Tips for planning your experiment:
To help you understand the experimental plan, we’ll use this example for a scientific question:
*What is the effect of temperature on the burn time of a Twinkie?
You must have ONE independent variable. This is the factor that you are changing in your experiment. In my experiment, my independent variable is the temperature. I am going to change the temperature to see if it affects the burn time. Burn time is my dependent variable or what I am measuring to see if there is any change.
All other factors must remain constant or unchanging. Other factors that I have to keep constant: the size of the Twinkie, the type of oven, where I’m placing the Twinkie in the oven. These factors are important, because if I don’t keep them constant, I won’t know if that the differences in burn time are due to the different temperatures or maybe the different size of the Twinkies.
You must repeat your experiment. The number of trials will depend on your project. Make a guess as to the appropriate and feasible number of trials you could do. Repeating your experiment a number of times is an important part of designing your experiment. The more times you are able to repeat the experiment, the more observations and data you can collect. This also helps to minimize experimental errors.
I think that I’m going to test 4 different temperatures: 300˚F, 350˚F, 400˚F and 450˚F. I think that testing 10 Twinkies for each temperature is reasonable with getting a good sample, not spending too much money, and allowing enough time to test all of the Twinkies.
Your procedure is a step-by-step guide for your experiment.
Be as specific as you can! Ask yourself, “Could somebody else follow my instructions and repeat my experiment accurately?”