The scientific method is a way to ask and answer scientific questions by making observations and doing experiments.

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2 The scientific method is a way to ask and answer scientific questions by making observations and doing experiments. Scientific Method 2

3 Steps of the Scientific Method Ask a Question: The scientific method starts when you ask a question about something that you observe: How, What, When, Who, Which, Why, or Where? And, in order for the scientific method to answer the question it must be about something that you can measure, preferably with a number. 2. Do Background Research: Rather than starting from scratch in putting together a plan for answering your question, you want to be a savvy scientist using library and Internet research to help you find the best way to do things and insure that you don't repeat mistakes from the past. 3. Construct a Hypothesis: A hypothesis is an educated guess about how things work: "If [I do this], then [this] will happen." You must state your hypothesis in a way that you can easily measure, and of course, your hypothesis should be constructed in a way to help you answer your original question. 3

4 Steps of the Scientific Method Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment: Your experiment tests whether your hypothesis is true or false. It is important for your experiment to be a fair test. You conduct a fair test by making sure that you change only one factor at a time while keeping all other conditions the same. You should also repeat your experiments several times to make sure that the first results weren't just an accident. 5. Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion: Once your experiment is complete, you collect your measurements and analyze them to see if your hypothesis is true or false. Scientists often find that their hypothesis was false, and in such cases they will construct a new hypothesis starting the entire process of the scientific method over again. Even if they find that their hypothesis was true, they may want to test it again in a new way. 6. Communicate Your Results: To complete your project you will communicate your results to others in a final report and/or a display board. Professional scientists do almost exactly the same thing by publishing their final report in a scientific journal or by presenting their results on a poster at a scientific meeting. 4

5 5

6 The Process Even though we show the scientific method as a series of steps, keep in mind that new information or thinking might cause a scientist to back up and repeat steps at any point during the process. A process like the scientific method that involves such backing up and repeating is called an iterative process. Throughout the process of doing your lab project, you should keep a journal containing all of your important ideas and information. 6

7 Science is ultimately based on observation (perceiving objects or events using one of the five senses) Observations often lead to questions ---> which lead to experiments to answer the questions. 7

8 Hypothesis Is a suggested solution to the problem / question. Must be testable Sometimes written as If Then statements Predicts an outcome 8

9 Examples: Correctly Worded: 1. If plants are given Miracle grow, then they will grow taller. 2. If given math tests, then girls will score higher than boys. 3. If hermit crabs have a choice, then they will choose colorful shells over drab shells. Poorly Worded: 1. Plants will grow better when given Miracle Grow. 2. Girls are smarter than boys. 3. Hermit crabs like colorful shells. 9

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11 Experiment A procedure to test the hypothesis. You figure out a way to test whether the hypothesis is correct or not. The outcome must be measurable(quantifiable) Record and analyze data. 11

12 Controls and Variables Scientific Experiments Follow Rules An experimenter changes one factor and observes or measures what happens. 12

13 The Control Variable The experimenter makes a special effort to keep other factors constant so that they will not effect the outcome. Those factors are called control variables. 13

14 What is the Purpose of a Control? Controls are NOT being tested Controls are used for COMPARISON 14

15 Other Variables The factor that is changed is known as the independent variable. The factor that is measured or observed is called the dependent variable. 15

16 16

17 Fair Test It is important for your experiment to be a fair test. A "fair test" occurs when you change only one factor (variable) and keep all other conditions the same. 17

18 To be a Valid Experiment: Two groups are required the control experimental groups There should be only one variable 18

19 Experiment Experimental Group -receives some kind of treatment or condition Control Group - receives no treatment, used to compare ** Everything about the two groups, except the factor you are testing, must remain exactly the same. Why? 19

20 Data Results of the experiment May be quantitative (quantity) or qualitative (quality) Must be organized Can be organized into charts, tables, or graphs 20

