SCIENTIFIC CONCEPTS, THEORIES, & INQUIRY

SCIENTIFIC CONCEPTS, THEORIES, & INQUIRY

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

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.

Task:

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 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.

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.

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

DHT Task 3
value: 0.00     value: 1.00     value: 2.00     value: 3.00     value: 4.00     Score/Level
Articulation of Response (clarity, organization, mechanics)    The candidate provides unsatisfactory articulation of response.     The candidate provides weak articulation of response.     The candidate provides limited articulation of response.     The candidate provides adequate articulation of response.     The candidate provides substantial articulation of response.
A. Project Design Plan    The candidate does not provide an explanation of the significance of the given factors in the project design plan.     The candidate provides an explanation of the given factors in the project design plan with no detail.     The candidate provides an explanation of the given factors in the project design plan with limited detail.     The candidate provides an explanation of the given factors in the project design plan with adequate detail.     The candidate provides an explanation of the given factors in the project design plan with substantial detail.
A1. Literature Review    The candidate does not provide a logical summary of information from at least 2 sources that relate to the candidate’s topic and experiment design, hypothesis formation, or data analysis, and/or provide the foundation for the experiment.     The candidate provides a logical summary with no detail of information from at least 2 sources that relate to the candidate’s topic and experiment design, hypothesis formation, or data analysis, and/or provide the foundation for the experiment.     The candidate provides a logical summary with limited detail of information from at least 2 sources that relate to the candidate’s topic and experiment design, hypothesis formation, or data analysis, and/or provide the foundation for the experiment.     The candidate provides a logical summary with adequate detail of information from at least 2 sources that relate to the candidate’s topic and experiment design, hypothesis formation, or data analysis, and/or provide the foundation for the experiment.     The candidate provides a logical summary with substantial detail of information from at least 2 sources that relate to the candidate’s topic and experiment design, hypothesis formation, or data analysis, and/or provide the foundation for the experiment.
A2a. Experimental Design Steps    The candidate does not provide a reasonable description of the steps in the experimental procedure.     The candidate provides a reasonable description with no detail of the steps in the experimental procedure.     The candidate provides a reasonable description with limited detail of the steps in the experimental procedure.     The candidate provides a reasonable description with adequate detail of the steps in the experimental procedure.     The candidate provides a reasonable description with substantial detail of the steps in the experimental procedure.
A2b. Reasoning    The candidate does not provide a logical discussion of the reasoning for choosing the experimental design plan.     The candidate provides a logical discussion, with no support, of the reasoning for choosing the experimental design plan.     The candidate provides a logical discussion, with limited support, of the reasoning for choosing the experimental design plan.     The candidate provides a logical discussion, with adequate support, of the reasoning for choosing the experimental design plan.     The candidate provides a logical discussion, with substantial support, of the reasoning for choosing the experimental design plan.
A2c. Sequence of Events    The candidate does not provide a logical explanation of the sequence of events that will be used to collect quantitative data.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with no detail of the sequence of events that will be used to collect quantitative data.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with limited detail of the sequence of events that will be used to collect quantitative data.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with adequate detail of the sequence of events that will be used to collect quantitative data.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with substantial detail of the sequence of events that will be used to collect quantitative data.
A2d. Tools, Technologies, and Measurement Units    The candidate does not provide a reasonable description of the tools, technologies, and measurement units that will be used to collect quantitative data.     The candidate provides a reasonable description with no detail of the tools, technologies, and measurement units that will be used to collect quantitative data.     The candidate provides a reasonable description with limited detail of the tools, technologies, and measurement units that will be used to collect quantitative data.     The candidate provides a reasonable description with adequate detail of the tools, technologies, and measurement units that will be used to collect quantitative data.     The candidate provides a reasonable description with substantial detail of the tools, technologies, and measurement units that will be used to collect quantitative data.
A3. Variables    The candidate does not provide a logical explanation of what the dependent, independent, and controlled variables are in the investigation.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with no detail of what the dependent, independent, and controlled variables are in the investigation.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with limited detail of what the dependent, independent, and controlled variables are in the investigation.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with adequate detail of what the dependent, independent, and controlled variables are in the investigation.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with substantial detail of what the dependent, independent, and controlled variables are in the investigation.
A4. Threat Reduction to Internal Validity    The candidate does not provide a logical explanation of what to do to reduce the threats to internal validity.     The candidate provides a logical explanation, with no support, of what to do to reduce the threats to internal validity.     The candidate provides a logical explanation, with limited support, of what to do to reduce the threats to internal validity.     The candidate provides a logical explanation, with adequate support, of what to do to reduce the threats to internal validity.     The candidate provides a logical explanation, with substantial support, of what to do to reduce the threats to internal validity.
