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National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth
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Strange Days on Planet Earth
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Activity Guide

Study Science

Season 2 Materials

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Activity Guide
Become a Scientist

Studying science offers some of the most exciting, innovative, and powerful skills available for understanding, working, and predicting future events in our ever-changing world. Science is a way of knowing — a pathway to knowledge — and possibly the greatest ongoing adventure of the human mind. By becoming a scientist, you can share in this incredible adventure of discovery and exploration.

A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITIES, DISCOVERY AND EXPLORATION

If you pursue a career in science, your studies can take you from the inner workings of the invisible microbial world to the surface of colossal asteroids orbiting in outer space, from the complex insides of new hybrid cars to the eye of the most ferocious hurricanes.

You can delve into the physical, chemical and biological secrets of life on the planet-and find yourself traveling from order to chaos and back-all in the course of one day.

In addition, you can gain skills that will help you devise creative solutions and join your ideas with the world’s best and brightest to tackle some of today’s most challenging environmental problems.

THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD OF INQUIRY

Science is fundamentally different from other ways of knowing because it is based on independently verifiable facts about phenomena and it strives for consensus based on those facts. Scientists use a type of methodology known as the scientific method of inquiry. Studying and practicing the scientific method develops not only your investigative skills but also trains you in diverse laboratory and field techniques and teaches you essential tools for critical analysis, prediction and communication. These skills are vital throughout your entire life.

While no single method fits all inquiries, there are a number of features common to all scientific endeavors:

  • All good scientific inquiry stems from asking a compelling and testable question-posing a hypothesis.
  • Answering that question requires the careful collection of data through precise observation and if possible measurement.
  • The next step involves reviewing these data and using the gathered evidence to develop new ideas and form new informed hypotheses. All good hypotheses should offer testable predictions.
  • Scientists also seek alternative explanations to explain their observations-formulating multiple working hypotheses during their investigations.
  • Once a discovery is made, scientists communicate their findings to others and their results are peer-reviewed by the scientific community before being accepted.

The beauty and power of the scientific method of inquiry is that from new discoveries new answers emerge as well as more profound questions. From these new questions, you can continue to build on humanity’s robust foundation of discovery and experimentation and learn how best to adapt to our dynamic world.

GIVE IT A TRY: HERE’S WHERE TO GO

Boundless opportunities exist for all ages interested in studying science. The Strange Days on Planet Earth Consortium of aquariums, zoos, and science centers offers a great place to start:

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All links below will open in new browser windows. Off-site Link

Arizona
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Tucson, AZ

California
Aquarium of the Pacific
Long Beach, CA

Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Los Angeles, CA

California Science Center
Los Angeles, CA

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey, CA

Florida
The Florida Aquarium
Tampa, FL

Illinois
Shedd Aquarium
Chicago, IL

Louisiana
Audubon Institute / Aquarium of the Americas
New Orleans, LA

Maryland
Maryland Science Center
Baltimore, MD

Massachussetts
New England Aquarium
Boston, MA

Missouri
Missouri Botanical Garden
St. Louis, MO

New York
New York Aquarium
New York, NY

North Carolina
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Raleigh, NC

Ohio
Columbus Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Columbus, OH

Texas
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Austin, TX

Fort Worth Zoo
Fort Worth, TX

Washington
Woodland Park Zoo
Seattle, WA


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