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hypothesis

explanation for a question or a problem that can be scientifically tested

observation

using the senses to gather information

data

information

inference

logical interpretation based on prior knowledge and observations

theory

well tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations

scientific method

a logical, systematic approach to the solution of a scientific problem

control

standard for comparison in an experiment

independent variable

factor in an experiment that researchers manipulate so that they can determine its effect

dependent variable

factor that changes as a result of a change in the independent variable

light microscope

microscope that uses a beam of light passing through one or more lenses to magnify an object

electron microscope

uses electrons to produce a magnified image of objects too small to be seen with a light microscope

metabolism

all of the chemical reactions that build or break down materials within an organism

evolution

change over time; process by which modern organisms descended from ancient organisms

species

two organisms that are so similar they can interbreed in nature and produce fertile offspring

ecosystem

all the organisms in a particular location, including their non-living environment

population

members of a species in a defined area

biosphere

part of Earth that living organisms inhabit

community

populations of different organisms living in a defined area

DNA

double stranded nucleic acid that stores and transmits genetic information

homeostasis

the process by which organisms keep their internal environment relatively stable

hypothesis

a proposed answer to a scientific problem; an educated guess

cell

basic unit of life

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