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Science is a way of thinking,

a method to organize information to solve problems.

Science starts with a question about the world you really want to know the answer to.
A scientist proposes a possible answer to the question. This is called a hypothesis.
To test the hypothesis the scientist thinks of an experiment that will isolate their hypothesis and test it.
The test needs to be clearly written out so any other scientist can repeat the experiment
Materials, methods and when the experiment or test was done are all very important.
Data needs to be collected in the lab or field and then organized for presentation.
Analyses of the data lets you draw conclusions about your hypothesis.
Your conclusion lets other scientists know what you think your experiment shows.
If your hypothesis is not correct (and it usually isn't) then you change your hypothesis and start again.
Each time you start again your hypothesis gets closer and closer to a more accurate description of the answer.
Presenting your experiment, data, analyses and conclusions to other scientists is a critical part.
Other scientists may see things you did not see, or have ideas you did not think of or even disagree with your conclusions.
Science follows the above pattern like a spiral that keeps going round and round getting closer and closer to the answer.

Your experiments need to be written like a scientist using the following headings:

Question: One sentence

Hypothesis: Your hypothesis can have a lot of background information that leads you to the hypothesis that you chose. The hypothesis needs to be clearly labeled at the bottom of the background information.

Experiment: Briefly explain the experiment, not the procedure or the materials

Materials: All the materials you used listed not written in a paragraph.

Procedure: Step by step clear procedures that can be followed by other scientists who want to repeat all the steps.

Data Organized and Analyzed: This is not field data but organized data neatly presented and analyzed in charts, graphs, data tables.
Conclusion: Your conclusion should have your conclusions supported by your data and your supported by research of what others have done.

Finally Scientists Publish their findings so other scientists can criticize and discuss all parts of the experiment

You need to separate yourself from your science project. When someone criticizes your work, it is intended to make you think so you can make your work really answers the question. Every comment needs to be considered carefully because others will see things you do not see. Do not feel that criticism of your work is criticism of you.

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Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.

Author(s): Miles Robinson (mrobinson@cranbrook.edu), Brian Schad (schad@aaps.k12.mi.us )
Cranbrook Schools, Kingswood Girl's Middle School, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and Lawton Elementary Ann Arbor, Michigan
Created: February 15, 2001 - Updated: April 18, 2001
URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/lincon/w01/projects/yourfoldername/student.html