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Unformatted text preview: CONCEPT DISPLAY 1 Scientific Method Science is not merely a collection of facts, but rather a dynamic process, a way of knowing aboutour world. The first step in this way of knowing is making an observation , which is followed by questions , formation of a hypothesis that suggests a possible explanation of the observations or answers the questions, and an experiment to test the hypothesis. Experiments are usually designed with at least two different treatments, an experimental treatment and a control treatment. For the experimental treatment or group, the scientist alters one aspect of the conditions, called the experimental variable . The control group is the unaltered treatment that is used as a comparison for the experimental treatment. By comparing the results from the experimental and control treatments, the researcher can discern the impact of the experimental variable. The final step is to draw a conclusion about the validity of the hypothesis using these results. These steps in the scientific method limit the realm of science to natural phenomena that can be observed and tested. I. Practicing the Scientific Method The scientific method can be used to examine any aspect of natural phenomena. In order to better understand these principles and ideas, we are going to go through the steps from observation to conclusion, focusing the experiment we will design and conduct at the end of the semester. We are going to use a microcosm set up to examine the science of water pollution. A microcosm is a closed container that has water, some photosynthetic organisms, some herbivores and access to light. It is a micro version of a real aquatic ecosystem. This allows us to use it as an experimental model for aquatic ecosystems 1. Observations: What are observations that you have heard about, read about, or observed yourself regarding water pollution? (Some ideas to get you started: What would you look for to tell if water was polluted? Color? Smell? Chemistry? What are different types of water pollution you know of? Do you know how they would impact aquatic plants, animals? ) 1 2. Question: Pick one of your observations above, what are some questions that come to your mind concerning these observations? ( example: If you have noticed that clean water is clear, and polluted water cloudy or colored, then you might be curious what causes the color change). 3. Hypothesis: Pick one of the questions you asked above and propose an explanation. (Using our example, you could say that the color change is due to a lot of small algae growing in the water) 4. Experiment: In conjunction with your instructor, select a testable hypothesis for your experiment. How could you design an experiment that tests this hypothesis using the materials provided? Which would be your control group? Which would be your experiment tal group?...
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- Fall '08