Scientific concepts, theories, and inquiry

| January 23, 2016


Scientific inquiry is a process used to investigate the physical world. The experimental scientific method provides an organized

approach for answering testable questions and confirming hypotheses.

Appropriate experimental questions investigate a causal link between the independent and dependent variables. For example, How does the

amount of fertilizer affect the growth in height (cm) of plants?

In this task you will use the experimental scientific method to investigate a relevant, testable problem and communicate your findings

in an organized written report.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You may not use living vertebrate animals as subjects in your experiment. Vertebrate animals are animals with a

backbone. Fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals are all vertebrate animals. Examples of Vertebrate animals include frogs,

lizards, snakes, dogs, cats, and humans. Your experiment for Task 3 may not involve experimenting on living vertebrate animals. If you

are not sure whether your experiment topic is acceptable, please contact a course mentor BEFORE you conduct your experiment.

Experiments that use living vertebrate animals will not be accepted for Task 3.
Design and carry out a scientific experiment that investigates a topic from either the life, earth or physical sciences and uses

appropriate methods, tools, technologies, and quantitative measurement units. For a list of possible science experiment topic ideas

refer to the “Topic List” attachment.

Complete a written report (suggested length of 4–8 pages) in which you do the following:

Note: All parts under “A” can be completed before your experiment is conducted, and all parts under “B,” “C,” and “D,” can be completed

after your experiment has been conducted and your data has been collected. You will turn in all parts A–E together in one file when all

work is complete and ready to submit.

A. Explain the significance of the given factors in your project design plan:

• Problem statement

• Relevance of your testable question

A1. Literature Review: In a literature review, summarize information from at least two sources. These sources should relate to your

topic and experiment design, hypothesis formation, or data analysis (published works or works by other students) and/or provide the

foundation for this experiment.

A2. In an experimental design, do the following:

A2a. Experimental Design Steps: Describe the steps in the experimental procedure.

Note: The level of detail should be such that someone else would be able to reasonably replicate your experiment from your description.

A2b. Reasoning: Discuss your reasoning for choosing this particular experimental design plan.

A2c. Sequence of Events: Explain the sequence of events you will use to collect quantitative data.

A2d. Tools, Technologies & Measurement Units: Describe the tools, technologies, and measurement units that will be used to collect

quantitative data.

A3. Variables: Explain and identify the dependent, independent, and controlled variables for your study.

A4. Threat Reduction to Internal Validity: Explain what you will do to reduce the threats to internal validity.

A5. Hypothesis: In the hypothesis section, explain how you came up with your hypothesis.

• Include a clear statement of your hypothesis in your explanation.

B. Process of Data Collection: Explain the process of data collection (completed after the investigation is conducted)

• Use appropriate photographs, tables, or diagrams to clearly show the data collection process.

B1. Appropriate Methods: Discuss your use of appropriate methods, tools, and technologies to collect quantitative data.

• Use appropriate measurement units to collect quantitative data.

C. Results: Explain the results of your experiment (completed after the investigation is conducted), including graphical

representations (e.g., bar graph, line graph, pie chart, etc.) of the data collected.

• Include appropriate measurement units in the graphical representations.

D. Conclusion: Provide a conclusion derived from your interpretation of the data. Include the following in your conclusion:

D1. Confirmation of Hypothesis: Discuss whether your results confirm or refute your hypothesis.

D2. Experimental Design as Key Factor: Explain why experimental design is a key factor in the success of the scientific inquiry.

D3. Replication: Explain how your investigation can be replicated by someone else.

D3a. Evaluation of Validity: Discuss how the replication of an experiment is an evaluation of validity.

E. When you use sources, include all in-text citations and references in APA format.

Science Experiment Topic Ideas List

Below are some topic ideas for the science experiment task. You do not have to choose one of the below topics (you can if you would

like); these topic ideas (below) are here to help with ideas for this task.

Remember when planning your science experiment, formulating your specific testable question, and laying out variables (as in section A3

of the task), you must have quantitative data (data in numbers) as opposed to qualitative/descriptive/subjective data. For this task,

your dependent variable (what you measure) must be quantitative (numeric) in nature.

NOTE: If you choose to do a life science experiment involving an organism (living thing), the experiment must not involve any

vertebrate organism; (Vertebrates are animals with a backbone- this includes: mammals-such as humans, dogs, cats, horses, mice;

vertebrates also include: birds; fish; reptiles; amphibians).

Science Experiment Topic Ideas:

• Seed germination
• Plant growth
• Activity of ants
• Food preference of insects
• Habitat preference of invertebrates
• Habitat use of invertebrates—ie pollinators in the garden
• Movement of earthworms– ie preference light vs dark
• Movement of insects, ie distance or time – ie beetles, dragonflies, moths, etc
• Flower color preference for butterflies
• Growth rates of insects- such as mealworms
• Microorganisms in water samples
• Microorganisms in varying yogurt brands
• Effectiveness of antimicrobial disinfectants
• Bread mold
• Decomposition rates
• Acid rain and plant growth
• Oil and plant growth

• Reaction rates
• Product testing- such as testing different brands of batteries
• Paper airplane design
• Bounce height of different balls
• Increasing gas mileage
• Catapulting objects
• Parachutes
• Magnet strength
• Insulators
• Sound
• Heat conduction
• Conducting electricity
• Friction
• Paper towel absorbency
• Air pressure in tires
• Evaporation rates
• Solvents
• Microwave popcorn
• Freezing liquids
• Density
• Drying time of paint
• Heating types of water
• Wind speed in different environments
• Melting ice
• Erosion
• pH studies


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