Important Science Terms

Important Scientific Terms

Scientific Method-a systematic approach to solving problems

Investigating-stating a question and then designing an experiment to answer it is an example of this process skill

Affect-produce an effect on, bring about a change in, still in the process of

Effect-the result of, or consequence of an action

Hypothesis-is an educated guess about the solution to a problem (if/then statement) or a possible explanation for a set of observations or answer to a scientific question.  It must be something that can be tested.  You can test a hypothesis by observation or an experiment.

Variable- factor that changes in an experiment or factors being tested in an experiment

Independent/manipulated variable-is the variable that you change on purpose.  It is the IF in the if/then statement of your hypothesis

Dependent/responding variable- is the variable that responds to a change in the independent/manipulated variable. It is the THEN in the if/then statement of your hypothesis.

Constants-the things that are kept the same in an experiment

Control used to show that the result of an experiment is really due to the condition being tested.  Used to compare things to

Controlled experiment- an experiment in which all factors except one are kept constant

Experiment-organized process used to test a hypothesis

Data-observations and measurements recorded during an experiment

Conclusion-a judgment based on the results of an experiment.  It ties back to your hypothesis

Scientific theory-is a well tested concept that explains a wide range of observations.  An accepted theory has withstood repeated tests.  But if the tests fail to support a theory, scientists change the theory or abandon it

Law-a law summarizes observed experimental fact. A law or theory may change if new information is discovered.

Fact-something that actually exists or occurs

Absolute-perfect, complete, positive, definite

QuaLitative-having to do with quality or qualities/characteristics (tall, brown, sharp) < L=looks >

QuaNtitative-to measure and determine the quantity of items, using numbers (15, twenty, 9) <N=numbers>

Classification-grouping together items that are alike in some ways.  Example: size, shape, color and use

Observation-using all five senses to gather information (You have to be present to make an observation)

Inference-Using past experiences to draw conclusions and explanations about events that are not directly observed

Mean- the average of the data in an experiment, you need to find the sum and divide by the number of trials

Mode-the most frequent observation listed in a data table (most frequently listed number)

Prediction-a forecast about what will happen in the future that is usually based on prior knowledge