Read the examples and answer the questions.
Remember to put each situation to the
validity test by asking each of the following:
- Has it been tested and observed numerous times by more than one
group of scientists?
- Is the study or data documented completely, and does it follow the
- Does the information contain just the facts and avoid mixing in
opinion and assumption?
- Is the information presented purely for public knowledge, avoiding
being connected with a new product that is for sale?
- Does the information come from a third party that is not profiting
from the results of the study?
- Is this information supported by any other studies that have been
conducted by other companies or agencies?
Example 1 (5 points)
A team of researchers are working on a project to make a new kind of airplane
fuel. During their experiment, there was an explosion that destroyed the lab.
While they were cleaning up the debris, they discovered a number of pieces of
frozen metal. The scientific community was amazed. The researchers were so
excited to report that they had discovered a fuel that burns so hot that it
becomes cold. They were not sure of the true importance of their discovery but
they knew it was something that had never been seen before. The researchers
quickly wrote up a report, created a press release, and applied for a patent.
The news spread quickly through the world wide scientific community and soon
other scientists were trying to replicate their experiment. Much to the relief
of the original team or researchers, no other scientist could ever replicate
Would this example be considered
science or pseudoscience? Support your decision with at least three reasons.
Example 2 (5 points)
Researchers at a university want to know if higher levels of nitrogen in
fertilizer will increase the production of tomatoes per plant. Twenty plants
are given normal levels of nitrogen and twenty other plants are given ten
percent higher levels throughout the growing season. The plants receive the
same levels of sunlight, water and are planted in the same soil on one farm. At
the end of the experiment the average number of tomatoes produced is the same
for each group. The scientists repeat the experiment on two additional farms
further south that season. The researchers conclude that increasing nitrogen
levels by 10% in tomatoes is not beneficial.
Would this be a well designed reliable
experiment? Support your decision with at least three reasons.
Example 3 (5 points)
There is a new brand of water on the market that has been proven to relieve
headaches. It is selling like crazy! When the Food and Drug Administration
asked for scientific proof that the water actually does what it claims to do,
the owners of the company produced a scientific research study that they had
paid a group of scientists to perform. In the study researchers gave this
special water to a group of 50 people who claimed to have a headache. The
people drank the special water whenever they felt thirsty over a period of 24
hours. After the 24 hours, 99% of the people reported that their headache was
Should the Food and Drug Administration
trust this scientific study and allow the company to sell the water with this
claim? Would this be an example of Science or Pseudoscience? Support your
answer with at least three reasons.
Example 4 (5 points)
A group of researchers from a local lab are trying to get funding for a
research study to determine if the color blue is better than the color green.
They have written a proposal and submitted to the company that could
potentially give them the money needed to conduct the study. The researchers proposed
to carry out their study in four different geographic locations and use
variations of both the color blue and the color green to ensure that they will
gather reliable information.
Should the company give the researchers
the money to conduct this study? Support your decision with at least three
Example 5 (5 points)
The town of Seaside needs to build a new power plant. The old coal burning
plant produces too much pollution and is no longer safe. The mayor decides that
he will do some research on alternative forms of energy like nuclear power
plants and solar power plants.
What types of resources should the
mayor use to conduct his research? Why would these be considered reliable
source of information and why? What types of resources are reliable? How can he
use what he learns to make the best decision for the town?
Part 2: (35 points)
Design your own scientific experiment.
Your experiment must follow the scientific method and meet the criteria
described in the lesson in order to be considered scientific. You do not have
to conduct your experiment; however, you are still responsible for including
all the steps of the scientific method. Since you will not be able to record
data or draw a conclusion, for the last two steps please include a description
of what each step involves.
Your points will be awarded as described below:
Topic chosen–is it testable?
Experimental design–are the variables controlled?
Includes all steps of the Scientific Method, as described in the
lesson, in proper sequence
Each step of the Scientific Method is appropriately used or fully
explained as it applies to the experiment
Step by Step Procedure:
What measurements or other method of data collection would you use?
How could you form a statement about your hypothesis based on the data?