Science? Kai Dotlich, Rebecca. (ISBN 0805073949)

Scientists at Work. Ring, Susan (ISBN 0736852670

Related Science TEKS

(1.2A) Ask Questions
The student is expected to ask questions about organisms, objects, and events observed in the natural world.

(1.2B) Plan and Conduct Descriptive Investigations
The student is expected to plan and conduct simple descriptive investigations such as ways objects move.

(1.2C) Collect Data
The student is expected to collect data and make observations using simple equipment such as hand lenses, primary balances, and non-standard measurement tools.

(1.2D) Record and Organize Data & Observations
The student is expected to record and organize data and observations using pictures, numbers, and words.

(1.2E) Communicate Observations
The student is expected to communicate observations with others about simple descriptive investigations.

(1.4A) Tools for Collecting Information
The student is expected to collect information using tools, including computers, hand lenses, primary balances, cups, bowls, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices, including clocks and timers; non-standard measuring items such as paper clips and clothespins; weather instruments such as demonstration thermometers and wind socks; and materials to support observations of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

Related Math TEKS

1.7F     The student is expected to compare and order two or more objects according to weight/mass (from heaviest to lightest).

1.9A    The student is expected to collect and sort data.

1.9B     The student is expected to use organized data to construct real object graphs, picture graphs, and bar-type graphs.

1.11C   The student is expected to select or develop an appropriate problem-solving plan or strategy including drawing a picture, looking for a pattern, systematic guessing and checking, or acting it out in order to solve a problem.

1.11D  The student is expected to use tools such as real objects, manipulatives, and technology to solve problems.

1.12A  The student is expected to explain and record observations using objects, words, pictures, numbers, and technology.

1.13A  The student is expected to justify his or her thinking using objects, words, pictures, numbers, and technology.

Additional Resources

Want to Be a Scientist? Sci4Kids (website) - Learn about the many interesting career opportunities available to new scientists in a variety of agricultural disciplines.

Want to Be a Scientist?
Sci4Kids, USDA,

Principal Research Scientist, Dr. Charles H. Mazel: Ocean Explorer NOAA (website) - What does a principal research scientist do? View the video pages for more information.

Principal Research Scientist, Dr. Charles H. Mazel
Ocean Explorer, NOAA, oceanexplorer.noaa.go

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