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Activity 01: Basics research

Blue flowers and scientific research

Objective: The students practise handling scientific methods and terms.
Learning outcomes: The students can apply scientific questions and hypotheses to an example.
Previous knowledge: Basics of research (performance of experiments and formulation of scientific presumptions/hypotheses)
Duration: 60 minutes
Materials / Conditions: Material 1 (see resources), material 2 (see resources)
Methods / Techniques: Description, explanation, creative thinking, text-work, team or group-work
Learning subject: Biodiversity / Module 3: collection, processing and analysis of environmental data / Level: Advanced Learning

Plants need water in order to survive and can transport it to the flowers without the use of muscles. When a white flower is placed in a glass with water and blue ink, the colouring effect can be observed on the petals after a short time.

1) Which question should have been answered by conducting this experiment? Formulate a suitable research question.

2) Read material 1 (resources) and name criteria for a scientific question.

3) Compare the scientific question from assignment 1 with the criteria you have identified. Change the question to comply with as many criteria as possible.

4) Read material 2 (see resources) and name the characteristics of a hypothesis. Develop a hypothesis for the experiment and explain it.

5) Plan the consecutive approach of a scientist. Which steps have to be taken in order to verify the hypothesis? (team- or group work is possible)

Material 1
Scientific research questions
Scientific research questions are typically characterised by being embedded into a scientific context and complying to scientific criteria. Therefore the question and the corresponding answers should be understood as part of science. In other words: a scientific research question is defined by the following characteristics:
- The formulation of the question is precise and clear, so that it is easy to comprehend and no misinterpretations are possible.
- The question is integrated into the context of scientific discipline.
- The subject matter of the question is clear and explicit.

Material 2
Hypothesis are scientific presumptions which are formulated in such a way, that they can be verified or rebutted by experiments or experience. The formulation of scientific hypothesis needs to adhere to certain criteria. The most important are:
– A hypotheses is a statement, so do not formulate a question or command.
– The hypotheses is self-consistent and unambiguous. It must be clear and explicit.
– Hypothesis need to be verifiable and checkable by means of experiments or experience.
– Singularities can not be the subject matter. This means no single or isolated events and cases should be analysed.

(Source: changed and shortened according to (Portuguese) und (English)

Possible results / Results:
1. How and where is the water transported inside the plant?

- Clear and precise formulation.
- The question is integrated into the context of scientific discipline.
- The subject matter of the question is clear and explicit.

3. Into which anatomical parts of the plant is the coloured water transported?

4. The plant transports water into all its parts, because all anatomical parts of the plant changed colour.

5. Research question, hypotheses, conduction of experiments, observation, interpretation, review (of the hypotheses), further experiments.

Related activities:

Authors: Chantal Boba and Melanie Twardawa
Aus dem Deutschen übersetzt von Tim Hutchings

en/learning/courses/subjects/s01/m03/advanced-learning/a01.txt · Last modified: 2015/12/04 18:51 by kherrmann