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The Scientific Method: Tutorial Place your keyboard aside. Only use your mouse or mouse pad (laptops). Start from beginning Designing the experiment Variable practice Graphing the data Conclusion

Introduction: The Scientific Method The scientific method is a series of steps used by scientists to help them solve problems. In principal, the scientific method is fairly straight forward so long as you can remember a few basic concepts. A valid experiment will identify a problem, research the problem to see if others have collected data for similar problems, create a hypothesis (temporary solution to the problem), collect data by performing an experiment, analyze the data collected, and report your findings. Setting up the experiment can be the toughest part of the scientific method for young scientists. A poorly designed experiment can make your data hard to understand and even meaningless. Therefore, the purpose of this tutorial is to help you learn basic fundamentals to help you design an experiment and interpret the data collected.

Identifying a Problem Kobe-cyol (fictional) is a prescription medication designed to relieve arthritis pain. Jane and Jerry are both young doctors who have heard rumors that Kobe-cyol can raise the blood pressure of patients who use the drug. This can be a serious medical concern because if the patients blood pressure is too high, they can suffer a heart attack and possibly die. This is the first stage of the scientific method, identify a problem. What is the problem that Jane and Jerry have identified? Some patients take Kobe-cyol. Some patients have high blood pressure. Some patients are at risk of heart attack. Some patients who take Kobe-cyol may have higher blood pressures. But what is the connection? This information is not given in the story. Correct. back But what is the connection?

Researching the Problem Jane and Jerry have agreed to meet at the UCLA medical library to research their problem. They searched countless journals to see if other doctors have performed work on the effects of Kobe- cyol, but they did not find the answer to their problem question. They will need to perform their own experiment. Even though Jane and Jerry have discussed the risks with their patients about the use of Kobe- cyol, they have found volunteers to test the medication. Together, Jane and Jerry come up with a plan to test Kobe-cyol and the possible blood pressure risk. More will be discussed on their plan shortly. Now that Jane and Jerry have identified their problem and performed research, it is time for them to create a hypothesis that answers their problem. Remember, the problem they are trying to answer is: “Does Kobe-cyol raise the blood pressure of their patients?” back

Creating the Hypothesis Now that Jane and Jerry have identified their problem and performed research, it is time for them to create a hypothesis that answers their problem. Remember, the problem they are trying to answer is: “Does Kobe-cyol raise the blood pressure of patients?” The hypothesis is a possible solution to this problem and should be worded as an “If…then” statement. Click on the box below that would be a possible solution to this problem. Which will be our hypothesis? If a person uses Kobe-cyol, then they may have higher than normal blood pressure. If a person is overweight, then they may have higher than normal blood pressure. If a person has high blood pressure, then they must use Kobe-cyol. This may be true but Jane and Jerry are not testing a person’s weight. There is no reason to believe this. There are numerous reasons why a person could have high blood pressure. Correct. Press the NEXT button when ready. back

Designing the Experiment Jane and Jerry are ready to design and perform their experiment to test their hypothesis. But how do you design an experiment in the first place? Keep in mind our problem question: “Does Kobe-cyol affect a person’s blood pressure?” Their experiment will need to test the blood pressure of volunteers. Jane and Jerry have found 50 patients who are willing to volunteer for this experiment. Valid experiments usually create two groups of test subjects. One group is called the CONTROL group. Participants of this group are not given the desired treatment (Kobe-cyol). Therefore, the control group is used as a comparison group. The second group is called the EXPERIMENTAL group. Participants of this group are given the desired treatment (Kobe-cyol). The experimental subjects will be compared to the control group to see if the treatment worked or not. back

Designing the Experiment Jane and Jerry decide to separate the 50 people randomly into two groups of 25 patients each. Group A: To start, the 25 patients had their blood pressures recorded. Then, the 25 patients of this group were not given Kobe-cyol. The 25 patients were instructed to eat and exercise according to specific instructions. After one month, the 25 patients would return to have their blood pressures checked again. Group B: To start, the 25 patients had their blood pressures recorded. Then, the 25 patients of this group were given typical doses of Kobe-cyol. The 25 patients were instructed to eat and exercise according to the same instructions as group A. After one month, the 25 patients would return to have their blood pressures checked again. Control group Experimental group Is Group A the control group or the experimental group? Not quite. Remember that the experimental group is given the treatment. In this case, group A is not given Kobe-cyol. Correct. Because no treatment was given to Group A, that makes them the control group. back

