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The Scientific Method Scientists use experiments to test a hypothesis or answer a question Observations : Description of objects, events May include data from all five senses (touch/texture, smell, taste,…
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  1. The Scientific Method
    • Scientists use experiments to test a hypothesis or answer a question
    • Observations :
    • Description of objects, events
    • May include data from all five senses (touch/texture, smell, taste, sight, sound)
    • Could be drawings, diagrams, written words
    • Do not include opinions .
    Observations & Inferences
    • Observations :
    • Qua L itative: description written in words ( L etters)
      • five senses (touch/texture, smell, taste, sight, sound)
    • Qua N titative: description using N umbers
      • Measurements using measuring tools or counting
    Observations: Types
    • Inferences
    • Drawing conclusions based on observations
    • Often provide a reason for the event/object being observed.
    Observations & Inferences
    • There are two groups in a controlled experiment:
    • Control Group : the set-up within the experiment that is left alone or “natural.” Measurements of the dependent variable are still taken and used to compare to the experimental group .
    Controlled Experiments
    • There are two groups in a controlled experiment:
    • Experimental Group : the set-up within the experiment where the researcher looks at the affect of the independent variable on the dependent variable.
    • The independent variable will be some factor that is present in the experimental group but not in the control group.
    Controlled Experiments
  2. Example Experiment: Ketchup
    • Research question: is the thickness of ketchup affected by refrigeration?
    • Control group : unrefrigerated ketchup
    • Experimental group : ketchup at different temperatures
    • Variables are factors in an experiment that are measured or controlled.
    What is a Variable?
  3. What is a Variable?
    • Independent (manipulated) variable :
      • factors or categories in an experiment that are tested by the scientist .
    • **Simple experiments have only ONE independent variable.
  4. What is a Variable? Dependent (responding) variable: ..the factor that you are measuring as a result of the ind. variable .
  5. What is a Variable? Controlled variables (constants): factors in an experiment that are kept the same for every group .
  6. Example Experiment: Ketchup
    • Research question: is the thickness of ketchup affected by refrigeration?
    • Independent variable (can be controlled by experimenter): temperatures (30° F, 60° F, and 72° F) at which ketchup is stored.
    • Dependent variable (measurement taken under each experimental condition): time it takes a ketchup to drip off a spoon
    • Constants (kept same for both control and experimental group): ketchup brand, amount on spoon, type of spoon, testing location, thermometer for recording temps, whether ketchup bottle gets shaken before time is measured, time stored in each temperature before being tested, etc.
  7. Parts of an Experiment
    • RESEARCH QUESTION/PROBLEM
    • What question is being answered, problem solved, or hypothesis tested?
    • For example, “Is the thickness of ketchup affected by refrigeration?”
    • Hypothesis
    • An “if…then…because” statement describing your expected results.
    • Always support your idea with a reason !
    • State it like this:
      • If = your independent variable
      • Then = your dependent variable
      • Because = a scientific reason
    • Always use positive language: this will (not might) occur
    Parts of an Experiment
  8. Example Experiment: Ketchup
    • Research question: is the thickness of ketchup affected by refrigeration?
    • Hypothesis: If ketchup is stored at a colder temperature, then it will take more time to drip off a spoon because the cold temp. allows the ketchup to congeal which makes it thicker.
    • Remember each variable:
      • Independent: storage temp.
      • Dependent: amount of time to drip off spoon
    • Procedure:
    • Includes two things:
    • Items used during the experiment (materials).
    • Step by step directions that any other person would be able to follow.
    • What materials would you need for your experiment? Write it down…
    Parts of an Experiment
    • Procedure :
    • Steps followed during experiment.
      • Write in a numbered list
      • Should be detailed enough that anyone can follow exactly what you did.
      • Include the number of times you are going to do the experiment (trials)?
        • The number of trials depends on the experiment, but it should be enough to generate accurate averages. At least three trials minimum.
    Parts of an Experiment Write it down…
  9. Example Experiment: Ketchup
    • Research question: is the thickness of ketchup affected by refrigeration?
    • Materials:
    • Heinz Ketchup 3 20 oz. plastic bottles
    • Measuring spoon: 1Tbls
    • Thermometer (°F)
    • Refrigerator w/freezer
    • Stopwatch
    • Bowl
    • Procedure:
    • Record temperatures of freezer, refrigerator and countertop in °F.
    • Place one bottle of ketchup in each location.
    • Allow bottles to sit for 30 minutes undisturbed.
    • Take bottle out of freezer.
    • Shake bottle for 10 seconds before testing.
    • Open bottle and squirt 1 tablespoon of ketchup into the measuring spoon making sure ketchup is level with top of spoon.
    • Replace bottle in storage area while running each trial.
    • Hold spoon vertically with ketchup at bottom end over a bowl and start stopwatch.
    • When the first drip of ketchup hits the bowl, stop stopwatch and record time.
    • Clean and dry measuring spoon and repeat 3 more times.
    • Repeat procedure for ketchup stored in refrigerator and on countertop.
    • Observations/Data:
    • All the measurements gathered while performing the experiment.
    • Always record in a pre-made data table.
    • Now, do the experiment! Record your data in the table.
    Parts of an Experiment
  10. Example Experiment: Ketchup
    • Research question: is the thickness of ketchup affected by refrigeration?
    Temp (°F) Time (s) Trial 1 Time (s) Trial 2 Time (s) Trial 3 Average time (s) Freezer Fridge Counter
    • Results/Conclusions:
    • Graph your data.
    • Write an analysis of your data to determine the final outcome of the experiment. Include the following:
        • What do you NOW believe as a result of the experiment or observations?
        • Restate your hypothesis (or at least relate your findings to it).
        • Support your claim with at least 2 pieces of data, including averages.
        • Use good explanatory language.
    Parts of an Experiment
  11. Example Experiment: Ketchup
    • Research question: is the thickness of ketchup affected by refrigeration?
    • Share your results:
    • Publish your findings so that others may benefit from your work.
    Parts of an Experiment

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