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Scientific Method

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Daniel Garvey

on 25 September 2012

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Transcript of Scientific Method

What is science to you? Scientific Method Take a minute in your own words to come
up with a definition of "science" Step one is to observe your environment Observations Quantitative Qualitative Any observation that can be measured or counted
for example:
I have two eyes
I am 6'1'' tall
I weight 150lbs
I have 9 toes Any other observation. describes the non-measurable PHYSICAL characteristics
For example:
The floor was slippery
the bald guy's head was shiny
the poop smelled
the fire was crackling Hearing Smelling Touching Tasting Seeing Science is a process we use to understand our world
It is not specific, it is exploration at its finest.
We do have a set of guidelines that allow us to be EFFICIENT at the process however. The scientific method and lab reports... When we create a hypothesis it must be testable. For example "I think if I make the earth bigger, then I will get heavier because gravity will increase" is NOT a testable hypothesis Create a testable hypothesis Hypothesis format:
"If I change my independent variable, then the dependent variable will increase/decrease/remain the same" Independent Variable - What I change in the beginning of the experiment The dependent variable is what is measured at the end of the experiment. It will change depending on what the scientist (you) change. Take a moment to write down a hypothesis about anything!
Fruit flies
Birds and windows.... ANYTHING Design your experiment Control (placebo) Constants Fair experiment Number of variables... Basically once all the variables are identified and constants in place... run your experiment!

BUT you must record your data..... Execute and record data Mr. Curiosa and his dog food experiment Questions for Experiment # 1:
1. Using some of the steps of the scientific method, describe Mr. Curiosa’s first experiment:

a) Observation (what observations did Mr. Curiosa make that lead to his experiment):
b) Question (What was Mr. Curiosa’s main question?):
c) Hypothesis (What was Mr. Curiosa’s hypothesis?):
d) Procedure/methods (What did Mr. Curiosa do? What data did he collect?):
e) Results (What were Mr. Curiosa’s findings?)
f) Conclusions (What did Mr. Curiosa conclude from his experiment?)
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Questions for Experiment # 2:
1. Which one of the steps in the scientific method did Mr. Curiosa improve on in his second experiment?
2. What did Mr. Curiosa do differently?
3. Why was this change important?
4. Why were Mr. Curiosa’s results inconclusive?
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Questions for Experiment # 3:
1. What improvements did Mr. Curiosa make this time?
2. Why were these changes important?
3. Explain whether or not Mr. Curiosa’s conclusions were valid this time:

4. In what ways could he have improved this experiment even further?
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Experiments will always have ONE INDEPENDENT VARIABLE changed by the scientist
This leads to measuring ONE DEPENDENT VARIABLE. Constants are other aspects of the experiment we DONT want to change,
we want them held constant

For example if I want to test how sunlight effects plant growth I will keep things like:
type of plant
soil quality
age of plant
watering routine

All the same for each experiment group.
I will only change the amount of sunlight each plant gets. THATS IT! Control groups are groups that are treated exactly like the experimental group (group you are testing your changed variable in).

The only difference is that they are given the "normal" or "known" conditions.

They are needed so that you have a group to COMPARE your experimental results to.
A harmless pill, medicine, or procedure prescribed more for the psychological benefit to the patient than for any physiological effect.

A substance that has no therapeutic effect, used as a control in testing new drugs. For example - testing the effect of a pain killer.
Group 1 - given the new pain killer
Group 2 - given a sugar pill (not drug) but told its a pain killer
both groups are observed for effects of pills Having a fair experiment leads to data that is not skewed (biased). Having unbiased results allows you to draw FURTHER from the results.

Basically, if you stuff isn't bogus its good for continuing your research and coming up with sound conclusions! Charts
Must be labeled
Must be clear
Must include the independent and dependent variable Example: Lab reports are essential. They allow scientists to...
Organize their own data and thoughts
Keep clear instructions in case they need to repeat
Allow other scientists to check their work
document their work!! MAKE YOUR CONCLUSIONS
AND WRITE IT UP! Labs will be written in a specific manner.
Cover page
Lab title
your name

Lab writeup
Procedure (clear!!!)
Data (charts)
Graphs (basically data shown visually)
Conclusion and further questions Graphs
A necessary visual of your data!

