Scientific Method - Seneca Valley School District

Scientific Method Brainstorm Steps in the Scientific Method

Identify Problem Ask Questions Form Hypothesis Experiment Analyze Data Conclusion

Retest or Revise Observations Gathered through your senses A scientist examines their natural world.

Observations An example of an observation might be noticing that many

salamanders near a pond have curved, not straight, tails. Identify the Problem Clearly state the issue

Why do some salamanders have curved tails? Ask Questions

Observe, collect, gather knowledge (What do you know about salamanders?)

Form a Hypothesis Prediction that can be tested. If then statement

Hypothesis A suggested

solution to the problem. Must be testable Sometimes written as If Then statements Predicts an outcome

Hypothesis An example of a hypothesis: If salamanders have curved tails, then a pollutant must be in the moist soil where they

live. Experiment A procedure to test the hypothesis .

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

Variable factor in the experiment that is being tested How would you set-up a valid salamander experiment?

Controls and Variables Analyze the Data Record, chart, graph, compare Conclusion

Logical answer to the hypothesis based on the data. Retest or Revise In order to verify the

results, experiments must be retested. Scientific Experiments Follow Rules An

experimenter changes one factor and observes or measures what happens. The Control Variable 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. What is the Purpose of a Control?

Controls are NOT being tested Controls are used for COMPARISON Solving a Problem 1)Identify a Problem 2) State Observations about the problem

3) Form a Hypothesis about the problem (ifthen) 4) Design an Experiment to test the hypothesis 5) Collect Data 6) Form a Conclusion 7) Retest Other Variables

The factor that is changed is known as the independent variable. The factor that is measured or observed is called the dependent variable.

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. What are the Variables in Your Experiment?

Varying the route is the independent variable The time it takes is the dependent variable Keeping the same walker throughout makes the walker a control variable. One more thing it is

best to make several trials with each independent variable. Review

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