Experimentation and Modeling


Observation- using your senses and __________ to determine the characteristics of materials and processes.

Inference- ideas justified with reasonable thinking and evidence (an educated __________)

But if you aren't careful, it can lead to wrong assumptions, superstition and misinformation.

For example, when people eat ice cream, there are more cases of polio!

And then there is the case of the six blind men and the elephant...

How can we be more sure of ourselves?


Scientific Method

A systematic, precise _____________ study of a problem.

The steps of the scientific method include:

1. Observation - The investigator notes a phenomenon that poses a ____________.

2. Hypothesis formulation - The investigator poses hypotheses that could potentially explain the ____________. The more competing hypotheses one can come up with, the better. This helps eliminate the bias you might have if you think you already know the answer!

3. Prediction - The investigator makes a statement about what s/he believes will happen when the hypothesis is put to the test.

4. Experimental design - The investigator designs an experiment which will yield data to either support or _________ one or more of the competing hypotheses.

5. Data collection - The experiments are run, and data are collected.

6. Data analysis - The data are subjected to rigorous analysis to determine whether any deviation from the prediction is truly meaningful, or merely due to _________.

7. Conclusion - The investigator determines whether the outcome of the experiment refutes or supports the ____________.

Any questions? Blob Fish

Design an experiment to investigate the answer to one of the following questions. Label your steps #1-5. You can't do #6 & 7 yet!

  • Are deer color blind?
  • Which month is more deadly for animals, March or November?
  • Which is faster, a cheetah or a peregrin falcon?

Homework: Science As Inquiry: Hot Seeds

Outdoor Science Inquiry Lab
Quadrats and Questions Lab