Unit 1: Scientific Method and Measurement

  • Scientific Method

    Introduction and Scientific Method

    The scientific method is simply a thought process that people use to work through a problem and learn something new. This process is broken down into a few steps:


    1. State the problem


    2. Form a hypothesis


    3. Design experiment


    4. Collect Data


    5. Make a conclusion- The conclusion is a summary of the results of the experimentation and a statement of how the results relate to the hypothesis. Reasons for experimental results that are contrary to the hypothesis are included. If applicable, the conclusion can end by giving ideas for further testing.

    If your results do not support your hypothesis:

    • Don't change your hypothesis.
    • Don't leave out experimental results that do not support your hypothesis.
    • Do give possible reasons for the difference between your hypothesis and the experimental results.
    • Do give ways that you can experiment further to find a solution.

    If your results support your hypothesis:

    You might say, for example, "As stated in my hypothesis, I believe that light is not necessary during the germination of bean seeds. My experimentation supports the idea that bean seeds will germinate without light. After seven days, the seeds tested were seen growing in full light and in no light. It is possible that some light reached the 'no light' containers that were placed in a dark closet. If I were to improve on this experiment, I would place the 'no light' containers in a light-proof box and/or wrap them in light-proof material, such as aluminum foil."

    Designing an experiment:


    When designing an experiment, you need to make sure you follow a few rules, otherwise your conclusions won’t be valid, and no one will believe you! Before we get to the rules, let’s review some vocabulary:


    Variable: Something that can change

    Experimental group: Test subjects that recieve the new treatment


    Control group: Test subjects that remain the same, to be used for comparison


    Rule #1: You can only manipulate one variable


    Rule #2: You need to have a control group


    Rule #3: You need to perform the experiment more than once and obtain the same results