Chabot College - Astronomy Worksheet- Scott Hildreth

The Nature of Science


The scientific method allows ordinary people to do extraordinary things - Francis Bacon


A. You can do this activity with friends or classmates, or especially with members of your family. Start by simply picturing in your mind an "astronomer". Make a detailed mental image, and then describe in words, in a short typed, spell-checked essay of at least 2 paragraphs (250 words or more):

  1. What does the astronomer look like? Include a description of the clothes, hair, and personal characteristics of your image.   Be as detailed as you can about their characteristics, and list those characteristics.

  2. How does your mental image of the astronomer act; that is, what behavioral and academic characteristics do you associate with someone who is an astronomer?

  3. Where does this mental image come from, in your opinion? What influenced you to create this image? It could be that you know an astronomer, or you have seen astronomers on TV or movies, or you have a sense of what they might be like from books or magazine articles.

B. Analyze your description.  Did you picture an astronomer as male?  As sharing a particular ethnicity (caucasian, asian, african, etc.)?    Why?

C. Read one of the following short descriptions of the process of science.  Comment in your essay about what you read, and what you thought of the website. Be sure to cite the article you read properly in your homework, and include it in a bibliography.

(Short) Steps of the Scientific Method.(2008) Kenneth Lafferty Hess Family Charitable Foundation. Accessed 3/7/11.

(Short) Scientific method. (2008, January 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 3/7/11.

(Longer, deeper) Pine, Ronald (1999). Philosophy and the Scientific Method. (Excerpted from the book, Science and the Human Prospect, available online at  Accessed 3/7/11 .

(Longer, interactive) University of Utah (2003) The Scientific Method.  ASPIRE. . Accessed 3/7/11 .

D. Could you be a scientist? Do you think you have the "right" characteristics? What qualities do you have that would be useful in science? What qualities do you think you have that would not be useful in science?


6/07/10 - SH

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