The Scientific Method involves a series of steps that are used toinvestigate a natural occurrence. i p! g T As you study science youll probably come arnin across many different ways of describing the Le steps of the Scientific Method. Simple versions describe just a few steps while other versions are very detailed and can list as many more steps. However, they all use the same basic process.
Lets take a closerlook at these stepsand the vocabulary you will need to understand beforeyou start a science project.
Question Research Steps of Hypothesisthe Basic Experiment Process Analyze Conclusion Communicate
Steps of the Scientific Method1. Question: Identify a problem. Question Ask a question about the problem that can be solved through experimentation.
Steps of the Scientific Method 1. QuestionEXAMPLEYouve noticed a problem – your favorite Spider plants arelooking droopy. The leaves are wilted and turning yellow.Youre curious about why this has happened. You want tosolve this mystery so you can help your plants be healthy.You might ask a question like: “What is causing my plantsto wilt?”
Steps of the Scientific Method 2. Research: Spend some time Research making observations. Study yoursubject and take notes. Researchyour topic using books, searchingonline, and by talking with people. Collect information to help youfigure out the most likely solution.
Steps of the Scientific Method 2. ResearchEXAMPLEYou study your plants and make several observationsabout them. You notice they are all equally wilted. You seethat the oldest leaves have yellowed the most. You checkthe soil and find that its very dry.You browse through a plant care book. You also search theinternet, looking for articles about “wilted yellow leaves”.You talk to owner of a greenhouse about the condition ofyour plants. Now youve collected a good amount ofinformation about the possible causes of wilted leaves.
Steps of the Scientific Method 3. Hypothesis: Review your Hypothesisresearch and use your critical thinking skills to predict a possible answer to your question. Write it as an “If /then” statement. A hypothesis must be testable.
Steps of the Scientific Method 3. HypothesisEXAMPLEYouve learned from your research that water is very importantto plant health and you remember from your observations thatthe soil around your plant was very dry. You also realize thatyouve not been watering the plant regularly.You form a hypothesis about what might be causing the plantto wilt and write it as a testable prediction – “If my plantreceives the appropriate amount of water then it will stopwilting.” This is a testable hypothesis – you can give the plantswater and watch what happens.
Steps of the Scientific Method 4. Experiment: Develop an Experimentexperiment to test your hypothesis. Make a list of materials and the actions youll perform – thesedetails are called the procedure, its the plan youll follow. To create agood experiment you must design itso that the results are measurable.
Steps of the Scientific Method 4. ExperimentEXAMPLETo test your hypothesis you decide to give your three plants adifferent amount of water and count how many leaves are wiltedeach day for two weeks. You give Plant A two cups of water aday, Plant B one cup of water a day, and Plant C no water at all.The amount of water they receive will be the only differencebetween the plants. You keep all the other conditions the same– sunlight, temperature, fertilizer, etc.You water and observe the plants each day, write detailed notesand take pictures for your records. Its important to collectaccurate data during your experiment.
Steps of the Scientific Method5. Analyze: Look back through all Analyze of the data youve collected during the experiment. If you need to you can modify the procedure and retest. You may want to confirm the results by repeating the experiment.
Steps of the Scientific Method 5. AnalyzeEXAMPLEYou review all the data youve collected – a record of eachtime you watered the plants, a daily journal describing howthey looked, a count of how many leaves on each plant arewilted each day, and photographs of the plants.You examine all of this information to see if the water hasmade a difference in the health of the plant.At this point you could repeat the experiment with another setof plants and see if you get the same results, this is a way tosee if the experiment is valid.
Steps of the Scientific Method 6. Conclusion: Write a Conclusionstatement about whether the results of your experiment reject or support yourhypothesis. Suggest ways tostudy the problem further or improve the experiment.
Steps of the Scientific Method 6. ConclusionEXAMPLEYouve determined that Plant B, which received one cup ofwater per day, has improved the most. Its leaves are no longerwilted and the yellowing has stopped. Plant A, which receivedtwo cups, improved some. Although its leaves are no longerwilted they are still turning yellow. Plant C, which received nowater, continued to wilt, turned brown, and the leaves fell off.You determine that the results support your hypothesis – theplants that received water have no wilting. You write all ofthese conclusions down. You also include ideas about furtherexperiments that could be done, such as testing to see if toomuch water could be the cause of yellow leaves on Plant A.
Steps of the Scientific Method 7. Communicate: Prepare a Communicate presentation to share with otherpeople. You can use documents,photos, videos, charts, and model displays. Expect to answer questions from the audience.
Steps of the Scientific Method 7. CommunicateEXAMPLEYou decide to share your experiences with your science classso you prepare a report to pass out. It includes the details ofyour experiment – the list of materials, the procedures, and theconditions you kept the same. This information will allow otherpeople to repeat your experiment if they want.You also create a display board to highlight some of yourobservations. It has pictures of the plants on day 1, 7, and 14and a chart showing the number of wilted leaves you countedeach day. This is a way of communicating what youve learnedthrough the scientific process.
Think you can name all seven steps?Collect and Analyze Results Formulate a Hypothesis Communicate the Observation/Research Problem/Question Conclusion Experiment