The Building Blocks of Scientific Procedural Thinking

Today we learned about why it is important for scientists to make detailed, repeatable procedures for their experiments. Just like carpenters, cooks, and computer programmers, scientists rely on detailed, descriptive instructions to be able to repeat their experiments. For today’s activity, students came up with a procedure to put together blocks or Lego-like toys to make an object to their specifications so another student could follow the instructions and recreate the object. We learned that if you didn’t write detailed, careful instructions, other students could not recreate your object. If you are a scientist who makes an incredible, important discovery, the best way to make sure that others believe you is to carefully write down your methods so other scientists can repeat your experiment many times and get the same results. So making careful observations and writing down detailed, repeatable instructions, whether they are word instructions, pictures, diagrams, or other formats, is what makes science successful!



Phillip has a BS and MS in Biology from Western Washington University, and is currently earning a PhD in Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England. His research interests are in tropical rainforest ecology and animal-plant interactions. He will be doing his doctoral dissertation research on tropical seed dispersal ecology in the montane rainforests of Rwanda. Phillip has taught though various adjunct positions at several colleges in New England, teaching biology, ecology, earth science, environmental science, and general science at Babson College, North Shore Community College, Wheelock College, Merrimack College, and Mount Ida College.

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