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Categories of Skills and Abilities In Science Class

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on May 1, 2014

This outline identifies the types of skills that science students ought to be able to do better after having taken middle and senior high school science. We have listed five categories of skills: acquisitive, organizational, creative, manipulative, and communicative. No attempt is made to rank these categories in order of importance, or even to imply that any one category may be more important than any other. Within each of the categories, however, specific skills are listed in order of increasing difficulty. In general, those skills that require only the use of one’s own unaided senses are simpler than those that require use of instruments or higher orders of manual and mental dexterity.

  • Acquisitive: skills and abilities of gathering information
    1. Listening—being attentive, alert, questioning
    2. Observing—being accurate, alert, systematic
    3. Searching—locating sources, using several sources, being self-reliant, acquiring library skills and the ability to use computer search programs
    4. Inquiring—asking, interviewing, corresponding
    5. Investigating—formulating questions
    6. Gathering data—tabulating, organizing, classifying, recording
    7. Researching—locating a problem, learning background, setting up investigations, analyzing data, drawing conclusions
  • Organizational: skills and abilities of putting information in systematic order
    1. Recording—tabulating, charting, working systematically, recording completely
    2. Comparing—noticing how things are alike, looking for similarities, noticing identical features
    3. Contrasting—noticing how things differ, looking for dissimilarities, noticing unlike features
    4. Classifying—identifying groups and categories, deciding between alternatives
    5. Organizing—putting items in order, establishing a system, filing, labeling, arranging
    6. Outlining—employing major headings and subheadings, using sequential, logical organization
    7. Reviewing—identifying important items
    8. Evaluating—recognizing good and poor features, knowing how to improve grades
    9. Analyzing—seeing implications and relationships, picking out causes and effects, locating new problems
  • Creative: skills and abilities of developing new approaches and new ways of thinking
    1. Planning ahead—seeing possible results and probable modes of attack, setting up hypotheses
    2. Designing—identifying new problems
    3. Inventing—creating a method, device, or technique
    4. Synthesizing—putting familiar things together in a new arrangement, hybridizing, drawing together
  • Manipulative: skills and abilities of handling materials and instruments
    1. Using an instrument—knowing the instrument’s parts, how it works, how to adjust it, its proper use for a given task, its limitations
    2. Caring for an instrument—knowing how to store it, using proper settings, keeping it clean, handling it properly, knowing its rate capacity, transporting it safely
    3. Demonstrating—setting up apparatus, describing parts and functions, illustrating scientific principles
    4. Experimenting—recognizing a question, planning a procedure, collecting data, recording data, analyzing data, drawing conclusions
    5. Constructing—making simple equipment for demonstrations and investigations
    6. Calibrating—learning the basic information about calibration, calibrating a thermometer, balance, timer, or other instrument
  • Communicative: skills and abilities of transferring information correctly from one experimenter to another
    1. Asking questions—learning to formulate good questions, to be selective in asking
    2. Discussing—learning to contribute ideas, listening to ideas of others, keeping on the topic, arriving at conclusions
    3. Explaning—describing to someone else clearly, clarifying major points, exhibiting patience, being willing to repeat
    4. Reporting—orally reporting to a class or teacher in capsule form the significant material on a science topic
    5. Writing—writing a report of an experiment or demonstration; describing the problem, method of attack, data collected, methods of analysis, conclusions drawn, and implications for further work
    6. Criticizing—constructively criticizing or evaluating a piece of work, a scientific procedure, or conclusion
    7. Graphing—putting in graphical form the results of a study or experiment, being able to interpret the graph for someone else
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