Graphs used to
compare data
shown relationships
identify trends
Show percentages visually So Lets do some research! time to design your own lab!!! Here are some random objects

Play with them and make some observations Now come up with a hypothesis you are going to test
What is your independent variable?
what is your dependent variable?
What will you hold constant?
how will your control group be different from your experimental group?
Ok GO! Experiment # 1:
On his birthday Mr. Curiosa’s wife gave him a puppy. He named it Bluebell. He noticed that Bluebell did not like to eat store-bought puppy chow. So, he set out to make a better dog food. Mr. Curiosa did some reading on dogs and their dietary requirements and he made a special vitamin mixture. He began adding the vitamins to his dog’s pet food.

After a year, Mr. Curiosa was very pleased with the way Bluebell had grown, and he showed pictures of the dog to his friends.

“That’s nothing”, one friend said, “What did the dog look like before you started giving it your special food?”

So Mr. Curiosa brought pictures of the dog when it was a tiny puppy. By comparing pictures, you could see that the puppy had indeed grown.

“That’s still nothing”, the friend replied. “All puppies grow; it probably had nothing to do with your new vitamin mixture.”
Mr. Curiosa realized that his friend was right. His experiment had not proven that his new vitamin formula worked. Experiment #2
Like a dedicated scientist, Mr. Curiosa did not give up. He persevered with his efforts to demonstrate that he had made a better, healthier dog food. He wanted to prove that his special formula worked.
Sometime later, his son brought home a Black Labrador puppy named Coal. So, Mr. Curiosa went to his local dog shelter and brought home an adorable, puppy that looked like a dachshund. He named this puppy Dirt. Thus began his second experiment.

Mr. Curiosa added his special vitamin mixture to some commercial dog food and labeled it ‘A’. Then he took the same commercial dog food but this time he did not add any of his vitamins. He labeled this dog food ‘B’. Coal received food A and Dirt received food B.

For an entire year Mr. Curiosa made sure that each dog got their own food. He brought the dogs to his company picnic and proudly showed them off. Coal, the black Labrador, had grown twice as big as Dirt who was part Dachshund.
“You think you made some fancy dog food, huh?” one friend said. “You can not prove that your special dog food is better. Labradors always grow bigger than Dachshunds! His larger size had nothing to do with your fancy dog food.”

Mr. Curiosa realized that his friend was right. He had made a mistake in his second experiment. Experiment # 3:
So, Mr. Curiosa went back to work. He vowed he would design an experiment so that no one would question the results. He wanted everyone to believe and trust his conclusions.
This time around, he invested some of his savings and bought twin, male beagle puppies. They were from the same litter. One he called Wrinkles and the other he called Freckles. For a whole year, Wrinkles ate only food A (+ special vitamins) and Freckles ate only food B (- special vitamins). They drank the same water and got the same amount of exercise every day. Their daily lives were very much the same. Mr. Curiosa weighed the dogs every week and recorded their weights.
This year’s picnic was a great success. Mr. Curiosa brought his dogs and a scale. His friends were very impressed. Wrinkles was larger and his fur was beautiful and shiny. Freckles was cute, too. However, it was obvious that he had not grown as well as Wrinkles. Mr. Curiosa weighed both dogs and sure enough Wrinkles weighed two kilograms more than Freckles. Even Mr. Curiosa’s boss was impressed. This time, all of his co-workers believed that his special vitamin formula really worked.

Within six months, Mr. Curiosa had a contract with a commercial pet food company to market his special vitamin formula worldwide. He had fancy business cards that said, “Mr. George Curiosa, Experimental Canine Dietician”. He was a very satisfied scientist (and wealthy, too!).

To this day, both Wrinkles and Freckles are doing fine. Once the experiment was over, Freckles got the special dog food as well!
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