THE EXPLORER'S SKILLSET

THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD

The scientific method refers to several key steps scientists use on a regular basis:

  • Make an observation

  • Ask a question

  • Form a hypothesis

  • Make a prediction based on the hypothesis

  • Test the prediction

  • Form a conclusion

  • Iterate: Use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions

Interestingly, this methodology is very similar to what explorers use when they are preparing for an expedition. Rephrasing the words above, we have: 

  • Purpose: What is the goal of your expedition or quest?

  • Research: What have others learned in the past to inform your purpose or mission?

  • Hypothesis: What do you think you will find on your quest?

  • Experiment: Begin the expedition and attempt your goal 

  • Analysis: Did you fulfill your quest? What worked? What didn't?

  • Conclusion: Was the expedition a success? Why or why not?

  • Iteration: What's next? What else do you want to know and explore?

As discussed before, an explorer's mindset of curiosity and courage is a critical first step for the explorer-scientist. Equally important is an explorer's skillset — the critical thinking, questioning, testing, and analyzing that helps determine whether the expedition (or experiment) was successful or not. Explorers constantly observe, test, and re-evaluate things along their journey. Have I selected the right team for the job? Do we have the right equipment? Are we going the right way? What clues and cues can the landscape give me? What am I not noticing? What will help my chances of success? What will hurt them?

 

The explorer's skillset uses an analytical mindset and scientific methodology to navigate the world and, in doing so, gives explorers—and students—the skills to evaluate and improve their chances of long-term success.

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