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Steps of the Scientific Process. Introduction to the Scientific Process . A logical, problem solving technique Not just scientific problems. Introduction to the Scientific Process. Use conclusions to develop a new hypothesis. Step 1: Identify a Problem. Observe the world around you.

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introduction to the scientific process
Introduction to the Scientific Process
  • A logical, problem solving technique
  • Not just scientific problems
introduction to the scientific process1
Introduction to the Scientific Process

Use conclusions to develop a new hypothesis

step 1 identify a problem
Step 1: Identify a Problem
  • Observe the world around you
    • Using observations, identify a problem you would like to solve
      • Example: Why do termites follow the ink line?
  • This is a question you DO NOT know the answer to and can’t look up.
  • “Why” and “What would happen if..” are good beginnings of scientific questions.


  • Uses our 5 senses to gather information
  • Qualitative:
    • The termites follow a circle made with a blue pen on white paper
  • Quantitative: uses numbers
    • 3 termites follow a circular blue pen line that is 5 cm in diameter

We use observations when identifying a problem and asking a question? Will termites follow any color line on white paper? What will you measure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

step 2 gather background information what is known
Step 2: Gather Background Information- What is known?
  • Use references to do background research
    • Books
    • Journals
    • Magazines
    • Internet
    • TV
    • Videos
    • Interview Experts
  • Example: Termites
    • Live underground
    • Do not see in color
    • See only black and shades of gray and white

step 3 formulate a hypothesis
Step 3: Formulate a Hypothesis


Example: Termites


If the termites follow a circular path made with a dark blue colored pen on a white background then they will follow a circular path made with a dark red colored pen on a white background .

  • Possible answer to a question that can be tested
  • Based on observations and knowledge
  • “If” “Then” “Because” statement

Do we use observation or inference to formulate a hypothesis?

Inference-A logical interpretation of events based on prior knowledge or opinion.

Termites follow the blue line because the like it???

Termites will follow any circular pattern on a light paper made with any dark colored pen because they see in black and white.

step 4 develop an experiment
Step 4: Develop an Experiment



Step by step instructions

Can be repeated by anyone

How to display what you measure

Identifies the variables used in the experiment

  • A list of all the things you need
  • At least 5 termites
  • At least 3 replicates

How would you describe how to make a Peanut Butter

and Jelly Sandwich to someone who had never done it?

To someone who didn’t know what peanut butter or jelly is?

variables in the experiment independent variable
Variables in the Experiment: Independent Variable
  • The variable I (the scientist) change or manipulate
  • Example:
    • The color of pen used (red in the place of blue)

Other Experiments:

    • The brand of pen used
    • The color of paper under the termites
    • The shape of the path
variables in the experiment dependent variable
Variables in the Experiment: Dependent Variable
  • Is measured in the experiment
  • Changes because of the independent variable (pen color)
  • “Depends” on the independent variable
  • Examples:
    • How many termites follow the dark red line after following the dark blue line? (whole number)
    • How long do the termites follow the lines? (time)
    • Over what distance do they follow the line? (distance)
variables constant
Variables: Constant


If you test color of paper, keep the color of pen constant

If you test the smell of pen, keep the color and type of pen constant (only change smell)

The exact termites used

The time of day and how long the termites are there

The shape of the line drawn

  • All the factors in the experiments that are kept the same
  • Everything except the independent variable
  • Keeps the experiment ‘fair’
variable the control
Variable: The Control
  • The normal condition that you compare the other conditions to
  • Recreate the conditions you first observed
  • Example:
    • Termites in a Petri dish on white filter paper follow a blue line (.5mm) with a bic pen in a circular shape of 5cm in diameter.
step 5 record and organize data
Step 5: Record and Organize Data
  • Write all observations and measurements
  • Use a table to organize your data
    • List your independent variable on the left side
    • Record your dependent variables on the right side
      • If you have more than one dependent variable, use a new column for each dependent variable

Which one of these independent variables is the control?

Which part of the independent variable is the constant?

step 6 analyze data
Step 6: Analyze Data
  • “A picture is worth a thousand words”
  • Compare and look for trends and patterns using graphs
bar graph categorical data
Bar Graph-Categorical Data


Red pen

Blue pen for

Number of Termites following entire circular path

line graph
Line Graph

Number of termites on the ink line for 40 seconds

Number of Termites

Line graphs are used

for time interval data

pie chart
Pie Chart

A Pie Chart

adds up to a whole

– 100% or

all of something

step 7 make conclusions
Step 7: Make Conclusions
  • You must repeat the experiment to make the data valid
  • You should run your experiment at least 3 times to confirm your results
    • You can run all the experiments at one time, or run one after the other
  • Each separate experiment is called a Repetition (or Rep).
  • At least 5 organisms per replicate in order to do statistics and make conclusions

How many times?