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Interpreting Data-Working with Controls and Variables Day 7:

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Links on this page: Student Sheet | Teacher Key

National Education Standards Met:

mathkeyZZ0203

Math discipline


Goal: Students will analyze four different experiments to give them a better understanding of the roles of controls and variables.

Objectives: Students will
:

  • Examine data from each of the experiments
  • Use the data to determine dependent and independent variables
  • Develop conclusions from the data presented

Background: As students gather data for their research, it is important that they will be able to interpret this data scientifically. It is also important as they graph data for them to understand the differences between dependent and independent variables. 

Materials (For a class of 30):

  • 30 Copies of Interpreting Data-Student Sheet

Time Required: 45-60 minute period

Standards Met: S1, S2, M4, M6, M14, M15

Procedure:
PREP

  • Make 30 copies of Interpreting Data-Student Sheet
  • Review the following terms:  Control, Variable, Dependent Variable, Independent Variable
     

IN CLASS

  • Review the terms listed above with students. Explain that, in order to understand the data they will collect for their sustainability project, students will need to understand variables and controls.
  • Hand out Interpreting Data-Student Sheet and review.
  • Go through Part One with students to be sure they understand the definition of terms.
  • Go through an example problem so that students understand what they need to do for the remaining problems.
  • Give students time to complete the rest of the problems on the student sheet.
  • If time allows, review answers to problems.  If not, review problems the following day in class.

Assessment:

  • Completed student sheet
     

INTERPRETING DATA-STUDENT SHEET

Name:  ________________________________________ Date: ______________________

Directions:  Complete Part One as a class. Then, complete Part Two working in a pair or on your own.  Be sure to show all of your work.

This activity is adapted from
http://sciencespot.net/

Part One
Write a definition for each:
 

  1. Control:





     
  2. Variable:







  3. Independent Variable:









  4. Dependent Variable:





     

Part Two
SpongeBob and his Bikini Bottom pals have been busy doing a little research. Read the description for each experiment and answer the questions.
 

  1. Krusty Krab and Breath Mints
    Mr. Krabs created a secret ingredient for a breath mint that he thinks will 'cure' the bad breath people get from eating crabby patties at the Krusty Krab. He asked 100 customers with a history of bad breath to try his new breath mint. He had fifty customers (Group A) eat a breath mint after they finished eating a crabby patty. The other fifty (Group B) also received a breath mint after they finished the sandwich, however, it was just a regular breath mint and did not have the secret ingredient. Both groups were told that they were getting the breath mint that would cure their bad breath.  Two hours after eating the crabby patties, thirty customers in Group A and ten customers in Group B reported having better breath than they normally had after eating crabby patties.
    1. Which people are in the control group?



    2. What is the independent variable?
     


    3. What is the dependent variable?



    4. What should Mr. Krabs' conclusion be?



    5. Why do you think 10 people in Group B reported fresher breath?



     
  2. SpongeBob Clean Pants
    SpongeBob noticed that his favorite pants were not as clean as they used to be.  His friend Sandy told him that he should try using Clean-O detergent, a new laundry soap she found at Sail-Mart.  SpongeBob made sure to wash one pair of pants in plain water and another pair in water with the Clean-O detergent.  After washing both pairs of pants a total of three times, the pants washed in the Clean-O detergent did not appear to be any cleaner than the pants washed in plain water.

    1. What was the problem SpongeBob wanted to investigate?



    2. What is the independent variable?



    3. What is the dependent variable?



    4. What should SpongeBob's conclusion be?



     
  3. Squidward's Symphony
    Squidward loves playing his clarinet and believes it attracts more jellyfish than any other instrument he has played.  In order to test his hypothesis, Squidward played a song on his clarinet for a total of 5 minutes and counted the number of jellyfish he was in his front yard.  He played the sound a total of 3 times an his clarinet and repeated the experiment using a flute and a guitar.  He also recorded the number of jellyfish he observed when he was not playing an instrument. The results are shown in the chart below.

