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The Scientific Method Movie. An experiment tests an idea in a careful orderly manner. The orderly steps used are called The Scientific Method. A scientific question that can be answered by gathering evidence. Example: Which freezes faster, fresh water of salt water?. Stating the Problem.

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The Scientific Method Movie

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The Scientific MethodMovie

An experiment tests an idea in a careful orderly manner. The orderly steps used are called The Scientific Method.

A scientific question that can be answered by gathering evidence.


Which freezes faster, fresh water of salt water?

Stating the Problem

ResearchGathering information on the problem.

Develop a Hypothesis

  • A hypothesis is a prediction about the outcome of the experiment. A properly worded hypothesis should take the form of an If …then… statement.


If I add salt to fresh water, then the water will take longer to freeze.

Next, you need to develop a plan to test your hypothesis. Your plan should describe the observations or measurements you will make.

In a well designed experiment, you need to keep all variables the same except for one.

A variable is any factor that can change in an experiment.

The factor that you change is called the manipulated variable or independent variable.

The responding variable or dependent variable is what you measure or observe to obtain your results.

A controlled variable is a factor that is kept constant. You use the control to make a comparison.

Designing an Experiment

Fill 3 containers with 300 milliliters of cold tap water.

2. Add 10 grams of salt to container 1 and stir. Add 20 grams of salt to container 2 and stir. Add no salt to container 3.

3. Place the 3 containers in a freezer.

4. Check the containers every 15 minutes. Record your observations.

The manipulated/independent variable is the amount of salt added to the water.

The responding/dependent variable is how long it takes the water to freeze.

The control is container 3, which has no salt added. This allows you to compare how long it takes regular water and salt water to freeze.

Notice that the other factors, such as the amount of water or starting temperature are kept constant. This ensures valid results and that only one variable is tested.

Example of an Experimental Procedure

Hypothesis: an educated guess or prediction; an “if, then” statement

If ……..independent variable,

then…..dependent variable.


Independent Variable:

I feed my cat a lot of food

Dependent Variable

she will get fat

If ___________________________

then _________________________


Try to use INCREASE and DECREASE in your hypothesis!

Ex.IF I increase the amount of food I give my cat, THEN she will increase her weight

Now Try it on Your Own!

‘Writing a Good Hypothesis”

Just ‘plug and chug’ in your variables!

Types of Variables

There are 2 main types of variables:

Independent Variable: The variable that is changed by the scientist; the ‘I control’ variable

Dependent Variable: The variable that might change because of what the scientist changes – what is being measured


Your hypothesis can TELL you what your variables are!

Ex. If I drink Mountain Dew before bed, then I will not sleep very much.

IV: Drinking Mountain Dew

DV: the amount of sleep


Use this hypothesis to identify the variables:

If I leave all the lights on all day,

then my electric bill will be


IV: ______________________

DV: ______________________

If I brush my cat more, then there will be less fur on my furniture

IV: ______________________

DV: ______________________

Now read the following experiment and identify the independent and dependent variables

Elizabeth wanted to test if temperature affected how fast milk goes bad and curdles. She left milk in a room temperature closet, a fridge, and a oven that was turned on low heat. She then measured how rotten the milk was after 10 days.

IV: ____________________________________

DV: ____________________________________

Operational Definition

Before beginning the experiment, you must have a clear operational definition. An operational definition is a statement that describes how a particular variable is to be measured or how a term is to be defined.

For example, how will you determine if the water is frozen? You might decide to insert a stick in each container in the beginning of the experiment . Your operational definition of frozen could be the time at which the stick can no longer move.


In an experiment, there is something that a scientist is testing – they control this…


In an experiment, because the scientist is changing this independent variable, this is going to change and the scientist will measure that change…


This is an educated guess of what is going to happen during an experiment – the scientist forms this at the beginning of the experiment….

Did You Get Them Right?

Independent Variable

Dependent Variable



Constant: something that scientist makes sure is the same throughout the experiment.