Designing the Experiment Jane and Jerry decide to separate the 50 people randomly into two groups of 25 patients each. Control group Experimental group Is group B considered the control group or the experimental group? Correct. Since group B received the treatment (Kobe-cyol) they are the experimental group. Not quite. The control group is the one that does not receive treatment. Group B does receive treatment. Group A: To start, the 25 patients had their blood pressures recorded. Then, the 25 patients of this group were not given Kobe-cyol. The 25 patients were instructed to eat and exercise according to specific instructions. After one month, the 25 patients would return to have their blood pressures checked again. Group B: To start, the 25 patients had their blood pressures recorded. Then, the 25 patients of this group were given typical doses of Kobe-cyol. The 25 patients were instructed to eat and exercise according to the same instructions as group A. After one month, the 25 patients would return to have their blood pressures checked again. back

Identifying Variables What is different between Group A and Group B? (What is the independent variable of this experiment?) Number of people Diet habits Medication taken Exercise habits The independent variable is the factor that differs between the control group and experimental group. A good experiment should only have 1 difference between the two groups. If there were accidentally more than 1 independent variable and the patients blood pressure changed, we would not know which factor was responsible. No. Each group had 25 people. No. Each group followed the same habits. Correct. Group A: To start, the 25 patients had their blood pressures recorded. Then, the 25 patients of this group were not given Kobe-cyol. The 25 patients were instructed to eat and exercise according to specific instructions. After one month, the 25 patients would return to have their blood pressures checked again. Group B: To start, the 25 patients had their blood pressures recorded. Then, the 25 patients of this group were given typical doses of Kobe-cyol. The 25 patients were instructed to eat and exercise according to the same instructions as group A. After one month, the 25 patients would return to have their blood pressures checked again. back

Identifying Variables Body weight Blood pressure Kobe-cyol taken Heart rates The data measured will be the dependent variable. What is the dependent variable? No. Body weights are never mentioned or collected. No. This is the independent variable because it is what differs between group A and group B. No. Heart rates are never mentioned or collected. Correct. It is called the dependent variable because the patient’s blood pressure may depend on the use of Kobe-cyol. Group A: To start, the 25 patients had their blood pressures recorded. Then, the 25 patients of this group were not given Kobe-cyol. The 25 patients were instructed to eat and exercise according to specific instructions. After one month, the 25 patients would return to have their blood pressures checked again. Group B: To start, the 25 patients had their blood pressures recorded. Then, the 25 patients of this group were given typical doses of Kobe-cyol. The 25 patients were instructed to eat and exercise according to the same instructions as group A. After one month, the 25 patients would return to have their blood pressures checked again. back

Variable Practice: Farmer Bob Before proceeding, let’s stop for a moment and get some practice identifying variables and parts of an experiment. Farmer Bob has always used Grow-Rite Fertilizer on his crops, but wants to try Ever-Grow Fertilizer. He sections off two large areas of his field. In section A, he waters his crops as usual and adds Grow- Rite. In section B, he waters his crops as usual but adds Ever-Grow fertilizer. After 1 growing season, he records the growth of the crops. What is the independent variable of Farmer Bob’s experiment? The type of fertilizer used Group A cropsGroup B crops The height of the crops Correct. Hmmm. Remember the independent variable is what differs between the two groups. Try again. back

The height of the crops Correct. Variable Practice: Farmer Bob Before proceeding, let’s stop for a moment and get some practice identifying variables and parts of an experiment. Farmer Bob has always used Grow-Rite Fertilizer on his crops, but wants to try Ever-Grow Fertilizer. He sections off two large areas of his field. In section A, he waters his crops as usual and adds Grow- Rite. In section B, he waters his crops as usual but adds Ever-Grow fertilizer. After 1 growing season, he records the growth of the crops. What is the dependent variable of Farmer Bob’s experiment? The type of fertilizer used Group A cropsGroup B crops Hmmm. Remember the dependent variable is the data collected. Try again. back

The United States military wants to see if soldiers with only 4 hours of sleep can operate at the same level as those who normally get 7 hours of sleep. One hundred soldiers are allowed to only sleep for 4 hours a night and another hundred are allowed to sleep for 7 hours a night. During the day, the soldiers are tested for marksmanship on the firing range. What is the independent variable of the military experiment? Variable Practice: USA Military The ammunition used Amount of sleep given Score on the firing range The number of soldiers Correct. Hmmm. Remember the independent variable is what differs between the two groups. Try again.... back

