Scientific experiment

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Competency 114.1.1: Scientific Concepts and Methodologies – The graduate recognizes and analyzes various natural phenomena and applies natural science methods and approaches to these natural phenomena.


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.

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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.

Note: If you wish to conduct an experiment using a living organism, it must be a plant or an invertebrate. No tasks using vertebrate organisms will be accepted.

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 AE 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 outside science experiment projects (published works or works by other students) that relate to your topic of inquiry or literature that provides an introduction to the theory and concepts that provide the foundation for this experiment.

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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.

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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.

Note: When bulleted points are present in the task prompt, the level of detail or support called for in the rubric refers to those bulleted points.

Note: For definitions of terms commonly used in the rubric, see the Rubric Terms web link included in the Evaluation Procedures section.

Note: When using sources to support ideas and elements in a paper or project, the submission MUST include APA formatted in-text citations with a corresponding reference list for any direct quotes or paraphrasing. It is not necessary to list sources that were consulted if they have not been quoted or paraphrased in the text of the paper or project.

Note: No more than a combined total of 30% of a submission can be directly quoted or closely paraphrased from sources, even if cited correctly. For tips on using APA style, please refer to the APA Handout web link included in the APA Guidelines section.

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