How to Use Science to Solve Problems


Science education and the state of scientific literacy have been the subject of much discussion, not only among educators but by scientists, politicians, and corporate, business and religious leaders.

Although a relatively small percentage of jobs and occupations may be classified as scientific, the ability to think scientifically is essential to everyone in today's increasingly knowledge-based world of work.

Science is an expression of humanity's urge to acquire knowledge about the world. When someone is looking at a sky blazing with stars, the purpose of the viewer will determine the method used to observe the heavens.

An astronomer may be exploring the birth of a solar system. An astronaut will examine the possibility of human life in space. A sailor may use the stars to navigate. An astrologer uses the stars to predict people's fates. Poets may find inspiration for new visions. And lovers may see stars in each other's eyes in the moonlit night. All of them are looking at the same sky. Only some of them are scientists.

Science is more than simply making observations and collecting facts. It also involves applying rigorous methods of exploration and interpretation.

Learning Goals

At the completion of all of the segments of this article, you should be able to:

  • describe three steps toward getting a good science education
  • give some examples of how scientific issues are present in day-to-day problems
  • describe three different ways of knowing and explaining how things work
  • review the basic steps of using the scientific method
  • use the included Internet links to get additional information about the topics of mathematics and real-life problem solving