Posts Tagged ‘observation’

You have probably heard of the scientific method in your science class. You have probably used it when doing science experiments in school that required a lab report to go with it. It is VERY IMPORTANT in science, your teacher may have told you. All scientists use it. It is true, all scientists use it, pretty much all the time.

Xbox Logo

“Well, I am NOT gonna be a scientist,” you may have thought. Why should you care about the scientific method? Hmm… let me see if I can convince you of the BEAUTY of the scientific method. Let’s see if you can use the scientific method to get yourself a Xbox for your birthday! Wouldn’t that be cool?!

To see the USEFULNESS of it, let’s go through processes that make the the scientific method. So, what’s first?

1. Define a question or a problem you would like to solve.

What does that entail? What might be the question you ask yourself about getting you that Xbox.

Step 1. Question: How do I get an Xbox for my birthday?

DUH! Right? So far, so good. What is the next step?

2. Do some research.

Or, as I like to say, why re-invent the wheel?

Step 2. Research: Does your friend have a Xbox? How did he or she get one? Or, you could ask your parent or guardian, “What would it take for you to get me a Xbox?”

OK, what comes next?

3. Make a hypothesis (or a prediction).

A hypothesis is an EDUCATED GUESS about how you would expect things to turn out based on stuff you know already (the research you have done). Here is the interesting bit about a hypothesis; it DOES NOT have to be correct. That is why it is only a guess, although an educated one.

Let’s say after doing some research, you find out that your parents would love you to improve your grades and help out with some chores around the house. What sort of hypothesis would you come up with in your quest for getting yourself a Xbox?

Step 3. Hypothesis: If you get better grades and help out around the house, like doing the dishes, making sure to clean up your room when your mom asks, you will get a Xbox for your birthday.

Is it enough say that you will work on getting better grades and help out around the house? Nope. You gotta

4. Design and execute an experiment.

Step 4. Experiment: You have to do the things you think will get you that Xbox you have been wanting. You have to get good grades and you have to do your chores.

Your birthday finally comes around and you have done all the things you hypothesized that you need to do in order to can a Xbox. You wake up all excited and you run over to your parents to get your present and eagerly open your present. This brings us to step number 5.

5. Analyze and conclude.

Did you get a Xbox? Remember how I said that your hypothesis does not have to be correct? Your conclusion will either confirm your hypothesis or refute it.

Step 5. Analyze and conclude: If you did all the things you thought would get you a Xbox and you did, GREAT! Your hypothesis was correct! If you did not get a Xbox, you might think about what went wrong. Did you not get good grades in your class? Did you make your mom ask you several times to clean your room before you actually did it?

ALL DONE, right? Wrong! If you did not get a Xbox, you might want to revise your hypothesis and carry out another experiment based on your new hypothesis. I would! I really like PLAYING video games! But, we are still not done. We have one final step to perform.

6. Share your results.

This last part is important. I guess you don’t really have to, but if scientists did not do this last part, we would not have all the cool things like the Xbox. If you are successful, then by sharing your results, you help others become successful. If you are not, sharing your results would prevent others from repeating the same experiment. They might try something different and it might work! And, then, they share their results and someone else is able to get a Xbox! The last part is VERY important.

Step 6. Share: You could tell your friends how you used the scientific method to get yourself a Xbox, or you could tell them, cleaning their rooms won’t help them get a Xbox.

Can you think of other examples where you might use the scientific method? Hopefully, you can see that you use the scientific method (perhaps not exactly in the way I described it) and many aspects of your daily life without even realizing it.

Do you know what that makes you? A SCIENTIST!

Although the scientific method is a series of specific steps, it is also very flexible. The video below gives you another simple example of the scientific method and its flexibility.

Here is another video I found that I thought was cool and will help you remember the steps of the scientific method.

If you have a story about how you used the scientific method to solve a problem or answer a question, please post it in the comments section. I and others reading this blog would love to hear about it.

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