An Introduction to the Scientific Method

An Introduction to the
Scientific Method
The Lead Balloon Challenge
Lead Balloon Challenge
Objective: To design a balloon
that will drop from the
2nd floor balcony to the
1st floor the fastest.
• 1 Balloon (inflated to the balloon-sizer standard)
• 2 sheets of paper
• 1 meter of masking tape
Lead Balloon Challenge
1. Design and draw your balloon with your group in
your science journal (get creative). Then once your
design is approved…build it!
2. Test the drop speed of your balloon.
3. Record the drop time and analyze the performance
of your balloon (the faster it drops, the better).
4. Revise your design based on your data and
5. Test the drop speed of your balloon again to
optimize your balloon’s performance.
Lead Balloon Challenge
Your lab write-up: (this should go in your journal below your initial
design AFTER the activity)
1. Write a problem statement/purpose that clearly defines the
goal/objective of the Lead Balloon Challenge.
2. Formulate a hypothesis - describe the initial design of the balloon
that you guessed would work the best before you tested it.
3. Discuss the observations you made when your balloon dropped.
What data did you collect?
4. Write a conclusion based on what you learned from your tests and
observations (be sure to include a sketch of your balloon design).
5. How does this activity relate to using the scientific method?
Card Tricks!
Can a deck of cards help us understand the scientific method?
The Scientific Method
1. State the Problem/Purpose
2. Background Research (optional)
3. Formulate a Hypothesis
4. Perform an Experiment or Test
5. Collect and Analyze Data
6. State a Conclusion or results
Inquiry Wheel
Scientific Method Revised…
State the Problem/Purpose
• What is your goal?
• What idea are you trying to test?
• What is the scientific question you are trying to answer?
Formulate a Hypothesis
• Formulate an educated guess to explain the problem.
• Make a prediction regarding the outcome of your experiment.
• State the results you are predicting in measurable terms.
• WHAT and WHY
How to Perform an Experiment or Test
• Give a detailed explanation of how you will conduct the experiment
to test your hypothesis. This is called a procedure.
• Be clear about the variables (elements of the experiment that change to test
your hypothesis) versus your controls (elements of the experiment that do not
• Be very specific about how you will measure results to prove or
disprove your hypothesis. You should include a regular timetable for
measuring results or observing the projects (for example, every hour,
every day, every week).
Dependent vs. Independent
 Independent Variable- what you choose to
change intentionally
 Graphed on X axis
 Dependent Variable- depends/changes because
of the Independent Variable.
(what you measure and observe)
 Graphed on Y axis
Collect and Analyze Data
• Make detailed observations throughout your experiment
• Record all important data that is collected
• Make graphs, tables, and charts to organize and analyze results
• Ask yourself: What does this data tell me about my problem?
State a Conclusion
• Answer your problem/purpose statement.
• What did your experiment prove?
• Explain your data and results. Why did the results occur?
• Was your hypothesis correct?
• What did you learn from your experiment?
The Scientific Method in Action