    Number of Jellyfish Per Instrument

    Trial

    No Music

    Clarinet

    Flute

    Guitar

    1

    5

    15

    5

    12

    2

    3

    10

    8

    18

    3

    2

    12

    9

    7








     
    1. What is the independent variable?



    2. What is the dependent variable?



    3. What should Squidward's conclusion be?




    4. Are the results reliable? Why or why not?



  4. Super Bubbles
    Patrick and SpongeBob love to blow bubbles!  Patrick found some Super Bubble Soap at Sail-Mart. The ads claim that Super Bubble Soap will produce bubbles that are twice as big as bubbles made with regular bubble soap.  Patrick and SpongeBob made up two samples of bubble solution.  One sample was made with 5 oz. of Super Bubble Soap and 5 oz. of water, while the other was made with the same amount of water and 5 oz. of regular bubble soap. Patrick and SpongeBob used their favorite bubble wands to blow 10 different bubbles and did their best to measure the diameter of each one.  The results are shown in the chart below.


                                         BUBBLES (Diameter in centimeters)

    Bubble

    Super Bubble

    Regular Soap

    Average Diameter

    1

    15

    10

     

    2

    10

    5

     

    3

    12

    16

     

    4

    18

    14

     

    5

    22

    11

     

    6

    13

    12

     

    7

    16

    11

     

    8

    18

    15

     

    9

    15

    15

     

    10

    12

    6

     























    1 .What did the Super Bubble ads claim?



    2. What is the independent variable?



    3. What is the dependent variable?
     


    4. Look at the results in the chart.
    a. Calculate the average diameter for each bubble solution



    b. What should their conclusion be?





    5. Are the results reliable? Why or why not?



     

INTERPRETING DATA-TEACHER KEY


Name:  KEY_______________________________________ Date __________________

Directions: Complete Part One as a class. Then, complete Part Two working in a pair or on your own.  Be sure to show all of your work.

This activity is adapted from http://sciencespot.net/

Part One
Write a definition for each:
 

  1. Control:
    A part of the experiment that is not being tested and is used for comparison.
  2. Variable:
    Any part of an experiment that can vary.
  3. Independent Variable:
    The part of the experiment that is manipulated or changed by the scientists or person performing the experiment.
  4. Dependent Variable:
    The part of the experiment that is affected by the independent variable.
     

Part Two
SpongeBob and his Bikini Bottom pals have been busy doing a little research. Read the description for each experiment and answer the questions.
 

  1. Krusty Krab and Breath Mints
    Mr. Krabs created a secret ingredient for a breath mint that he thinks will 'cure' the bad breath people get from eating crabby patties at the Krusty Krab. He asked 100 customers with a history of bad breath to try his new breath mint. He had fifty customers (Group A) eat a breath mint after they finished eating a crabby patty. The other fifty (Group B) also received a breath mint after they finished the sandwich, however, it was just a regular breath mint and did not have the secret ingredient. Both groups were told that they were getting the breath mint that would cure their bad breath.  Two hours after eating the crabby patties, thirty customers in Group A and ten customers in Group B reported having better breath than they normally had after eating crabby patties.

    1. Which people are in the control group?
    The people who received the mint without the secret ingredient (Group B) would be the control group.

    2. What is the independent variable?
    Secret ingredient in the breath mint.

    3. What is the dependent variable?
    Amount of breath odor (or bad breath)

    4. What should Mr. Krabs' conclusion be?
    The breath mint with the secret ingredient appears to reduce the amount of breath odor more than half the time, but it is not 100% effective.

    5. Why do you think 10 people in Group B reported fresher breath?
    This may be due to the placebo effect.
     
  2. SpongeBob Clean Pants
    SpongeBob noticed that his favorite pants were not as clean as they used to be.  His friend Sandy told him that he should try using Clean-O detergent, a new laundry soap she found at Sail-Mart.  SpongeBob made sure to wash one pair of pants in plain water and another pair in water with the Clean-O detergent.  After washing both pairs of pants a total of three times, the pants washed in the Clean-O detergent did not appear to be any cleaner than the pants washed in plain water.

