3 once the students have developed their hypotheses

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3. Once the students have developed their hypotheses, discuss the data needed to support or reject them. Discuss the ways in which plants can be measured, and what kind of data they will need to record in their field notebooks. Then, explain the process of field collecting and the necessary equipment. 4. Working in pairs, students will make small plant presses, prepare aluminum foil pieces for fungus, and obtain envelopes (for mosses, seeds and small plants). Use the worksheet herbarium samples to explain how we use GPS to pinpoint the collection site. Ask students to compare the different herbarium labels on the worksheet. Explain that they can use handheld GPS units or smartphones to obtain GPS locations. (Many phones come already equipped with this feature, and there are free apps like “Where am I.”) 5. Once students have prepared for the field trip, address any final questions.
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Science Research Mentoring Program STATISTICS © 2013 American Museum of Natural History. All Rights Reserved. 4 Session One: Designing A Case Study: WORKSHEET Experiments and Case Studies I N T R O D U C T I O N Scientists study different things but they share a goal: to better understand the natural world. Scientists also share scientific methods , which typically include the following key features: Observation Developing a hypothesis Testing the hypothesis A hypothesis (hi-POTH-us-sis) is a tentative explanation that will guide or direct their investigations: an “educated guess.” Scientists test hypotheses in a variety of ways, producing results that colleagues can repeat and verify. Biologists use two main scientific approaches to understand nature: experimental studies and case studies . An experimental study (or experiment ) is a procedure performed in a controlled environment for the purpose of gathering observations, data or facts. In a controlled experiment, a researcher alters one factor and observes a response. All other factors (variables) must be kept constant (controlled) throughout the experiment. The factor being manipulated, which is what the scientist is actually testing, is the experimental variable. What will happen if the experimental variable does have an effect? This is known as the dependent variable . It will respond to changes in the experimental variable. Experiments are typically performed in laboratories. Can you think of an example of an experiment? Scientists conduct case studies in situations where they cannot manipulate the variables: in nature, for example. Case studies involve direct observation, numerical data, and descriptive information such as taxonomy. Can you think of an example of a case study? Both experiments and case studies generate data. This data is meaningless until scientists use statistics to interpret it. Statistics is the mathematical science of collecting, analyzing and learning from large quantities of numerical data. The hallmark of science is that a case study or experiment is repeatable and verifiable. This laboratory skills course focuses on case studies.
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Science Research Mentoring Program STATISTICS © 2013 American Museum of Natural History. All Rights Reserved.
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