Description What does it mean to be alive? How did the first cells form, and what traits did these earliest cells possess? How do living things function in varied environments? In this scenario, students are asked to consider what constitutes life, its origins, and the evidence needed to demonstrate that something is alive. Students are introduced to the molecules common to all living things, and the structure and function of cells. Students make observations of animal body shape, and apply knowledge of gradients and chemical activity to develop a working hypothesis about the ratio of surface area-to-volume, and its impact on homeostasis, metabolism and ultimately, survival. Instructors could use examples from extreme environments or journeys to other planets as contexts for this investigation and guide student inquiry.
Description Students are introduced to methods of scientific investigation by designing hypothetical experiments to test hypotheses about the world around us. Examples from the instructor’s research or current events can be used to make the exercise more relevant to students. Scenarios for controlled and correlation studies will be used so that students experience multiple methods of experimental design. What counts as scientific evidence? Students could apply scientific reasoning to the evidence for global climate change, medical treatments (vaccines) and claims of products such as detoxifying footbaths, high-dose vitamins, and balance bracelets (or amber teething necklaces).
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