Experimental Design

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created for 5th grade science classroom

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  • 1. Experimental Design
  • 2. What Makes a Good Experiment? There are several components of good experimental design.  Problem Statement  Hypothesis  Experiment  Data Collection  Conclusion
  • 3. Example Experiment The experiment we will be looking at today is called “Drink, Drive, and Die”.  It was a science fair project by a student at Ashdown Junior High School in Ashdown, Arkansas.
  • 4. Problem Statement The problem statement is the question that is being answered by the experiment.  In “Drink, Drive, and Die”, the problem statement is “Will drinking a small amount of alcohol decrease your reaction time and impair your ability to drive?”
  • 5. Hypothesis A hypothesis is an educated guess.  Ex: “I believe, it will take at least one 12 oz beer, to affect your reaction time and impair your ability to drive.”  His hypothesis is an “educated guess” because of the research he had done on amounts of alcohol.
  • 6. Experiment After you form your hypothesis, you test it. You must plan your experiment first. You need to decide on the number of replications, the control, and the variable.
  • 7. Replication Replication is the repeating the experiment to check for consistency and accuracy.  If possible, you should always repeat your experiment at least once to be sure the results are consistent and accurate.
  • 8. Sample Size Sample size is the number of repetitions you do.  Usually the bigger the sample size, the more accurate your experiment is.  Ex: If you wanted to find the mean (or average) height of your classmates and you measured the three shortest people, you would not get a very accurate result. If you measured all of your classmates, from the shortest to the tallest, your result would be more accurate.
  • 9. Control Your control in your experiment is anything you use to provide a basis for comparing results or checking their accuracy; stays the same.  Ex: In “Drink, Drive, and Die”, the control was the “normal” reaction time. He compared the other reaction times to this control.
  • 10. Variables A variable is a measurable aspect of an experiment that has different values under different conditions.  In “Drink, Drive, and Die”, the variables were the different amounts of beer.
  • 11. Data Collection In order to collect good data, you must be a good observer. You need to pay attention to the things surrounding your experiment. After you collect your data, you must display it.  Ex: In “Drink, Drive, and Die”, he displayed his data in a line graph.
  • 12. Conclusion In order to form your conclusion, you must analyze your data. This means to look at it carefully and decide whether or not your data supports your hypothesis.  Ex: In “Drink, Drive, and Die”, his hypothesis was supported by his data.