The scientific method is used to direct the way that scientists attempt to explain the natural world around them. Although the number of steps and the names of those steps often change depending on the scientist, the overall theme remains the same for scientists all over the world.
- scientists observe events or circumstances in the natural world
Ex:Our sun is one of trillions of stars; our sun has planets that rotate around it
- scientists ask testable
questions about their observations
Ex: Do other stars have planets that rotate around them like our sun?
- scientists predict a relationship between variables based on past research and observation. They write a state that is written in an "if...then..." format that will guide their experimentation and potentially provide an answer to their question.
Ex: If other stars have planets around them, then those planets will occasionally pass between earth and the star, dimming its light.
- scientists design controlled experiments that are specially designed to test their hypothesis. These experiments must be carefully controlled and measured. An acceptable experiment changes only one variable (the independent variable
) and observes its effect on another variable (the dependent variable
), all other variable should be kept the same (controlled variables
Ex: Light spectrometers observe the intensity of light from many different stars. An occasional change in light intensity (independent variable) will provide some evidence for planets around that star (dependent variable).
- scientists gather data from their experiments and begin to analyze it by using tables, charts, and graphs to find potential trends or relationships between the independent variable and the dependent variable.
Ex: highly predictable "dimming" of distance stars indicates that they have objects that are orbiting them in a regular pattern in the same way that planets rotate around our sun.
- scientists draw conclusions based on their analysis of the data, and they either reject or fail to reject their hypothesis.
Ex: fail to reject the hypothesis that distance stars have planets orbiting them
Characteristics of Life Article
This article will help you understand the Characteristics of Life
What is Life?