Ex. Watering the plants the same amount of water or making sure you are testing the same person every time.


Control: The part of the experiment that the scientist doesn’t change or add the variable to.

Ex. The plant with the white light.


  • Before beginning the experiment, make a list of all the materials you will need to complete it.


You perform the experiment & see what happens. You may need to take measurements, pictures etc. depending on the nature of the experiment.


What is an observation?

Using your five senses to take note of and observe your surroundings

Let’s go over examples!


An inference is when you make an assumption or prediction about something that you observe

After you make an observation, you usually make an inference about what is going on

Let’s practice making inferences!

The next three slides show some fossil imprints that were found during a archeological dig. We’re going to record some observations and then make some inferences about what may have happened millions of years ago….

What do you think happened?


  • The observations & measurements you make in an experiment are called data. You gather that data and organize it into tables, charts or graphs. Then think through what the data reveals. Does it support your hypothesis?

Types of Data

  • Quantitative Data: Involves measurements or numbers. This data is organized into graphs (bar, line, etc.)

  • Qualitative Data: Involves descriptions or words. This data is organized into tables or pictures.

Axes of a Graph:

X-axis (horizontal axis)

Horizontal means:

Y-axis (vertical axis)

Vertical means:

Label the x and y axes

Label the x and y axes


Dependent Variable

X-Axis (Independent Variable)


Now you need to select evenly spaced intervals that include all your data (a scale).

Data set 1: 15, 30, 45, 7, 64. 96

Minimum value for scale:____

Maximum Value for scale:____


Now you need to select evenly spaced intervals that include all your data (a scale).

Data set 1: 15, 30, 45, 7, 64. 96

Minimum value for scale:__7_

Maximum Value for scale:_96_



Student Number



Student Number

Remember TAILS

  • T– Title

  • A – Axis (Draw the X & Y Axis)

  • I– Intervals (Pick an interval for your data numbers)

  • L – Label each axis

  • S – Scale should take up a page or half a page (never tiny).

Drawing a Conclusion

  • A conclusion is a statement that sums up what you have learned from an experiment. You need to decide whether the data you collected supports your hypothesis or not. You should repeat an experiment several times before you can draw any conclusions from it.

Repeating the Work

  • Before the conclusion of can be accepted by the scientific community, other scientists must repeat the experiment & check the results.

  • So when a scientist writes a report, it must be detailed enough so that scientists around the world can repeat the experiment for themselves.

Find Flaws in this Experiment.

  • Gerard wants to find out if egg yolk causes silver to tarnish. He labels 2 silver spoons A & B. He puts egg yolk on both spoons. Then he places spoon A in a closed container and leaves spoon B out in the open air. He checks the spoons over the next few days.

  • Flaws: Egg yolk, which is suppose to be the variable, should not be put on both spoons. Other factors, such as the exposure to air, should be kept the same for both spoons.

Find Flaws in this Experiment.

  • Daria wants to find out if fertilizer causes plants to grow taller. She takes 2 plant shoots of the same size & type and labels them A & B. She adds fertilizer to plant A but not to plant B. Then she places plant A in a sunny window and waters it everyday. She places plant B on a bookshelf away from the sun and waters it every other day.

  • Flaws: The experiment has too many variables. Daria has varied the amount of light and water each plant receives. Except for fertilizer, all other conditions should be kept the same.

Problem Solving

  • Hypothesis: Turtle eggs develop into male turtles in cold temperatures and into female turtles in warm temperatures.

  • Predict whether this hypothesis is fact or fiction. Design a simple experiment to show if the hypothesis is or is not correct. Make sure your experiment has an experimental setup and a control setup.

Practice Drawing a Conclusion

  • Here is one way a biologist might design the experiment. A great quantity of the same type of turtle eggs are collected. Batches of 25 eggs are out in containers at different temperatures. After 60 days, the following data is recorded:

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