Germination of Marrowfat Peas - Irish State Exams

gavindFebruary 17, 2006

I need help. For my Junior Cert. Science exam, I have to carry out some experiments, one of which being:

A Gardener Suggests that the Lenght of Time Taken for Marrowfat Peas to Germinate is Decreased if they are Soaked in Water in Advanced. Carry Out a Quantitative Investigation of this Suggestion.

What I've got is I put groups of peas in a number of labelled test tubes, don't soak one group and soak the rest for different times at different temperatures and then see how long it takes to germinate. I'm afraid this mightn't be enough.

Any suggestions?

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Im not sure that this post will be in time to help gavind out, but maybe it will be useful to the next person starting an experiment. By the way IÂm only a college grad, and just putting in my two cents along with what I remember from school myself. So here goes:

The first thing any serious experimenter/scientist should probably do is to take a moment to review what we called the Scientific Method. This is a list of 5 or so broad steps taken to design & carry out an experiment. I donÂt know if it has other names in other places, but IÂll reference the relevant parts by name as I know them.

The Question--is what gavind outlined in his post--as proposed by some farmers that peas grow better when they have been soaked before planting. This is just a general statement of the topic under investigation or study.

Hypothesis--this is the BIG second step. Going from question to hypothesis is not easy, because a hypothesis has to be SPECIFIC, and questions are often broad. It is basically a restatement of at least a part of the question in a TESTABLE form. It should be DISPROVEABLE, and probably best stated as an If x Then y statement, where x is what you are testing and y is the result you expect. If you can reference what you will MEASURE in your experiment, youÂll have a good idea of what to do when you get to that point.

Experiment--this is the part where you find out how good you are at writing hypotheses. This should follow from the hypothesis without a lot of trouble if you took time writing it well. Usually, you have at least one group of test subjects and one control, but if there is only one VARIABLE or difference between groups, you can have multiple groups and one CONTROL. (Where it gets tricky is if you werenÂt careful in writing your hypothesis, and you wind up with multiple variables without a control that corresponds to each variable. More variables means more controls and more room to mix yourself up royally.) Basically, the simpler an experiment is the more likely it will produce an accurate result. But as far as the size of a control/test group--the more the merrier is the rule, as you just have more data to use to draw conclusions. Oh, and RECORD everything you do/donÂt do, so you have that to help you write your--

Conclusions/Results--After the experiment is carried out, you will want to collect and explain your results. Again, draw on your hypothesis for ways to organize this and discuss it. It is also, especially in a school experiment, helpful to explain anything which you think went wrong; it shows youÂre learning & thinking about your project. YouÂll probably wind up with a description of your experiment, including your hypothesis, any problems & how that might have changed things, and a summation of what the experiment shows, as well as data tables or charts--just clean up your data & make it pretty. It is perfectly acceptable--even desirable in some cases--to show that a hypothesis is false; or that more needs to be done to draw a firm conclusion.

Well, thatÂs as far as most of us amateurs go with experiments. We rarely try to refine our findings about peas or what have you into scientific theories, which is what the remaining parts of that Scientific Method deals with. Hope this has been helpful/interesting, as it was my first post. Gavind, hope you get a chance to read this & tell us how your experiment went.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 6:19PM
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