scientific method assignment

Objective: The point of this lab is to practice using the scientific method. You will design research questions and hypotheses based on observations of the real world, and try to design ways to test your hypothesis.

The Scientific Method

The goal of science is to understand the world, and explain what we observe. Scientists try to explain the world using the scientific method. The scientific method is simply a way to understand what we see by:

1) Making observations

2) Trying to understand observations

3) Generating a hypothesis, or educated guess as to why what we observe is happening

4) Testing your hypothesis through measurements, experiments, modeling, and data collection

5) Synthesizing the data you have collected, and interpreting your results

6) Revising your hypothesis, and testing again

The key here is that the scientific method is based on evidence that can be measured and recorded. In geography, most of our hypotheses can’t be tested in a lab, but instead have to be tested in the field, out in the real world, where measurements are taken, and data is collected


This lab is a very simple way to get into the scientific mindset. You are going to make three different observationsabout the real world, articulate your understanding of each of your three observations, and come up with three questions/generate a hypothesis about those observations for testing. And finally, what strategy would you use to test your hypothesis.

You will not actually be doing the testing,but you will need to design a test for each of your questions. For these tests, I expect you to do some research of REAL methods scientists would use to gather data, and make tests. You WILL NOT include any conclusions, since you will not actually be doing your test. Please make sure to cite your sources.

Step 1: Go outside

I know this is an online class, but for this lab, I want you to go outside. Look around at the world around you, and try to think of questions about how the natural world works. ( You will be making up your own research questions)

Step 2: Make three observations (step 1 of the Scientific method ), and come up with a question about each observation.

Write down three observations of what you see outside, and create three questions that try to understand how something about your observation works.

Step 3: Come up with a hypothesis for each of your questions.

What do you think the answer to your questions may be? Write your educated guesses. Please note, you are not supposed to have the answer for this assignment. You are supposed to come up with a hypothesis that you could then test (or gather data about). Write each hypothesis below the question it is trying to answer.

Step 4: Plan a test for each hypothesis

For this step, I expect you to do some research. How would you test, measure, and gather data to try and figure out if your hypothesis is correct or not? Please use the vast resources of the internet to help you figure out real ways that scientists gather the type of data you will need to answer your question. You do not need to do this test, so don’t worry about cost, time or equipment. For full credit, you must include full citations of the resources you use. You will not be coming up with any conclusions since you are not performing the test, just designing the test.

For example:

You notice the flow of water in a creek near your house is pretty slow (observation). You wonder, will the flow change with the seasons? (question) You suspect that the creek will flow faster in the winter (hypothesis). Look online to find out how people test the flow of water, and find this excellent resource by the USGS: You use this information to create a test (test).

Step 5: Do this Three times

You will need to do this three times. Make sure to include as much discussion as possible (more than in the example above) to get full points.

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