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Scientific Method

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Steps in the Scientific Method Observation Observation Ask a Question Ask a Question Hypothesis Hypothesis Experiment (Test Hypothesis) Experiment (Test Hypothesis) Draw Conclusions Draw Conclusions Communicate Results Communicate Results

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Observations Gathered through your senses Gathered through your senses A scientist notices something in their natural world A scientist notices something in their natural world

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Observations An example of an observation might be noticing that many salamanders near a pond have curved, not straight, tails An example of an observation might be noticing that many salamanders near a pond have curved, not straight, tails

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Ask a Question An example question might be: “Why do many salamanders near a pond have curved, not straight, tails?”

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Hypothesis A suggested solution to the question. A suggested solution to the question. Must be testable Must be testable Sometimes written as If…Then… statements Sometimes written as If…Then… statements Predicts an outcome Predicts an outcome

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Hypothesis An example of a hypothesis might be that the salamanders have curved tails due to a pollutant in the moist soil where they live. - THIS IS WHAT YOU TEST An example of a hypothesis might be that the salamanders have curved tails due to a pollutant in the moist soil where they live. - THIS IS WHAT YOU TEST

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Experiment A procedure to test the hypothesis. A procedure to test the hypothesis.

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Experiment Variable – factor in the experiment that is being tested

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Experiment A good or “valid” experiment will only have ONE variable!

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

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

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

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Other Variables The factor that is changed is known as the independent variable. It affects the Dependent Variable.

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Other Variables The factor that is measured or observed is called the dependent variable. This is the affected variable

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Example of Controls & Variables For example, suppose you want to figure out the fastest route to walk home from school. You will try several different routes and time how long it takes you to get home by each one. Since you are only interested in finding a route that is fastest for you, you will do the walking yourself.

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What are the Variables in Your Experiment? Varying the route is the independent variable Varying the route is the independent variable The time it takes is the dependent variable The time it takes is the dependent variable Keeping the same walker throughout makes the walker a control variable. Keeping the same walker throughout makes the walker a control variable.

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

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

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Data Results of the experiment May be quantitative (numbers) or qualitative

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Data Must be organized Can be organized into charts, tables, or graphs

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Conclusion The answer to the hypothesis based on the data obtained from the experiment

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Retest In order to verify the results, experiments must be retested.

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Solving a Problem 1)Make observations 2) Ask a questions about the observations 3) Form a Hypothesis about the question (if…then…) 4) Design an Experiment to test the hypothesis 5) Form a Conclusion 6) Communicate Results and Retest

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