21 Bar Graphs Bar graphs are used to show a comparison of multiple objects. 21

22 Pie Graph Pie graphs are used to compare the parts of a whole. 22

23 Line Graphs Line graphs are used to show the relationship between variables. 23

24 Conclusion Is the answer to the hypothesis based on and justified by the data obtained from the research & experiment 24

25 One more thing it is best to make several trials with each independent variable. 25

26 In order to verify the results, experiments must be retested. Retest Anyone can get lucky once! 26

27 In Review 1. Identify a Problem 2. State Observations about the problem 3. Form a Hypothesis about the problem (if then ) 4. Design an Experiment to test the hypothesis 5. Collect Data 6. Form a Conclusion 7. Retest 27

28 Example # 1 of experimental design Hypothesis: If plants are given Miracle Grow, then they will grow taller. Plants A & B are both given the same amount of light, water, and are stored at the same temperature. Plant A is given Miracle Grow All the variables are kept constant except the one you are testing. Independent Variable - the factor you change, what you do to your exp. group. (Miracle Grow) Dependent Variable - what happens as a result of that treatment, what you are measuring (height of plant) 28

29 Data Table Example Collecting Data A scientist carefully collects and organizes data from the experiment. Data should always be presented in a neat fashion, usually tables or graphs. Data can be powerfully displayed as a graph 29

30 Alternate Data Collection - what if you grew hundreds of plants, and exposed half of them to Miracle Grow. You might choose to measure all your plants at the end of a week Height of Plants (cm) Average Plants in Group A Plants in Group B (control)

31 Conclusions Based on the data, a scientist then determines whether the hypothesis was supported or refuted. Be careful here, scientists usually don't use the word "prove" because there are no absolutes in science. In science, every conclusion must assume that the conclusion is only "true to the best of our knowledge". This is an important distinction between science and other subjects. Science is subject to change when new evidence is found. And while experimentation and observations can provide strong evidence for a conclusion, it is not absolute proof. 31

32 Example # 2 of experimental design Fatter Splatter Which balloon will make the biggest splatter? 32

33 Hypothesis Student s Statement: I thought that the closer to the ground the balloon was, the bigger the splatter would be. The reason I believed this was because the balloons closer to the ground would hit the ground harder. I think the closer I drop the balloon to the ground, then the bigger the splatter would be. 33

34 Materials These are the things I needed to do my experiment: 1. BALLOONS - for something to drop 2. WATER - to fill the balloons 3. MEASURING TAPE - to measure the drop height and the splatter 4. LADDER - for someplace to drop the balloons from 5. BOWL - to hold the balloons 6. CAMERA - to take picture of the procedure 7. PENCIL AND PAPER - to write down the results 34

35 Variable The variable for my experiment was using different heights to drop the balloons from. Using the measuring tape and a ladder we dropped the balloons from 5 different heights. 35

36 The Control The control for my experiment was keeping the size of the balloons the same. We filled up the balloons with water and measured them so they would be 13 inches around. 36

37 Procedure STEP #1: We filled each balloon with water. STEP #2: We measured each balloon so they would be the same. 37

38 STEP #3: We measured different heights with the measuring tape. We then used 4 ft., 6 ft., 8 ft., 12 ft., and 15 ft. We dropped one balloon from each height. 38

39 STEP #4: We measured the width of the water splatter for each balloon drop. STEP #5: We used the wettest middle part to measure. Then we wrote it all down. 39

40 We filled new balloons to 13 inches around. We dropped the balloon from 4 ft. and it bounced. Then we got on the ladder and did 6 ft. and it finally splattered. We measured the biggest part of the wet area in the middle. At 6 ft. the splatter was 48 inches. At 8 ft. it measured 56 inches. Then we dropped from my bedroom window. At 12 ft. the splatter measured 58 inches. The last measured 62 inches from 15 ft. high. Results We threw the balloons left over at each other! 40

41 Conclusion I was wrong about my hypothesis and I learned a couple of things. 1. The higher you drop a balloon, the more the splatter spreads. 2. This is because the balloon has more time to go faster to hit the ground harder. 3. By accident, I also learned that bigger balloons splatter more than smaller balloons. 41

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