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Should state what you are studying; it is the question to be
answered via the experiment.
The purpose encompasses the variables within the experiment.
Three variables are found in every experiment:
1. Manipulated (independent) variable – the variable that is
being deliberately changed in the experiment.
2. Responding (dependent) variable – the variable that you
are measuring in the experiment.
3. Controlled variable(s) – variables that are held constant or
kept the same.
What is the effect of water on plant growth?
How is the concentration of a solution affected when
increasing amounts of water are added?
For a cart moving down a hill, what effect does increasing
the height have on the speed of the cart at the bottom of the
An educated guess as to the answer to the problem.
What does educated guess mean?
You have some experiential knowledge, as well as
background knowledge from the lessons in class, that you
can draw on to predict what the likely answer is to the
A good way to state the hypothesis would involve using the
following template:
If water is given to a plant then the plant will grow because water
is one of the reactants in photosynthesis and photosynthesis
produces energy in the form of glucose that can be used for
growth of tissues.
6H2O + 6CO2 → C6H12O6 + 6O2
If water is added to a solution then the concentration will
decrease because in the following equation,
concentration is inversely related to volume, as the volume is
increased (for the same number of moles) the concentration
If the height is increased for a cart going down a ramp then the
speed at the bottom will increase because more height means
more potential energy (E = mgh) and more potential energy
means more energy converted to kinetic energy as it goes down
the ramp and more kinetic energy means more speed (E =
1/2mv2). They are all directly related.
A list (not a paragraph) of all the items that will be needed to
perform the experiment.
A step by step account of how the experiment is to be completed.
Follow the following guidelines when doing your procedure:
- Use numbered steps when creating your procedure don’t
use paragraphs.
- Steps should be numbered in the order that they will be
carried out.
- The steps should be stated in complete sentences.
- Use an appropriate number of trials (5-7).
- State any precautions that should be taken by the
examiner (ie…safe handling, precautions like goggles,
gloves, etc…).
- Choose appropriate intervals for the manipulated variable.
The data collected from the experiment. Usually presented in
When creating a table use the following five steps:
1. Create a rectangle for your table using a ruler.
2. Draw appropriately sized columns/rows with a ruler.
3. Put variable, unit and any exponents in the headers of the
4. Place a title at the top of the table
5. Record your data in the cells of the table.
See the following example:
Table 1: Position Time Data
Time (s)
Position (X102 m)
The data from the table can be placed on a graph so that patterns
can more readily be seen.
When completing graphs use the following five steps:
1. Title
Write your title in either of the following forms:
- Responding variable vs. Manipulated variable (Y vs. X)
- Responding variable as a function of manipulated variable
2. Labels
Both the vertical axis (responding variable) and the horizontal axis (manipulated
variable) must contain units and include direction and scientific notation when needed.
E.g. distance (x102 m [E]) or d (x102 m [E])
3. Scale
Graph should make up majority of page (at least half of the page in both x and y
Graph intervals must be appropriately scaled
No interval should be an irrational number (non-repeating and non-terminating)
If not starting at 0 on either axis, use an axis break
appropriate value
to start your scale at the
4. Data Points
A data point is represented by a reference on the x-axis followed by a reference on the
y-axis (x,y).
Clearly label your points with a visible black dot or place a circle around your data point
if you feel it will be hard to find once you draw your line of best fit.
5. Line of Best Fit
The line of best fit is a single line that best ESTIMATES the trend of the data points, the
relationship between the manipulated and responding variables and is used to calculate
the slope. The line is typically straight but may be drawn as a curve. It does not need to
begin at the origin (0,0) nor pass through every data point.
t (sec) or
time (sec)
d (m [E]) or distance
(m [E])
Analysis of a graph may include the following:
1. Line of Best Fit
The line of best fit is the linear representation of the data.
It can be represented by the line equation y=mx+b where,
y is the value of the responding variable on the y-axis
m is the slope
x is the value of the manipulated variable on the x-axis
b is the y-intercept which is where the line intersects with the y-axis (x = 0)
2. Slope
The slope is found using the line of best fit
Use two points on the line of best fit that meet the crosshairs of your graph paper and
that are as far apart as possible to calculate slope
It is the rate of change between responding variable and the manipulated variable
slope ,m=
9.0 m−4.0 m 5.0 m
∆ y Rise y 2 − y 1
=1.7 m/ s
. E.g. slope=
3.5 s−0.5 s 3.0 s
∆ x Run x2 −x1
Include units for slope calculations
3. Area
The area below the graph can also represent the relationship between manipulated and
responding variables.
The graph can be rectangular, triangular or a combination of the two
Use the following equations to calculate the area:
Rectangle: Arearectangle =l∙ w where,
- l is the length
- w is the width
Triangle: Areatriangle = 2 b ∙ h where,
- b is the base
- h is the height
Slope Calculations
31.0 m−2.00 m 29.0 m
=4.68 m/s
7.6 sec−1.4 sec 6.2 sec
Use the graph of the data to find the y value given the x or to find the x value
given the y. For example, on the graph above find the distance covered in 5.20 s.
Find the 5.2 value on the x axis and then read the corresponding y value from the
best fit line (20.0 m).
Extend the graph beyond the plotted data to determine a value beyond the
original data set. For example, on the graph above find the distance covered in
10.0 s. To do this the best fit line must be extended further on the graph and then
the y point that corresponds with the x of 10.0 s can be read (42.0 m).
The purpose/problem should be answered based on your results. Explain how
your results support or do not support your hypothesis.
Percent error may be referred to. Acceptable percent errors are between 5-10%
depending on the experiment.
Improvements should be noted here; if the experimental design was inadequate
improvements should be mentioned here.
Possible future experiments that may be extensions to the current experiment
may be mentioned.