Materials © Cmassengale
can we determine if something is a fact or an opinion? How can we
determine an answer to a problem? The answer is use the scientific method.
is the Scientific Method? It is a series of steps used to help solve a problem.
- Step 1. Make
an Observation. After making an observation of the natural world,
define the problem and make sure only one problem is being studied.
ALL scientific experimentation starts with observation.
- Step 2. Research the problem
(question). Use all
available resources to collect data on the subject being covered.
Libraries, Internet, books, magazines, personal interviews, etc.
- Step 3. Develop a hypothesis (educated guess).
Make it a short definitive statement. It may be an "if"
then" statement. The “if” part will become the hypothesis and
the then part should be the results received at the end of the
controlled experiment. Remember your hypothesis can be changed if the
results do not support it.
- Step 4. Develop a controlled experiment.
A controlled experiment is an experiment that contains only one
experimental variable. An experimental or independent variable is the thing
being tested (what the scientist changes). Everything else in the experiment or all other
variables must be the same. These variables are also called the controlled
variables. Keeping these variables the same allows the
experimenter to show that it was the experimental variable that caused
The dependent variable is what changes
when the independent variable changes - the dependent variable
depends on the outcome of the independent variable. Data
should be organized into charts, tables, or graphs.
- Step 5. Analyze the data and come up with a
conclusion. Data may be quantitative (numbers) or
qualitative (appearance, properties, etc.). The conclusion may or may not support the hypothesis.
Additional experimentation must then take place to build documentation
concerning the problem. If the hypothesis is proven wrong, change the
hypothesis, not the data. Scientists must be unbiased.
research must be published, but first it must be reviewed by
peers (other scientists) and verified for accuracy.
Research may result in a scientific theory or law.
is wrong with the toaster? (Read toaster Manual.)
It is unplugged. (2) The unit is burned out.
Check the plug. (2) Take the toaster apart and look at the heating
it was unplugged the first hypothesis is supported, if the wires
inside are broken, then the second hypothesis is supported.