The scientific method is a form of discovery science. Discovery science is when observations and measurements can be verified with data. Applying the scientific method usually requires six steps. These steps are observation, question, hypothesis, prediction, conclusion, and results. Not all scientists use these steps in the same way. I own a 55 gallon aquarium with koi, “algae eaters,” and three breeds of tropical fish.
Just today I used the scientific method to solve the problem of a dirty tank. Therefore, I will use this experience as an example of how I can, and often do, apply the scientific method. As I have many fish, the water becomes cloudy or begins to contain bits of debris. The first step in applying the scientific method is to make an observation. I observe that my tank looks “dirty. ”
The second step is asking a question. I ask the question “why is my tank dirty? There are a few different reasons my tank looks dirty; the filters need to be changed, the PH levels are off a bit, or I have been over-feeding my fish. The third step is to choose one of the options to create an experiment. I choose changing the filters as my hypothesis. The fourth step is prediction. I must predict what I believe will happen when I change the filters. My prediction is that changing the filters will clean the tank water within 24 hours. After this time the water will be clear.
The fifth step in applying the scientific method is the conclusion. After changing the filters and waiting the amount of time in my prediction I can assess if the conclusion is one that is desired and what I thought it would be. The sixth, and final, step is results. By following the steps when applying the scientific method, what was the result? In this case, my results supported my conclusion. The filters in my tank were dirty and needed to be changed. By doing this I was able to clean the water and make it clear within 24 hours.