Scientific Method

Science is a process that is done by people who are trying to understand more about the world in which we all live. Science includes thinking about, observing, describing, explaining and experimenting with the world around us. The scientific method is a way that scientists do their work, and is the method that you should follow as you do your project.

  1. Identify a Question. Look at things that happen around your home, at school or outside and ask a question as to why you think that these things happen. Ask a question about your observation. It may start “What would happen if…” or “How would this change affect….” See what you can find out about your question at the library or the internet.
  2. Hypothesis. This is your guess about what result you expect to see when you do your experiment. It should take a form similar to “If I do this, then I expect this will happen.” or “If this changes, I expect to find this result.” Give a reason for your guess.
  3. Create an Experiment. Now, think of a way that you could turn your question into an experiment. You want to do a controlled experiment where you only change one variable. A variable is the element of the experiment that changes to test the hypothesis. Examples of variables are: temperature, depth, pH, moisture, amount of light, length of time. Also, your procedure should be like a recipe - another person should be able to perform your experiment following your procedure.
  4. Data collection and analysis. Do your experiment. Be sure to repeat the steps for better data and keep everything else that is not the changing variable the same.
  5. Conclusions. Do the results of your experiment show that your hypothesis is true or not? Remember when unexpected things happen and your hypothesis does not appear to be correct, you have still learned something very important and it is still a valid experiment. Real world scientists often find this in their experiments as well. Also, explain what you might have done differently to make your experiment better.