Scientific method is a systematic method used to research and answer questions. It involves several steps:
Question -- the springboard for the rest of the experiment. It asks, "What do I want to find out?"
Research -- finding out as much information about the subject as possible, including past scientific experimentation.
Hypothesis -- an "educated guess" of what the results of the experiment will be. The hypothesis is based on experience and prior research.
Variables -- something capable of change. There are three types of variables: controlled, independent, and dependent.
Controlled variables are kept the same for all tests within an experiment. Changes in controlled variables during an experiment may effect the results. This could lead to misinterpretation of the experiment. Controlled variables are capable of change, but controlled. Examples are: inserting the thermometer the same depth into each cup, using the same volume of each sample, using identical cups, or running each test at the same room temperature.
Independent variables are tested and varied within the experiment to see what happens. Examples of independent variable are: soil types and number of minutes.
Dependent variables are results from manipulating the independent variables. An example of a dependent variable is temperature.
Procedure -- the list of materials and step-by-step instructions for the experiment.
Testing -- the actual experimentation phase. Included in the testing is the collection of data.
Results -- a summary of what happened during the experiment.
Conclusion -- a restatement of the original hypothesis, a summation of the results, and a new statement of how the results related to the hypothesis.
Extension -- a way to take the experiment to a new level. Extensions will include questions requiring further research, alternative methods for performing the experiment, other experiments, readings, and resources.