The Scientific Method Mrs. Kristi Walker 4 th Grade
The Scientific Method: At some point in time, you have probably noticed something that made you wonder. Why does bread grow white and blue mold? How do birds fly? When the astronauts were on the moon they were able to bounce when they walked. Why don’t we bounce when we walk? You can use the steps to the Scientific Method to help you figure out the answer to things that make you wonder.
What is the Scientific Method? The Scientific Method is a process that is used to find answers to questions about the world around us. 1. Ask a Question 2. Form a Hypothesis 3. Set Up & Conduct an Experiment 4. Organize the Data (Analysis) 5. Draw Conclusions
The Scientific Method: Is there only one? No, there are several versions of the scientific method. Some versions have more steps, while others may have only a few. However, they all begin with asking a question!
Step 1: Ask a Question The first thing you need to do is ask a question. The question sets the purpose for your experiment. The question can be phrased anyway you want as long as you can test it fairly. Scientific questions cannot be opinions. Let’s use bread mold as our example: Question: Does Bread Mold Grow Faster in Warm or Cold Temperatures?
Step 2: Form a Hypothesis The second thing you need to do is form a hypothesis. A hypothesis is an educated guess that predicts the outcome of an experiment. Remember this is not just a random guess, make sure you read about the subject you are curious about before you start on your experiment. Hypothesis: Bread mold grows faster in warmer temperatures.
Step 3: Set Up and Conduct an Experiment An experiment is a series of steps that you will do to test your hypothesis. Important: To make the experiment fair you have to use the same type of materials for each part of the test. Example: if my experiment is testing the growth of mold then I can’t use a piece of wheat bread and a piece of white bread for my experiment because both of them could mold at different rates.
Step 3: Set Up and Conduct an Experiment One of your most important parts of your experiment is the control. The control is the part of the experiment that does not change! It is the item that you compare everything else to. In this experiment, the bread would be the control. It is the part of the experiment that will not change.
Step 3: Set Up and Conduct an Experiment Another important part of your experiment is the variable. The variable is the part of the experiment that changes. In this experiment, the temperature would be the variable. It is the part of the experiment that will change.
Step 3: Set Up and Conduct an Experiment Step 1: Place three pieces of bread in plastic bags. Step 2: Place one plastic bag in the freezer. Step 3: Place one plastic bag on the heater vent. Step 3: Place one plastic bag on the counter at room temperature. Step 4: Check the bags of bread every day and measure the size of the mold on them using a ruler. Step 5: Record data in Science notebook. Step 6: Repeat steps one through five for one week.
Step 4: Organize the Data As you observe what happens during your experiment, you will need to write stuff down so that you don’t forget what has happened. This is called gathering data. In this experiment I would need to record the amount of mold on each piece of bread every day. Be consistent when you observe and record your data. For example, check the bread the same time every day.
Step 4: Sample Data Day 1:Freezer: No mold Counter: No mold Heater: No mold Day 2: Freezer: No mold Counter: No mold Heater: No mold Day 3: Freezer: No mold Counter: No mold Heater: No mold Day 4: Freezer: No mold Counter: 1 cm mold circle Heater: No mold Day 5: Freezer: No mold Counter: 3 cm mold circle Heater: 1 cm mold circle Day 6: Freezer: No mold Counter: 6 cm mold circle Heater: 1 cm mold circle Day 7: Freezer: No mold Counter: 8 cm mold circle Heater: 1 cm mold circle
Step 4: Organize the Data Now that I have my data, I need to do something with it. Use a graph, chart, or table to present your findings.
Step 5: Draw a Conclusion After you get done studying your data you are ready to draw a conclusion. Drawing a conclusion does not mean that you will draw a picture. Drawing a conclusion means gathering your ideas to see if you were right and comparing it to your hypothesis. A conclusion tells what you found out and how you found it out.
Step 5: Draw a Conclusion Conclusion: My hypothesis said that I thought bread mold would grow best in warmer temperatures. I was wrong. I found out that bread mold doesn’t like to grow where it too hot or too cold. It grows best at room temperatures. I know this from my data. It showed no growth on the bread in the freezer, a little on the one on the heater vent an a lot of growth on the counter. I figured out that the data was telling me that bread mold grows best at room temperature.
Lets Review: Scientific Method Steps Step 1: Ask a Question Can be answered with a fair test Aren’t opinions Don’t have an obvious answer Step 2: Form a Hypothesis An educated guess that answers the question Uses research Step 3: Set up and Conduct an Experiment Use the same materials Record your data as you conduct the experiment Step 4: Organize the Data Use a chart, graph, or table Step 5: Draw Conclusions Use your Data to help draw your conclusion Tells what you found out and how you found it Includes a statement that accepts or rejects the hypothesis
Music Makes It Memorable: Scientific Method Song
Experiment Time! Let’s practice the steps to the scientific method.