Variable Practice: USA Military The United States military wants to see if soldiers with only 4 hours of sleep can operate at the same level as those who normally get 7 hours of sleep. One hundred solders are allowed to only sleep for 4 hours a night and another hundred are allowed to sleep for 7 hours a night. During the day, the soldiers are tested for marksmanship on the firing range. What is the control group of the military experiment? Soldiers with 7 hours sleep Soldiers with 4 hours sleep Score on the firing range The number of soldiers Correct. Hmmm. Remember the control group are those who are not given the experimental treatment. Try again. back

Variable Practice: USA Military The United States military wants to see if soldiers with only 4 hours of sleep can operate at the same level as those who normally get 7 hours of sleep. One hundred solders are allowed to only sleep for 4 hours a night and another hundred are allowed to sleep for 7 hours a night. During the day, the soldiers are tested for marksmanship on the firing range. What is the dependent variable of the military experiment? The ammunition used Amount of sleep given Score on the firing range The number of soldiers Correct. Hmmm. Remember the dependent variable is the data collected. Try again. Hmmm. This was the independent variable. Try again. Hmmm. Remember the dependent variable is the data collected. Try again. back

Back to Our Experiment At the start of the experiment, remember that everyone had their blood pressures measured. On average, both the control group and the experimental group had a systolic blood pressure of 120. This is a fairly healthy blood pressure. Click the “? Buttons” below to continue. Let’s look at the blood pressures at the start of this experiment. Where’s the data Jerry? I have it right here Jane. Control groupExperimental group Start120 mm Hg End ?? Did you click both boxes? If so, click here next. back

SunMonTuesWedThursFriSat 1 Take initial blood pressures 2345 6789101112 13141516171819 20212223242526 27282930 Take final blood pressures Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5 Day 6Day 7Day 8Day 9Day 10Day 11Day 12 Day 13Day 14Day 15Day 16Day 17Day 18Day 19 Day 20Day 21Day 22Day 23Day 24Day 25Day 26 Day 27Day 28Day 29 back

1 Month Later After one month all 50 people returned to have their blood pressure examined. Click the “?” boxes below to reveal the results. Those who were not using Kobe-cyol maintained their healthy blood pressure of 120. However, those who used Kobe-cyol now had an average blood pressure of 145. Time to make our graph. I’m so anxious. I hope our hypothesis was valid. Finally our experiment is finished. It’s been 30 days. Let’s see the data. Control groupExperimental group Start120 mm Hg End120 mm Hg145 mm Hg ?? back

Affects of Kobe-Cyol on blood pressure Graphing the Data A title needs to be clear to a reader. Avoid titles such as “Biology graph” and “Our data” because these titles don’t tell us what the graph really shows. Click on the good title. Now we need to label the X and Y axis. Graphs makes our data easier to understand. Pictures are worth a thousand words after all. Others will read our results once we share our findings. We better be clear about the data. Let’s start with the title. Affects of Kobe-cyol on blood pressure The results of a month long test No. This is too vague. back

Length of time (days) B l o o d p r e s s u r e v a l u e s ( m m H g ) Affects of Kobe-Cyol on blood pressure Graphing the Data Again. Be specific. Which label is specific on the Y axis? Now for the X axis. Which is specific? Amount Blood pressure values (mm Hg) Amount of what? This is too vague. Length of time (days) Time Be specific. back

Blood pressure values (mm Hg) Affects of Kobe-Cyol on blood pressure Graphing the Data Now we gotta number the X axis for 30 days. Keep in mind our data. Control group: Start: 120 End: 120 Experiment group: Start: 120 End: 145 We must use equal intervals to number the Y axis. 180 170 160 150 140 130 120 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 back Length of time (days) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30

Affects of Kobe-Cyol on blood pressure Graphing the Data Since we have two groups to graph, we need two different line patterns. Solid line will represent the control group. Dotted line will represent the experimental group. So now we need to add a key so the readers of our graph know this. 180 170 160 150 140 130 120 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 KEY Solid = control group dots = experi- mental group back Blood pressure values (mm Hg) Length of time (days) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30

Affects of Kobe-Cyol on blood pressure Graphing the Data Now we are ready to fill in the graph itself. Let’s graph the people who used Kobe-cyol first. People who used Kobe-cyol (Experiment group): Start: 120 End: 145 Now connect the two dots. 180 170 160 150 140 130 120 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 back Blood pressure values (mm Hg) KEY Solid = control group dots = experi- mental group Length of time (days) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30

