Assignment 1: write a paragraph discuss about Fake News.
Fake News…… This topic has really taken off lately. As scientists we are expected to publish our results. The phrase “Publish or Perish” is commonly used among the scientific community. What is the point of funneling all this money into research without results? Today most people get their news from at least one form of social media. This includes new scientific studies that may seem too good to be true. A person could assume that if it is based off science it must be true, but you might be shocked at how easy it is for bad science (yes, it does exist) to get out there. One thing that is also important is to check the validity of the article and its sources. Bad science does get published and it is up to us to find those articles and make sure they are called out. You also need to keep a critical eye out for how the media can throw the purpose of a scientific study out of proportion.
Below are some links on how to evaluate those studies you have heard or read about on the news.
Watch the TED Talk below that talks about how easy it is for presented results to be biased.
Here is the link if you want to find more like it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4MhbkWJzKk
I have also attached an article that talks about how we need to combat fake science news and another link to a quiz to see if you can spot the fake science story.
I am sure we have all clicked or heard on the news of some hard to believe science results. I am a personal fan of the glass of red wine equaling one hour at the gym. What is your opinion on how the media portrays scientific studies? Have you heard of some that are too good to be true? This is an open discussion and all opinions are welcome. I want us to cover why we should be careful on pointing out bad science and to take what the popular press presents as news with a grain of salt. Enjoy!
Assignment 2: Scientific Method Virtual Lab
In this virtual lab, you will identify the steps of the scientific method and then use them as you develop and test a hypothesis, analyze data, and draw conclusions by using a virtual lab experiment. Here is a brief description of the steps of the Scientific Method adapted from School of Dragons (Steps of the Scientific Method)
Basic Steps of the Scientific Method
- Make an Observation: Scientist are naturally curious about the world. While many people may pass by a curious phenomenon without sparing much though for it, a scientific mind will take note of it as something worth further thought and investigation.
- Form a Question: After making an interesting observation, a scientific mind itches to find out more about it. This is in fact a natural phenomenon. If you have ever wondered why or how something occurs, you have been listening to the scientist in you. In the scientific method, a question converts general wonder an interest to a channeled line of thinking and inquiry.
- Form a Hypothesis: A hypothesis is an informed guess as to the possible answer of the question. The hypothesis may be formed as soon as the question is posed, or it may require a great deal of background research and inquiry. The purpose of the hypothesis is not to arrive at the perfect answer to the question but to provide a direction to further scientific investigation.
- Conduct an Experiment: Once a hypothesis has been formed, it must be tested. This is done by conduction a carefully designed and controlled experiment. The experiment is one of the most important steps in the scientific method, as it is used to prove a hypothesis right or wrong, and to formulate scientific theories. In order to be accepted as scientific proof for a theory, an experiment must meet certain conditions – it must be controlled, i.e. it must test a single variable by keeping all other variables under control to prove that any unique observations are due to the single variable. To do this, the scientist must subject a second group to the same conditions as the group being tested with the only exception being the single tested variable. This group is known as the “control” group. The experiment must also be reproducible so that it can be tested for errors.
- Analyze the Data and Draw a Conclusion: As the experiment is conducted, it is important to note down the results. In any experiment, it is necessary to conduct several trials to ensure that the results are constant. The experimenter then analyses all the data and uses it to draw a conclusion regarding the strength of the hypothesis. If the data supports the hypothesis, the original question is answered. On the other hand, if the data does not support the hypothesis, the scientific inquiry continues by doing research to form a new hypothesis and then conduction an experiment to test it. This process goes on until a hypothesis is supported by a scientific experiment.
- Share what you learn with others.
When designing an experiment, there are many different options of how to do things. How much water you pour in the cup, how long you wait, what you measure, how you measure it, all of these are variables. The three types of variable are independent, dependent, and control.
The independent variable is the condition you are testing. For example, if you are testing which brand of dog food dogs like best, the independent variable is the different brands of dog food. If you are testing which brand of fertilizer works best, the independent variable is the different types of fertilizer. Another way to recognize this variable is that this is the condition you are “changing on purpose” between each experiment. The independent variable is also called the experimental variable.
The dependent variable is the data you are taking on your experiment. This is the information you will use to make your conclusions later. If you are testing which brand of dog food dogs like best, the dependent variable might be how much of each brand the dogs eat, or possibly which of the brands the dog eats first. If you are testing which brand of fertilizer works best, the dependent variable might be how tall each plant grows or how much fruit they produce. Another way to recognize this variable is that this is the value that you think will change based on the changes you make to the independent variable. You think that this value “depends” on the condition you are testing.
The control variables are elements of the experiment that you take deliberate action to keep the same. Back to our dog food test, putting the same amount of food in each bowl is a control variable. In the plant experiment, giving the plants the same amount of water is an important control variable. Things that stay the same without you taking deliberate action do not count as control variables. Essentially, if you don’t identify them ahead of time, they are not control variables. Also, control variables are usually things you think might alter the outcome of the experiment. You can’t control everything, so you have to focus on those things that you think are actually important.
Most of the errors made when designing or reporting on experiments involve the three types of variables. Sometimes a second independent variable sneaks into the experiment. This is usually something that should have been a control variable, but the experimenter didn’t pay attention to it. In the plant fertilizer experiment, if some fertilizers are liquid and others are solid, the plants receiving the liquid fertilizer are also receiving more water. This is because the fertilizer is dissolved in water. The total amount of water must be adjusted for these plants so that you aren’t accidentally making water amount an independent variable.
