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, letâ€™s use an example to illustrate the Scientific Method. Things that have the word â€œscienceâ€ or â€œscientificâ€ 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, â€œThe whole of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.â€ So even though we call this procedure for solving problems the â€œscientific methodâ€, we all use it in one form or another when we solve problems! Let me illustrate:
- My car wonâ€™t start and I need to go somewhere!
- I consult my ownerâ€™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 â€“ 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 â€“ 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 wonâ€™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, letâ€™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.
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