Guide for Student Defined Extensions
Scientific investigations generally focus on the cause/effect relationship
between two variables. Change one aspect of the situation and see how another
is effected. Deciding what variables to investigate is a major part of defining
the problem. For example; you might be interested in the effect of the wheels
on Aircart motion. To make this a scientific study you would have to decide
what you want to study about wheels; the number of wheels, their diameter,
their width, the bearings, or some other wheel feature. Next you must decide
what effect you'd like to observe as you change the wheels; the time for
the Aircart to travel 1 meter, the average speed in 50 cm, the distance
it travels in 5 seconds, its acceleration, or some other aspect of its motion.
Once you have chosen the independent variable (cause) and the dependent
variable (effect), you can decide how the change the independent variable
(like the number of wheels) and how to measure the dependent variable (like
the distance traveled). It is a good idea to set up a table for recording
measurements as you change the independent variable. A graph helps with
the visualization of the relationship and may lead to a mathematical model.
Plan your extension so your report will have diagrams, tables, graphs, calculations,
Talk through your ideas with your teacher and make a plan before you begin
to experiment. Once experimentation starts you will probably want to revise
your original plan.
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