Introductory Story for Module 2
"Hey, kids! How doodle-dee-doo?" asks Corty. "Have you got some time to help me out with something?"
"We always have time for you, Corty!" smiles Julia.
"Great! Because I just got four emails from four different scientists. Each email has a word with a description, and I’m not sure what to do with them," says Corty. "The words are Observe, Predict, Experiment, and Conclude."
Julia and Max look at the words to try to figure out what they mean. They write each word on a different piece of poster board.
"Maybe they are in the wrong order or something. Let’s try moving them around," Max suggests.
The kids start moving the pieces of poster board and rearranging them in different combinations. Finally, they stop, lean the boards against the wall, and slump down in their chairs.
"I’m more confused now than when we started," sighs Julia.
Just then, Beth and Juan come into the club house. "What’s wrong with you two? You look exhausted," says Beth.
"Corty gave us these definitions in some emails, and we’re trying to figure out what they mean," says Max.
"Let’s look them up on the computer. You can find just about anything on the Internet," suggests Juan.
The kids all crowd around the computer screen, and Beth starts typing. Corty immediately pops up.
"Hi, Junior Scientists!" says Corty. "I know this is a tough challenge, so I’m going to introduce you to some of my friends—they’re scientists. They study different drugs and how they affect our brains and bodies."
"What does that have to do with the definitions of those words?" asks Julia.
"Let’s sign on and find out!" says Corty. "One of the first things scientists do is OBSERVE. Dr. Chudler does this when he begins solving any problem. He looks at the problem very carefully and writes down what he sees. Dr. Chudler is trying to help people with Parkinson’s disease, which affects the nerves and the brain. He is doing research to try and help these people get better and not feel pain."
Corty continues, "Another one of the words is PREDICT. When Dr. Byas-Smith has a problem, he has to make guesses about how to solve it. Predicting is like making a good guess. Dr. Byas-Smith studies certain chemicals in the brain and tries to figure out how we can avoid developing bad habits or stop bad habits when they develop."
Corty then introduces them to Dr. Jackson. "Another word is EXPERIMENT. Dr. Jackson experiments in her lab to find out if her guesses are right. She studies the effects of cocaine on unborn rats. Dr. Jackson is trying to find out how the drug affects the way the brain grows."
"And the last word we have is CONCLUDE," says Corty. "Dr. Kimes has spent a lot of time working on a problem and experimenting. She uses all of the information she’s collected to CONCLUDE—to come up with an answer. Dr. Kimes works with a PET scanner. This is a machine that takes pictures of the brain. She studies the pictures to look for ways to help people stop using drugs."
"Have you figured out what order the words should be in?" asks Corty.
"When you’re a scientist, the first thing you do is observe. You check out a problem. Just like we did when we had the problem of finding out what these definitions were," explains Beth.
"Then, we predicted—we made a good guess at what the answer was. We guessed that the words maybe had something to do with science," says Max.
Julia chimes in, "Next, we experimented. The experiment tells you if your guess is right. We experimented by checking in with some scientists."
"And finally, we concluded—we put the pieces together to figure out what they meant. And then we had the answer to the question we started out with. Ta-da!" shouts Juan.
Julia admits, "I didn’t realize that scientists did so many things."
"Yeah, or that science could be so much fun!" says Max.