Unit 1 Lab
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Biology 113 Online
Please note: There are two parts to this lab (the Observation part and the Scientific Method part) – be sure to submit both parts!
A good biologist is a good observer. Find an outdoor spot in which you are comfortable and make a detailed observation of everything you see. Spare no details! I am looking for a least one page, single-spaced.
Use the Scientific Method to solve an everyday problem (real or imagined).
The Scientific Method
A systematic means of solving a problem
- Definethe problem
- Collectinformation from as many sources as possible
- Form a hypothesis (an educated guess about the solution to the problem)
- Experiment to test the hypothesis using a control (business as usual)and an experimental factor (something is altered). There is a nice discussion of this on pages 12 and 13)
- Observe and record data from the experiment
- Draw conclusions (about the hypothesis)
- Publicize (one of the reasons there is an explosion in scientific publications)
Hypotheses that are supported by many different lines of evidence from repeated experiments may be regarded as a theory and may eventually be considered a scientific fact.
Now, let’s use an example to illustrate the Scientific Method. Things that have the word “science” or “scientific” attached to them are often times thought of as being for a bunch of egg-heads that are hanging around in their ivory tower labs. Not true! We are all scientists! Albert Einstein said, “The whole of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.” So even though we call this procedure for solving problems the “scientific method”, we all use it in one form or another when we solve problems! Let me illustrate:
- My car won’t start and I need to go somewhere!
- I consult my owner’s manual, I call my mechanic, I go online and find a website about car problems, I call an 800 number and talk to a factory representative, I talk to my brother-in-law (who thinks he knows everything about everything)
- From the information I have gathered, I believe my problem is my car battery – my hypothesis is that my car battery is deader than a doornail and I need to fix it.
- I need to test my hypothesis so I try to turn to key in the ignition one more time. Nothing. Then, I try to turn on my headlights. Nothing. I turn on my radio, I try to honk the horn. Still nothing.
- My observation: nothing that I have tried that is part of the electrical system works.
- My conclusion: my hypothesis is correct – my battery IS deader than a doornail! Now I can do something about it. I might try to get a jump off of another car or I might need a new battery.
- A few weeks later, a friend comes up to me and tells me his car won’t start. I tell him about my episode and suggest that he check the battery. I have become one of his sources (step 2). Now, if this was a scientific problem that I was working on, let’s say I was measuring the growth of corn under different conditions; I might publicize my findings by publishing a paper in a scientific journal.