It is the TOOL scientists use to find the answer to their questions.
It is a step-by-step process.
Step 1: Choose a Problem
What are you trying to find out?
Does eating breakfast affect school performance?
Does mold need light to grow?
This is your BIG QUESTION!!!
It has to be something you can test!
Step 2: Research
In order to set up your experiment properly, you must know something about the topic you will be experimenting with .
Otherwise you might not know that mold grows best in moist conditions.
Good places to start are: the library, encyclopedias, and the Internet.
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!!!
Step 3:Make a hypothesis. After you have researched your topic, you can form a hypothesis about it.
The hypothesis is what you think will happen.
It is your idea about the solution to the problem you have chosen.
For example, “I think that bread mold can grow where there is no light.”
Step 4: Procedure
Before you conduct your experiment to test your hypothesis, you must plan out how you will do your experiment .
Plan the experiment, step by step .
First I will take two pieces of bread from the same loaf.
Second, I will place each of them in a ziploc bag.
Then I will put 5 drops of water on each.
Next, I will place one bag in a dark cabinet and the other on the window sill.
I will look at the bread, each day at 3:30 and observe any changes.
I will draw how the bread looks at each observation on my observation chart.
After the 14 th day, I will make a conclusion based on my findings
There are three other things that you must know about when setting up your experiment:
Control A control is a part of the experiment that is used to compare your results to . For example: The control could be a piece of bread that is just left in a ziploc bag in the room (not in a window or dark cabinet, no drops of water added).
The variable in an experiment is the part of the experiment that is being manipulated; that changes.
For example: In our experiment, the amount of light the bread was exposed to was the variable.
Your experiment will only have one variable. If you have too many variables, you will not know which one caused your experiment’s results.
A controlled variable is very important to your experiment.
It is the part of the experiment that is not affected by the variable being tested . It must be constant (or remain the same) or you cannot tell if your experiment worked .
For example: I used the same type of bread, and the same amount of water was added to each.
Step 5: Results
After conducting your experiment, analyze your results . This is sometimes called “Analysis”.
For example: I noticed that the bread in the dark conditions had more mold throughout the experiment. The one in the window had some mold, but not as much.
This analysis of your data will help you come to your… Conclusion (Step 6) Your conclusion is what you have decided based on your experiment . Your conclusion states whether or not your hypothesis was right .
For example: “ Because the bread in the dark cabinet grew a lot of mold, my hypothesis that mold does not need light to grow is correct.” Remember: Just because your hypothesis was incorrect, does not mean that you have made a mistake . It actually means that you conducted an objective, scientific investigation. Congratulations! You just learned something new and probably taught someone else something new.
Identify a problem: Your big question – What are you trying to find out?
Research your topic.
Formulate a hypothesis: What do you think will happen?