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TOPIC: INTRODUCTION TO BIOLOGY: BIOLOGY AS AN INQUIRY IN SCIENCE
- Meaning of (a) Science and (b) Biology
- Scientific method
- Experimental pattern
- Living and Non-Living things
- Differences between plants and animals
- Levels of organization
- Complexity in multicellular organisms.
Sub – Topic 1: MEANING OF (a) SCIENCE AND (b) BIOLOGY
Science can be defined as a systematic process of making inquiry about the living and non-living things in our environment. Science is both an organized body of knowledge and a process of finding out knowledge.
Biology is the branch of science that studies living things. The word ‘biology’ is derived from two Greek words: ‘bios’ which means life, and ‘logos’ which means study. Biology therefore means the study of life or of living things.
Biology has several branches, these include
- Botany (study of plants)
- Zoology (study of animals)
- Morphology (study of the external features of living things)
- Anatomy (study of internal structure of living things)
- Physiology (Study of how living things function)
- Ecology (study of the relationships between living things and their environment),
- Genetics (Study of how living things inherit characters from their parents) etc.
The prime purpose of science is research, i.e., finding out about things, so biology involves finding out or making inquiry about living things, their interaction with themselves and with nature.
Sub – Topic 2: METHOD OF SCIENCE
The method of science involves systematically making inquiries about something under study. It begins with observation (that is, looking at something carefully with a view to finding an answer to a question). This involves using all the senses i.e., sight, hearing, touch, feeling, pressure, taste, etc. and instruments (e.g., ruler, microscope, magnifying lens, weighing balance, telescopes, barometer, etc.) where necessary.
Observation is followed by a hypothesis i.e., a sensible, reasonable guess which is capable of being tested or verified.
The hypothesis is tested by an experiment. Experiments usually involve measurements/counting, as such they have to be carried out as accurately as possible. Scientific experiments have a control. The control experiment is identical with the experiment proper, but the factor to be tested is omitted. This gives the investigator a higher degree of confidence in his result and conclusion.
Results from an experiment are put together and a conclusion (inference/generalization) is made.
Other scientists may repeat the same experiment and if similar results are obtained then the generalization is accepted as a theory.
When a theory has been tested extensively, worldwide and found to be consistently true, it becomes a law e.g., the law of gravity
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