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Lab 110 report: Scientific Method

Laboratory Exercise 1: Examining applications of the scientific method in biology

There are 7 steps of scientific method. Namely; Observation, Hypothesis Generation, Prediction,

Experimentation, Results and Analysis, Conclusion, and Follow-up Research and Explanatory

Hypotheses.

Observation

The following biological observations were made and mentally noted over last few days. Lobster

shells turn red when heated. Birds flock together and migrate South. Most people have many

strands of gray hair. The coat of a dog becomes heavier as weather changes. Leaves in a tree

behind the house change colors and Rain makes leaves to shine.

Hypothesis Generation

After some biological observations, one tries to explain the underlying causes. The untested

explanations are hypotheses. There are null and alternative hypotheses. Alternative hypothesis is

the logical opposite of null hypothesis. Hypothesis; Eating lots of junk food causes poor health.

Prediction

Predictions are precise statements about specific details that logically follow from

hypotheses. Narrow and precise predictions are necessary for empirically testing in order to

evaluate the hypothesis. Prediction; eating lots of fried chicken every day will lead to obesity.
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Experimentation

The crux of the scientific method is experimentation. During an experiment a researcher controls

and manipulates one factor then measures the outcome to see whether it is changed in response

to the manipulation of the factor. There should be independent and dependent variables.

Results and Analysis

Once an experiment has been completed and measurements have been collected, a

researcher gathers the results and compares them to the prediction. The key question is whether

the data refute or support the prediction made by the null hypothesis. If the results match the

prediction made by the null hypothesis, then you accept the null hypothesis. If the results are

contrary to the prediction made by the null hypothesis, then you reject the null hypothesis and

accept the alternate hypothesis.

Conclusions Concerning Hypotheses

Once the data have either supported or refuted your prediction, you either reject the null

hypothesis and accept the alternate hypothesis or accept the null hypothesis.

Follow-up Research and Explanatory Hypotheses

Scientific curiosity causes a scientist to return to the observations and generate new

hypotheses or predictions for further testing: which are the explanatory hypotheses based upon

variables observed in the experiment such as differing calories in different types of potato chips.

Laboratory Exercise 2: Measurement - Determining the Height of an Object

To estimate the height of an object, such as a tree the following procedure is used. A

sharpened pencil and one assistant are needed. Stand far enough from the tree so you can view

the whole tree—top to bottom—without moving your head. Have someone stand near the tree.
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Hold a pencil upright with the thumb and first finger of one hand holding the eraser tip of the

pencil and stretch your arm out so that the pencil is at arm’s length in front of you (between you

and the tree). Then close one eye and adjust the pencil up or down so that you can sight the very

top of the tree at the top of the pencil. This is easiest if you turn the pencil so that the sharpened

point is pointing straight up. The tip of the pencil should thus just cover the top of the tree in

your line of sight as you look at the tree “through” the pencil. Move your thumb up or down the

pencil so that the tip of your thumbnail is aligned with the tree’s base. While holding the pencil

in position so that the tip is aligned with the tree’s top (as in step 3), move your thumb to the

point on the pencil that covers the point (again, as you look “through” the pencil with one eye)

where the tree meets the ground. Rotate your arm so that the pencil is horizontal (parallel to the

ground). Keep your arm held straight out, and make sure your thumbnail is still aligned with the

tree’s base. Have the person assisting you with the experiment move so that you can sight his or

her feet “through” the point of your pencil. That is, his or her feet should be aligned with the

pencil’s tip. He or she may need to move backward, sideways, or diagonally. Since, depending

on the height of the tree, you may need to be some distance away from your assistant, consider

using hand signals (with the hand that is not holding the pencil) to tell him or her to go farther,

come closer, or move to the left or right. Measure the distance between your assistant and the

tree. Have your assistant pace out the distance, although this will not be as accurate as a tape

measure. The distance between your assistant and the tree is the height of the tree. However you

will need to measure the stride of your assistant (use your shoe and assume it is a foot in length)

Tree Height = (Number of steps) x (stride)

: My stride was about 0.3048 meters. After performing the step that determines the height

of the tree, I took 7 steps then reaching the base of the tree. To figure out the tree height, I would
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have to multiply the number steps I took and my stride. Then were converted to meters by

multiplying with 0.3048 to 8.5344 meters.

Laboratory Exercise 3: Applying the Scientific Method

Plants require sunlight for their growth. However, shade impends plants’ development.

Sunlight is directly proportional to growth, photosynthetic rate and leaf morphology. It is stated

sunlight instills 60%-90% of the plants requirement for survival such as photosynthetic rate, leaf

morphology and growth (Pieron p.302). After a study was conducted to find the average time of

flowering in full sunlight compared to shade, it was determined that full sunlight plant flowere

six weeks earlier that shaded plant. Later to be known, seed maturation and flowering is majorly

affected by the absence of sunlight (Pieron p.332). Hence, verifying the statement that sunlight is

proportional to leaf morphology, photosynthetic rate, and growth.


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Work cited

Pieron, et al. The effect of shading photosynthesis, growth,and regrowth following defoiation for

Bromus tectorum. Oecolgia, 1990.

Begna S., et al. "Decoupling of light intensity effects on the growth and development of C3

andC4 weed species through sucrose supplementation." Journal of Experimental Botany,

vol. 53, 2002, pp. 1935-1940.

Miller, and Grady L. Physiological response of Bermudagrass Growth in Soil Amendments

during Drought Stress. HortSience, 2000.

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