A5. Hypothesis    The candidate does not provide a logical explanation of the process of developing the hypothesis.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with no detail of the process of developing the hypothesis.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with limited detail of the process of developing the hypothesis.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with adequate detail of the process of developing the hypothesis.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with substantial detail of the process of developing the hypothesis.
B. Process of Data Collection    The candidate does not provide a logical explanation of the process of data collection, including appropriate photographs, tables, or diagrams to clearly show the data collection process.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with no detail of the process of data collection, including appropriate photographs, tables, or diagrams to clearly show the data collection process.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with limited detail of the process of data collection, including appropriate photographs, tables, or diagrams to clearly show the data collection process.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with adequate detail of the process of data collection, including appropriate photographs, tables, or diagrams to clearly show the data collection process.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with substantial detail of the process of data collection, including appropriate photographs, tables, or diagrams to clearly show the data collection process.
B1. Appropriate Methods    The candidate does not provide a logical discussion of the use of appropriate methods, tools, and technologies to collect quantitative data.     The candidate provides a logical discussion with no detail of the use of appropriate methods, tools, and technologies to collect quantitative data.     The candidate provides a logical discussion with limited detail of the use of appropriate methods, tools, and technologies to collect quantitative data.     The candidate provides a logical discussion with adequate detail of the use of appropriate methods, tools, and technologies to collect quantitative data.     The candidate provides a logical discussion with substantial detail of the use of appropriate methods, tools, and technologies to collect quantitative data.
C. Results    The candidate does not provide a logical explanation of the results of the experiment, including graphical representations of the data collected.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with no detail of the results of the experiment, including graphical representations of the data collected.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with limited detail of the results of the experiment, including graphical representations of the data collected.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with adequate detail of the results of the experiment, including graphical representations of the data collected.     The candidate provides a logical explanation with substantial detail of the results of the experiment, including graphical representations of the data collected.
D. Conclusion    The candidate does not provide a logical conclusion derived from the interpretation of the data.     The candidate provides a logical conclusion with no support derived from the interpretation of the data.     The candidate provides a logical conclusion with limited support derived from the interpretation of the data.     The candidate provides a logical conclusion with adequate support derived from the interpretation of the data.     The candidate provides a logical conclusion with substantial support derived from the interpretation of the data.
D1. Confirmation of Hypothesis    The candidate does not provide a logical discussion of whether the results confirm or refute the hypothesis.     The candidate provides a logical discussion, with no support, of whether the results confirm or refute the hypothesis.     The candidate provides a logical discussion, with limited support, of whether the results confirm or refute the hypothesis.     The candidate provides a logical discussion, with adequate support, of whether the results confirm or refute the hypothesis.     The candidate provides a logical discussion, with substantial support, of whether the results confirm or refute the hypothesis.
D2. Experimental Design as Key Factor    The candidate does not provide a logical explanation of why experimental design is a key factor in the success of the scientific inquiry.     The candidate provides a logical explanation, with no support, of why experimental design is a key factor in the success of the scientific inquiry.     The candidate provides a logical explanation, with limited support, of why experimental design is a key factor in the success of the scientific inquiry.     The candidate provides a logical explanation, with adequate support, of why experimental design is a key factor in the success of the scientific inquiry.     The candidate provides a logical explanation, with substantial support, of why experimental design is a key factor in the success of the scientific inquiry.
D3. Replication    The candidate does not provide a logical explanation of how the investigation can be replicated by someone else.     The candidate provides a logical explanation, with no support, of how the investigation can be replicated by someone else.     The candidate provides a logical explanation, with limited support, of how the investigation can be replicated by someone else.     The candidate provides a logical explanation, with adequate support, of how the investigation can be replicated by someone else.     The candidate provides a logical explanation, with substantial support, of how the investigation can be replicated by someone else.
D3a. Evaluation of Validity    The candidate does not provide a logical discussion of how the replication of an experiment is an evaluation of validity.     The candidate provides a logical discussion, with no support, of how the replication of an experiment is an evaluation of validity.     The candidate provides a logical discussion, with limited support, of how the replication of an experiment is an evaluation of validity.     The candidate provides a logical discussion, with adequate support, of how the replication of an experiment is an evaluation of validity.     The candidate provides a logical discussion, with substantial support, of how the replication of an experiment is an evaluation of validity.
E. Sources    When the candidate uses sources, the candidate does not provide in-text citations and references.     When the candidate uses sources, the candidate provides only some in-text citations and references.     When the candidate uses sources, the candidate provides appropriate in-text citations and references with major deviations from APA style.     When the candidate uses sources, the candidate provides appropriate in-text citations and references with minor deviations from APA style.     When the candidate uses sources, the candidate provides appropriate in-text citations and references with no readily detectable deviations from APA style, OR the candidate does not use sources.