Earth 12

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Scientific Method and Safety

The scientific method has been used in natural science since the 17th century. It consists of systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, testing, and modification of hypotheses. High school students are expected to be familiar with the scientific method and its applications. Earth science tends to be an advanced subject, and students may have previously become sufficiently acquainted with rigor associated with the scientific method. Still, and emphasis on safety – especially pertaining to geologic field work – may be of benefit to students.

Lesson 1 (or “Day 1”) Material
Lesson 2 (or “Day 2”) Material
Lesson 3 (or “Day 3”) Material
Lesson 4 (or “Day 4”) Material


3:16 Field Studies: Detailed Geological Mapping

2:44 Hazards and risks

2:38 Other General Hazards / Lab Safety Video Part 6

Compare Contrast and Debate

Background: There are several distinctive (and obvious) differences between working outside, and working in a laboratory environment. Because these two work situations are different, it may make sense to apply a different set of safety guidelines to each situation. On the other-hand, both have several important overlaps where safety is concerned. Having a single set of safety standards that covers both situations (in a lab – and outside) might be the best approach to reducing safety risk.

  • Position A: The safety rules and guidelines should be written specifically for lab work – and separately for outdoor scientific work.
  • Position B: Safety rules and guidelines should be the same, regardless of whether in a lab or working outside.

Resources Documents and Links

Special Notes and Notices

Instructors: While the scientific method remains an important discipline for high school science students to know and apply, there is a general trend toward the use of phenomena as an alternative way to engage students in science. In particular, “The new vision for science education features a three dimensional view of learning that involves: science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas. To engage students in authentic scientific experiences in these 3-dimensions, phenomena plays a key role in having students work to figure out core ideas in science. The phenomena that students should be working to explain will allow them to use these core ideas to help explain things in the natural world.” (pdf link)

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