Graphing the Data Now let’s graph the people who did not use Kobe- cyol (Control group): Start: 120 End: 120 Now connect the dots. back Affects of Kobe-Cyol on blood pressure 180 170 160 150 140 130 120 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Blood pressure values (mm Hg) KEY Solid = control group dots = experi- mental group Length of time (days) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30

What is the data telling us? To determine what could have caused the jump in blood pressure, we need to examine what was different between the two groups of people? Number of people Exercise habits Diet habits Length of testing time Type of medication taken samedifferent samedifferent samedifferent samedifferent samedifferent correct back Affects of Kobe-Cyol on blood pressure 180 170 160 150 140 130 120 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Blood pressure values (mm Hg) KEY Solid = control group dots = experi- mental group Length of time (days) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30

What is the data telling us? Number of people Exercise habits Diet habits Length of testing time Type of medication taken If the only change between the two groups was the type of medication taken, then that must be the reason for the increased blood pressure. I hope you see the importance of only 1 independent variable. same different back Affects of Kobe-Cyol on blood pressure 180 170 160 150 140 130 120 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Blood pressure values (mm Hg) KEY Solid = control group dots = experi- mental group Length of time (days) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30

What about the Hypothesis? Now that our graph is finished, what does it tell us about our hypothesis? If you forgot, the hypothesis was: If a person uses Kobe-cyol, then they may have higher than normal blood pressure. The hypothesis was proven correct. The hypothesis appears valid. The hypothesis is proven wrong. The hypothesis appears wrong. One experiment proves nothing. More tests are required to state this. Correct. Are you sure? The data agrees with the prediction. back Affects of Kobe-Cyol on blood pressure 180 170 160 150 140 130 120 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Blood pressure values (mm Hg) KEY Solid = control group dots = experi- mental group Length of time (days) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30

Stating a Conclusion A conclusion should be a clear and understandable summary of the main idea learned from the experiment. Be straight to the point. What would a good summary be? Wow! I know it is only 1 experiment, but we need to report our findings so others can check our work. I think we should take the 25 patients off Kobe-cyol immediately and continue to monitor their health. Kobe-cyol was the independent variable of this experiment. Kobe-cyol makes people sick and unhealthy. Our experiment was valid and well deigned. Kobe-cyol appears to raise the blood pressure of normal individuals. This may be true, but it is not the main idea learned. This may be true, but it is too vague. Correct back

Reporting your results In order for others to confirm our findings, our results need to be shared with others. There are many journals that collect research performed by scientists around the world. Even newspapers and magazines will often pick up on a study of great importance. This is how information is spread around the world about various scientific findings. Experiments are valid when the rules of the scientific method have been followed. This method reduces errors, eliminates bias, and advances our understanding of the world in which we live. Let’s Review: #1) What is a tentative solution to a problem called? hypothesis independent variable dependent variable control group Correct. Try again. This is the data collected. Try again. This is the factor differing in an experiment. Try again. This is the comparison group. back

Review #2 Which variable differs between the control group and the experimental group? Dependent variableIndependent variable This is the data that is collected because of the change. Correct back

Review #3 Which hypothesis best fits the problem question below? Problem question: Why do some people develop diabetes? A diet that is high in sugar can lead to diabetes. Diabetes is caused by a high sugary diet. If a person has a diet that is high in sugar, then that may lead to diabetes. That may answer the question, but it is not worded in proper format. Correct. back

Review #4 Pretend our control group had 35 people exercise according to a different plan than the 25 people of the experimental group who still took Kobe-cyol for 1 month. How many variables would be in this experiment? ONETHREETWO Correct. 1)Different number of people 2)Different exercise program 3)Use of Kobe-cyol Recount. How many times do the control group and experimental group differ according to the question? back

Review #5 Pretend our control group had 35 people exercise according to a different plan than the 25 people of the experimental group who still took Kobe-cyol for 1 month. Why is this a poorly designed experiment? There are too many different variables between the control and experimental groups. There are no independent variables to this experiment. The dependent variable is not different from the control group. Correct. Valid experiments only differ once. This statement is confusing actually. How many differences should exist between the control and experimental groups? That’s not true. There are actually multiple variables. back

The end! You will be expected to use the scientific method throughout the course of the school year. I hope this tutorial simplified how it can help solve problems. Be sure your name is on your paper before submitting your work. back