An experiment is described as a learning activity wherein a
student investigates a problem by manipulating a variable. The
condition or factor which affects the results of an experiment is
termed a variable. The condition being tested or changed is the
manipulative variable and the condition that is kept the same is
the constant variable.
Conducting an experiment entails the employment of skills in a
number of investigative processes. The basic ones are :
a)observing, b) classifying, c) measuring, and d) inferring. The
integrated skills are: a) predicting, b) controlling variables, c)
formulating hypothesis, d) analysing and interpreting data and
e)formulating conclusion. The development of the above skills is
one of the twin goals of science teaching, the other being the
development of the skill in the use of scientific method.
Basically the scientific method includes the
1. Identification of a problem
2. Collecting data
3. Formulating hypothesis
4. Testing the likely hypothesis
5. Analysis and interpretation
6. Formulating conclusions
In experimenting, the students determine the variable
they need to manipulate. This would entail establishing
two groups that possess similar characteristics. One group
will be given the special treatment while the other will
serve as the control group. Then the results will be
analysed to find out any difference brought about by the
variable being tested.
Experimenting is employed for the following reasons:
1. To develop skill in the basic science processes.
2. To cultivate an acquiring mind among the young.
3. Higher-order thinking skills especially critical thinking,
creativity and inventiveness are best acquired by
experience and constant use.
4. “Learning-by-doing” forms part of the student’s
attitudes, habits and ways of reacting.
5. A methodical procedure, as a way of solving
puzzling/problem situations, is internalized and
6. Hearsays, superstitions and unfounded beliefs are
replaced by more objective assessment and evaluation.
Suspending judgement and carefully weighing evidences
are acquired through constant use of experimenting.
7. The students are made aware of the ways of the
scientists, their persistence, anxieties , and relentless toil,
thus instilling the value of being appreciative and grateful
for their achievements.
8. Because they have to complete the experiment by
themselves from problem, procedure, to conclusion, they
become responsible for their own learning activity
For an experiment to be successful, the following
1. The problem must be well defined and clearly
understood before performing the experiment.
2. Choose one variable to be tested at a time. Never vary
two or more conditions in an experiment, otherwise
confusion like “what results from which” will ensue.
3. Every students should be actively involved in
manipulating tools, materials and equipment. It is by
direct experience through constant practice that they
improve on their inquiry skills.
4. An observant teacher could easily spot incorrect steps
and procedure. Early guidance could avoid mistakes that
might douse off their enthusiasm to continue.
5. Improvisations of some needed tools and substitutions
for some materials may be encouraged in order to
promote resourcefulness and creativity.
6. Orderly distribution and retrieval of laboratory
equipment will lessen wastage of time and effort.
7. As they formulate conclusions be sure that they have
sufficient evidences to avoid bias and sweeping
Experimenting can be employed in the following lessons
• Relationship between two variables, i.e. between
distances and time, force and mass, action and
• Effect of environmental factors on the growth of plants.
• Identifying composition of unknown substances.
• Factors that favour the growth and development of
some favourite animals.
• Effect of weather elements on the earth’s topography.