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Bio 9

Unit 1 Scientific Method: Worksheet


You will now have an opportunity to conduct your own (small) research project. The
purpose of this assignment is to think about the process of conducting research. Im
more interested in how you set up your experiment than in the results you get. So, think
about how youre organizing your groups, how youre controlling non-experimental
factors, etc.
The discussion for this unit will ask you to report on your findings, so be sure to
complete this worksheet early enough to have time to discuss it. The specific
discussion questions are listed at the end of this worksheet to help you.
Since you cant discuss your results without having completed this worksheet,
the discussion for this unit will not open until you have turned this worksheet in.

Individual Scientific Research


You will now conduct a small research project.
1. Ask a question. You may conduct any small scientific study but be sure you can
identify the control, dependent and experimental variables. You may use these
questions, or come up with your own. For example:
Do different brands of paper towels absorb different amounts of water?
Or you can compare other types of products.
Do people remember a list of pictures better than a list of words?
Or you can run other memory tests (does time of day affect memory, does the
complexity of words affect memory, etc.)
Please indicate what question you are answering.
2. Write your hypothesis.

3. Test your hypothesis. Be sure to include:


Test and control groups. Be sure to include replicates of each group (5 10
replicates of each should be fine for our purposes). If your experiment only has
test groups, identify the various test groups.

Control, Experimental, and Dependent variables.


Please explain your experimental setup very clearly here. You will be graded on
how well youve set up the experiment.
Be sure to specifically tell me what the control, experimental, and dependent
variables are.

4. Present all your data in a table.


You may use the table provided or make your own.

5. Make a graph summarizing your data.


If your word processing (or other) program makes graph, you may use that.
Alternatively, there are a number of graphing programs available online.
Once youve made the graph, you have a number of options for exporting it
the easiest may simply be to copy image and paste the graph directly into
this document.
These two programs are good ones (either one should work):
http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/default.aspx
http://www.onlinecharttool.com/graph.php

6. Draw a conclusion based on your study.

7. Ask another question.

8. Did you have any difficulties running the test? Where there any other problems with
your experiment? How might you solve these problems next time?
Keep in mind that it is impossible to set up a PERFECT experiment. There are
always more things that could be controlled for or unforeseen factors that affect
the results. Discuss how you could build on your experiment to make it better
(assume you have unlimited resources and time for this you wont have to act
on any of these recommendations!)

Grading Rubric
You will be graded based on the following rubric:
1. Hypothesis
(3 pts)
a. Is the hypothesis clearly stated?
b. Does the hypothesis make a clear prediction about how the dependent
variable is affected by the experimental (independent) variable?
2. Procedure
(5 pts)
a. Does the procedure test the stated hypothesis?
b. Does the procedure have at least 5 replicates?
c. Are the control and test groups clearly outlined?
3. Terminology
(4 pts)
a. Is the procedure reproducible and understandable by another person?
b. Are the experimental, dependent and control variables clearly outlined?
4. Data
(3 pts)
a. Do the data collected reflect the dependent variable?
b. Are the data presented in an easy to understand format?
5. Graph
(3 pts)
a. Does the graph accurately and clearly summarize the data
6. Conclusion
(3 pts)
a. Is the conclusion valid and logical based on the study?
b. Does the conclusion address the hypothesis?
c. Is the next question that is asked a logical next step?
7. Improvements (4 pts)
a. Does the discussion of experimental design (the last question) demonstrate a
solid understanding of the scientific process

Discussion for this unit


This information is to help you prepare for the discussion. You do NOT need to answer
these questions here you will be answering them in the discussion forum.
How do you know if an experiment is valid?
A valid experiment minimizes bias and error. It is essential that a proper experiment
has good controls and only one experimental variable at a time. Understanding what is
and isn't a reasonable conclusion of a valid experiment is an excellent way to measure
the reliability of information. In this unit we will focus on understanding what good
scientific information is. In future units, we will evaluate the reliability of information from
a variety of sources
Post the following on the discussion board:
1. Introduce yourself.
A. What is your major?
B. What is your favorite organism? (An organism is a living thing like a dog
or a pine tree).
C. What is one thing you would like to learn from this class?
D. What is one concern you have about this class?
2. Tell us about your research experiment (the worksheet for this unit).
A. How did you set up your experiment?
B. What were your results and what conclusions can you draw from these
results? (Just a brief summary of your results, you do not need to include
all of your data).
C. Do you have any concerns with how you set up your experiment or how
you collected results?
3. After you have posted your answers to the above questions, reply to 2 other
student posts.
A. Comment on their experimental setup and results.
B. What is one way to improve this experiment? (Remember, there is no
PERFECT experiment - every experiment can be made better. Assume
unlimited resources and time).
C. Propose one way that this experiment can be built upon to ask a new
question in the future. How can we build upon the results of this
experiment? What is a good "next question"?