For this task, you will design, conduct, and report on an experiment in the natural sciences. The natural sciences include biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences, and astronomy, but exclude computer science/simulations or the social sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology, economics). The purpose of this task is for you to demonstrate your understanding of the scientific method from research and design to reporting of results.
Your experiment must involve a testable hypothesis where a variable is manipulated. Although you are welcome to test multiple hypotheses, one is sufficient. If your experiment contains multiple hypotheses or variables, each one should address the criteria stated in the associated rubric aspect. Your experiment should demonstrate a basic scientific principle and does not need to lead to a new scientific discovery.
Be sure to incorporate appropriate safety precautions when designing and executing your experiment. Experiments conducted on vertebrate organisms (including humans) are strictly prohibited
Before conducting your experiment, select a field of natural science of interest to you. Read from a variety of sources (e.g., WGU learning resource, internet articles, books) to narrow your interest to a specific experimental topic. For a list of possible science experiment topic ideas, refer to the “Topic List” attachment. Identify at least two reference materials that explain the scientific principles that motivate the experiment you will conduct; these will be included in your lab report’s literature review section.
Prepare a lab report with the following sections:
Introduction and Literature Review
Your submission must be your original work. No more than a combined total of 30% of the submission and no more than a 10% match to any one individual source can be directly quoted or closely paraphrased from sources, even if cited correctly. An originality report is provided when you submit your task that can be used as a guide.
You must use the rubric to direct the creation of your submission because it provides detailed criteria that will be used to evaluate your work. Each requirement below may be evaluated by more than one rubric aspect. The rubric aspect titles may contain hyperlinks to relevant portions of the course.
The experiment must be in the natural sciences—not computer sciences or the social sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology, economics). No simulations and no experiments on vertebrate animals (including humans) are permitted.
Section I: Introduction and Literature Review
A. Summarize how at least two reference materials relate to the basic scientific principles of your experiment. Each reference material must come from a different source. Be sure to describe how the references provide a foundational background for the experiment you will conduct.
Section II: Hypothesis
B. Make a hypothesis(es) to predict the effect of a manipulation of an independent variable on a quantitative dependent variable.
C. Justify your hypothesis(es) based on prior research and known scientific principles.
Section III: Method
D. Describe the independent variable(s); include the following information:
• a description of how the variable(s) will be manipulated
• a description of experimental conditions, if applicable
E. Describe the dependent variable(s); include the following information:
• a description of how the variable(s)will be quantified, including units of measure
• a description of how the variable(s) will be recorded
F. Describe at least one external, confounding variable and how it will be controlled. Be sure to justify how your method of controlling that variable will mitigate any confounding effect on observed results.
G. Describe your materials and measurement tools in enough detail that a reader would be able to replicate the experiment.
H. Describe your experimental procedure in enough detail that a reader would be able to replicate the experiment.
Section IV: Result
I. Summarize the quantitative data gathered from each experimental manipulation. Be sure to highlight the key findings and trends.
J. Create a visual representation (i.e., data table, graph, chart) for the data you gathered from each experimental manipulation. Be sure that you choose a method of visual representation that effectively communicates the main findings of your experiment (e.g., exact measurements, trends over time, differences across categories, proportions). Make sure your visual representation clearly represents data for each quantified variable, and be sure to label and align your data accurately. Remember also to choose a scale that fits the range of the data and represent your data points precisely and accurately.
Section V: Conclusions
K. Discuss whether your hypothesis(es) was confirmed, refuted, or partially confirmed. Be sure to describe the observed results supporting your conclusion.
L. Describe at least one uncontrolled, confounding variable that could have influenced your observed results and any ways the experiment could be improved.
M. Discuss how your experimental results relate to the references presented in the literature review.
Section VI: Sources
N. Acknowledge sources, using in-text citations and references, for content that is quoted, paraphrased, or summarized.