    1. What was the problem SpongeBob wanted to investigate?
    SpongeBob's pants were not clean.

    2. What is the independent variable?
    Laundry soap

    3. What is the dependent variable?
    Amount of dirt left on the pants (or how clean the pants were).

    4. What should SpongeBob's conclusion be?
    Clean-O Laundry soap does not appear to be effective in cleaning his pants.
     
  3. Squidward's Symphony
    Squidward loves playing his clarinet and believes it attracts more jellyfish than any other instrument he has played.  In order to test his hypothesis, Squidward played a song on his clarinet for a total of 5 minutes and counted the number of jellyfish he was in his front yard.  He played the sound a total of 3 times an his clarinet and repeated the experiment using a flute and a guitar.  He also recorded the number of jellyfish he observed when he was not playing an instrument. The results are shown in the chart below.

    Trial

    No Music

    Clarinet

    Flute

    Guitar

    1

    5

    15

    5

    12

    2

    3

    10

    8

    18

    3

    2

    12

    9

    7









     
    1. What is the independent variable?
    Instrument

    2. What is the dependent variable?
    Number of jellyfish

    3. What should Squidward's conclusion be?
    The clarinet did seem to attract a large number of jellyfish, but the average number for the three trials also matched the average for the guitar.  The flute attracted the least number of jellyfish, but the average for this category is still larger than the control. Music seems to attract jellyfish in greater numbers than when no music is played.  Squidward's hypothesis that the clarinet attracts larger numbers of jellyfish than other instruments is not proven by this experiment alone.

    4. Are the results reliable? Why or why not?
    Based on the limited amount of information provided, it is difficult to tell if Squidward's results are reliable.  The description did not tell how long each break was between trials.  Did he leave enough time for the jellyfish to 'clear out' of the area? (NOTE: Accept other potential flaws that students can support).
  4. Super Bubbles
    Patrick and SpongeBob love to blow bubbles!  Patrick found some Super Bubble Soap at Sail-Mart. The ads claim that Super Bubble Soap will produce bubbles that are twice as big as bubbles made with regular bubble soap.  Patrick and SpongeBob made up two samples of bubble solution.  One sample was made with 5 oz. of Super Bubble Soap and 5 oz. of water, while the other was made with the same amount of water and 5 oz. of regular bubble soap. Patrick and SpongeBob used their favorite bubble wands to blow 10 different bubbles and did their best to measure the diameter of each one.  The results are shown in the chart below.


                                         BUBBLES (Diameter in centimeters)

    Bubble

    Super Bubble

    Regular Soap

    Average Diameter

    1

    15

    10

     

    2

    10

    5

     

    3

    12

    16

     

    4

    18

    14

     

    5

    22

    11

     

    6

    13

    12

     

    7

    16

    11

     

    8

    18

    15

     

    9

    15

    15

     

    10

    12

    6

     


     




















    1. What did the Super Bubble ads claim?
    The ads claimed that the Super Bubble solution would produce bubbles that were twice as large as those made with regular bubble soap.

    2. What is the independent variable?
    Type of bubble solution

    3. What is the dependent variable?
    Size (diameter) of the bubble

    4. Look at the results in the chart.
    a. Calculate the average diameter for each bubble solution.
    Super Bubble=15.1cm; Regular Soap=11.5cm


    b. What should their conclusion be?
    The Super Bubble solution did not seem to produce bubbles that were twice as large as those made with the regular soap.  Although the average for the Super Bubble solution was larger than that for the regular soap, it was not 'twice as large' as the ads claimed. In fact, only two of the ten trials had results that would fit the ads claims.

    5. Are the results reliable? Why or why not?
    The description does not say who blew the bubbles for each solution. There may be differences in bubble sizes due to the person blowing the bubble rather than the bubble solution.  They might have considered having each person blow 5 bubbles with each solution.  (NOTE:  Accept other potential flaws that students can support).

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