THE PROCESS OF SCIENCE Three methods: –Deductive Reasoning – aka the Scientific Method Based on concrete data Generally accepted by the greater scientific community What your buddy will use to do the sci. fair project –Inductive Reasoning Not based on concrete data/generalizations Not well accepted by scientific community –Accidents Not accepted by scientific community
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD 1.Observe the world around you 2.Ask a question about something that intrigues you –Form a testable question 3.Give a possible answer to that question –This will be your hypothesis 4.Test your hypothesis with an experiment/gather data. 5.Analyze the data 6.Present the data to the world!
TESTABLE QUESTION What would you like to find out about your topic? What can you discover by performing your experiment? What are you trying to accomplish? Can you design a fair test to answer your question? A "fair test" requires that you change only one factor (variable) and keep all other conditions the same. How, What, When, Who, Which, Why, or Where. The experiment should measure changes to the important factors (variables) –One easy change would be the presence versus the absence of a variable
TESTABLE QUESTIONS (CONT.) Your science fair project question should involve factors or traits that you can numerically measure or identify –Traits that are easy to measure typically involve a quantity such as : count, percentage, length, width, weight, voltage, velocity, energy, time, etc. –Traits that are easy to identify include color and smell Remember: These are 5 th graders! “Complex” does not necessarily mean “better”!
AVOID THESE TYPES OF QUESTIONS! Any topic that boils down to a simple preference or taste comparison. For example, "Which tastes better: Coke or Pepsi?" –Such experiments don't involve the kinds of numerical measurements – qualitative/subjective data Astrology or ESP –No scientific validity. Any topic that requires measurements that will be extremely difficult to make or repeat, given your equipment. –Example: measuring nano-particles or building a complex structure Any topic that requires dangerous, hard to find, expensive, or illegal materials.
HYPOTHESES A hypothesis is an educated guess about how things work. Most of the time a hypothesis is written like this: "If _____[I do this] _____, then _____[this]_____ will happen.” –Sometimes a hypothesis will also include a “because” statement at the end Null Hypothesis: "If _____[I do this] _____, then _____[nothing]_____ will happen.”
DECLARE YOUR VARIABLES Independent variable - the variable that is changed by the scientist. Dependent variable - the variable the scientist observes. –Changes in the dependent variable depend on changes in the independent variable. Controlled variables are quantities that a scientist wants to remain constant throughout the experiment.
HERE’S AN EXAMPLE The Testable Question is: Does heating a cup of water allow it to dissolve more sugar? Independent Variable: Temperature of the water (Measured in degrees Centigrade). Dependent Variable: Amount of sugar that dissolves completely (Measured in grams). “this is the data you get” Controlled Variables: Stirring, Type of sugar (variables that are same)
APPROVAL FOR YOUR BUDDY’S PROJECT All experiments must be approved by Mrs. Bandrowski before beginning the experiment. If there are any requests for equipment, help with the procedures for these experiments, or any other questions, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org –“ SA Project Procedure & Materials ” if seeking approval for project –“ SA Project Materials Request ” if seeking to borrow materials.
NEED MORE HELP? –www.sciencebuddies.org –www.pbskids.org/dragonflytv/scifair/index.ht ml –www.tryscience.org/experiments/experiments_ home.html –Your mentor binder
PROCEDURE Before experimenting, one needs a procedure…it doesn’t need to be exact yet, but just a step-by-step list on what your buddy will do. –Includes safety procedures (goggles, gloves, etc.) –Think about all the steps that your buddy will need to go through to complete your experiment, and record exactly what will need to be done in each step. –Tell how you will change your independent variable and how you will measure that change. –Tell how you will measure the resulting change in the dependent variable.
RESEARCH NOTEBOOK Your buddy should have a research notebook (composition notebook) that should read like a diary from the beginning to the end of the project. –Includes dates, times, and thoughts and processes. –It should contain all experimental forms including those for hazardous material, bacteria, etc. –The notebook should contain all materials, procedures, and data. –Your buddy should bring his/her notebook to all Mentor-Buddy Meetings.
FOR THE NEXT MEETING December 6 th, 2010 – please arrive at 3:30 in the Commons; It’s the Holiday Cookie Exchange! Mentors: Bring your binder, a dozen cookies, and a smile on your face! At the end of the next meeting, you and your buddy should be decided on a topic, declared all variables, and written hypothesis and null hypothesis.
REMINDER! The Email format: Mentor Last Name, Mentor First Name; Buddy Last Name, Buddy First Name; Subject Vader, Darth; Skywalker, Luke; How to Use the Force Remember to email 2x a week! Send emails to buddy email, parent email, and email@example.com