Scientists and experimenters alike, have a precise way in which they conduct experiments. Usually known as The Scientific Method, or Experimental Design, this step-by-step procedure will help discover new facts and maybe even answer some of your most intriguing questions.
Make an Observation: The first step is thinking of an idea. You can accomplish this by making observations.
Our observations will tell us about the past and the present.
Research Your Topic: You should try to learn as much as you can about the topic you have chosen. Explore different sources such as books and the Internet. Make sure you take good notes.
Form a Hypothesis: This is where you will make a prediction. Scientists use their knowledge to develop a general principle or explanation to help predict future events. The general principle is called a hypothesis. In essence, scientists are making an educated guess. The hypothesis should be stated in the form of a question. What will happen if...
Plan your experiment: You will create a plan to test your hypothesis under certain conditions. The conditions, which are subject to change, are called variables. To gauge the effect of the changing conditions we need to conduct a controlled experiment.
The experimental group is the group subjected to the variable we want to test and the control group is not exposed to that variable.
Perform the Experiment: You should design the experiment based on your prediction. For example, if I vary the amount of fertilizer I give a seedling, how will that affect its growth?
Analyze the Results of the Experiment: Your experiment will produce certain results. Take good notes as you are conducting your experiment. Include graphs, charts, and pictures you draw.
Draw a conclusion: From the analysis of your experiment you can determine if the results support the hypothesis or not.
Ask Additional Questions and Continue Experimenting:
Additional questions will always arise in an experiment. Simply switching the control and experimental groups might produce different results.
Report Your Results: Scientists publish their findings in scientific journals and books. Communicating results is an essential part of the experimental design. This is where your lab notebook will really come in handy.
Club SciKidz Labs has a great collection of subscription boxes where we feature some of the coolest experiments in all the areas of science.
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