Another common error is failing to plan out the dependent variable. In our dog food experiment, failing to define what “better” means ahead of time can cause problems. When putting out three types of dog food at the same time, is better defined by which food the dog eats first or which one the dog eats the most of?
One final common cause of error is waiting until the end of an experiment to name the control variables, then choosing things which were coincidentally the same. In our plant fertilizer experiment, you shouldn’t list “room temperature” as a control variable. True, the plants were all grown at the same temperature because they were in the same room, but you didn’t take deliberate action to make this so.
Control experiments are used to set the baseline for your experiments and also to make sure your measurement for the dependent variable works. The negative control lets you know the value of the independent variable without treatment. In our plant fertilizer experiment, a plant with no fertilizer serves as the negative control. This lets you know how much a plant should grow on its own. The negative control is also sometimes called the control group. When testing the effectiveness of any treatment, the group that does not receive the treatment is called the control group. A positive control lets you know that your basic experiment conditions are valid. In the plant experiment, the plant without fertilizer also serves as a positive control. If it doesn’t grow at all, you know there is a problem with your setup and none of your fertilizer results will be useful. Some experiments do not have control experiments. Our dog food experiment might not have any.
These positive and negative control experiments have nothing to do with control variables. The fact that they both contain the word “control” is a coincidence.
A hypothesis is a statement about the results of an experiment made before the experiment is performed. It is a prediction of the outcome based on what you already know. A good hypothesis usually includes the dependent and independent variables. For example, “When given the choice between three kinds of dog food, dogs will eat more of the Purina than of Kibbles and Bits or Kroger brand,” names the independent variable (kinds of dog food), the independent variable (how much is eaten), and a prediction of the outcome.
A common mistake in making a hypothesis is making a question. “Which fertilizer works best?” is not a hypothesis. “Truegreen works better than Vigoro,” is a hypothesis. A better hypothesis would be, “Plants given Truegreen fertilizer grow taller than plants given Vigoro.” This hypothesis is better because it includes our variables.
Another common mistake is naming an independent variable that can’t actually be tested. For example, our hypothesis about dog food should never be, ” . . . dogs will like Purina better than Kibbles and Bits or Kroger brand.” You cannot tell what a dog “likes.” You can only say what the dog does; it eats more of Purina than the others. You can later infer something about likes or dislikes, but that is not actually what you are testing. If your hypothesis includes words about mental state (likes, hates, loves, wants to, etc.), it is usually not testable.
Now for the part you do
Now it is your turn. You are going to use resources you have around you to design a simple scientific experiment. You do not need to go out and purchase items for this lab. You most likely have things already around you that would work. You can go and purchase items, but be sure that they are things that you can use after. I am going to go through the process of designing an experiment and put it into a power point with audio. In each slide I will put information about how I got to my decisions and the experimental layout.
Think about experiments that can give you somewhat of quick results. If you are measuring plant growth it might take too long from when you start the experiment and the due date. Be sure you have a way to measure your results. Most phones have great timers on them and I have seen students record videos and use the slow-motion feature to get accurate results. If you are using living subjects please be sure to be safe and do not harm them. I am going to use my dog Ravel and I know he has eaten all the treats I will use in the experiment and they have not harmed his health at all.
Some ideas might be comparing a name brand to a generic product. Do double stuff oreos really have double the stuff as a regular oreo? Does color affect how items perform? You can do a blind taste test to see if you can tell the difference between Pepsi and Coke. Does substituting something in a recipe really change the taste? There are a lot of ideas out there and you can run it by me if you are unsure if it is a good experiment. I have judged plenty of science fairs and it is obvious when a project is completely lifted off of Pinterest. You can use them as inspiration, but you do not need to overthink this.
After you conduct your experiment you will do a write up of the experiment and present your results. You have the option to do it as either a document or a power point presentation with audio. I will post examples of both. You will need to address the following items.
1. Observation/Question: What is your observation? Why are you going to design the experiment (because it is a grade is not the right answer)?
2. Hypothesis: What is your hypothesis?
3. Experimental Design: Describe the experimental layout. Do you have any controls? How will you be measuring things? Do you know of any limitations you might encounter?
4. Results: This can be done via a video or using pictures, graphs and tables.
5. Conclusion: Were you able to answer your hypothesis? Were there some flaws in your experiment that you could fix if you were to repeat it.
Remember that this does not need to be super complicated. You are learning about the process of going through the steps of the scientific method. You will submit your experimental paper or presentation on Blackboard. If the file is too large you may have to email it to me.
Assignment 3: experience with the question i attach macromolect pdf here
1. What reagent was used in this test? 2. What are results for each tube? Be specific. Remember positive results cover a range. A: B: C: 3. What causes the color change in the reaction above? Use Figure 6 for question 4. 4. Why did sucrose test negative? Be specific and you may have to look up the chemical structure of sucrose to help describe your answer. Use Figure 7 for question 5. 5. Why did the test tube containing starch not change colors? Be specific. Use Figure 8 for questions 6 – 8. 6. What is the reagent used in this test? 7. What are the results for each tube? (Positive or negative) A: B: 8. Tube A is a solution of single amino acids and Tube B is from a protein powder solution. Why did Tube A not test positive even though it has the components that make up proteins? Use Figure 9 for questions 9-10. 9. What is the reagent used in this test? 10. Is this result positive or negative?