BIOL6B - Lab 1: S c i e n t i f i c M e t h o d Biology 6A/...

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Page 1 of 10 Lab 1: Scientific Method Biology 6A/ Bruce Heyer & Brian McCauley September 24 & 25, 2007 The purpose of this exercise is to introduce the process of scientific inquiry and the skills needed to perform scientific investigations. You’ll work on collecting, displaying, and interpreting data. This handout contains some activities that you should do (like collecting data and making graphs) and some questions you should answer. Work in a group of four students and turn in one completed handout for the group. Write all four students’ names on top of the handout. Be sure you fill in all the tables and answer all the questions that appear in boxes. The Process of Scientific Inquiry Many people mistakenly view science as an accumulation of indisputable facts. Actually, science is a process used to answer questions, solve problems, and better understand events in nature. Scientific research constantly challenges our understanding of the physical realm and thereby refines our understanding of why things happen. Collecting information is part of doing science, but the more important part is using the information to test hypotheses. In this activity you’ll practice gathering data, displaying data in tables and graphs, and using data to test hypotheses. All scientists rely on observational skills to gather information. To make an observation is to notice something. An observation can be information directly perceived through the senses (touch, smell, taste, hearing, or sight) or information detected with instruments which extend our senses (microscope, telescope, light meter, pH meter, chemical test, etc). Good observations are complete and detailed. Observations are most reliable when they can be quantified or measured. For example the observation “the water is 4 o C” is better than the observation “the water is cold”. These quantitative observations are called data . In part I, you’ll start by gathering some data. I. Gather data and make a table Scientists present data in tables and graphs. Organizing and summarizing measurements in this fashion allows the investigators to easily analyze data and to communicate their findings to others. A table is simply an organized list of data. A table should contain the following information: Title describing the subject of the table. Column and row labels that show what information is provided in the table. Units of measure identified within the column and row labels. Data . The actual observations from your experiment. Procedure Measure the maximum hand span (from thumb-tip to pinkie-tip) in millimeters (mm) for the dominant hand from ten classmates. Record these observations in Table 1. Calculate the average hand span for your data set.
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This note was uploaded on 09/02/2011 for the course BIOL 6B taught by Professor Heyer during the Spring '10 term at DeAnza College.

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BIOL6B - Lab 1: S c i e n t i f i c M e t h o d Biology 6A/...

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