Chemistry / The Scientific Method
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Solution: Identify each statement as being most like an observation, a...

Question

Identify each statement as being most like an observation, a law, or a theory.

a. All coastal areas experience two high tides and two low tides each day.

b. The tides in Earth's oceans are caused mainly by the gravitational attraction of the moon.

c. Yesterday, high tide in San Francisco Bay occurred at 2:43 A.M. and 3:07 P.M.

d. Tides are higher at the full moon and new moon than at other times of the month. 

Video Transcript

Hey guys, in this question we're supposed to observe after each statement does it represent an observation, a law or a theory so what's the difference between these terms? Well, am observations is what you see when you're actually doing an experiment or measurement, so that's what an observation is. A law we're going to say is basically us taking a catalog of a bunch of observations and from there we can predict what's going to happen. A theory on the other hand, A theory is basically a tested explanation of why something occurs so the biggest difference here is that a theory basically explains why something is going to happen, a law can help to predict it happening so if we take a look at this and understand these 3 different terms the first one we're talking about how areas around coasts experience 2 high tides and 2 low tides each day so here that sounds like a prediction that they can predict that's what's going to happen so they must have done some type of experimentation observation where they looked and saw this is occurring so that's a prediction that they make so this must be a law because a law through a series of observation allows us to predict what's going to occur.

Next, they're about here what causes the tides on Earth and how it all deals with the attraction of the moon so here this is explaining why things are occurring so since it's explaining why it occurs it must be a theory.

C they're telling us what time high tide was in San Francisco yesterday so here they're telling us when it happens why? because they're observing it happening so this is an observation.

And then D, here we're told that tides tend to be higher during full and new moons so how do they know that? They must have observed it and now they can predict from those observations in the past this was going to happen so again it's another prediction so this must represent a law.

So, remember observations what we see when we're doing the experiments or measurements, a theory helps you explain why something happens through observing all the different types of scenarios and a law helps us to predict what's going to happen in the future from these same observations.