Cool! Warm! Hot! Frigid!
We would not
survive long without air……only about six minutes in fact. Fortunately, air
is all around us so we do not have to try to survive without it. Air has a
huge effect on the biosphere. It also has significant effects on the other
spheres. Cool! …..Or warm……Or frigid……. Or muggy…….Or super
hot………..depending on the air temperature at the time.
You have just completed an experiment that investigated the relationship
between worms and some aspect of the atmosphere. Now your task is to design and conduct an experiment
that investigates the interaction between the atmosphere and an aspect of any
other sphere. WOW! How exciting is that! You get to
choose. And the world is your laboratory.
The options are
limitless. All you have to do is choose something from another sphere
(biosphere, atmosphere, or geosphere) and design an experiment that explores
how the atmosphere interacts with something from that sphere.
I will give you
an example of an experiment that explores the relationship between air and
water (a part of the hydrosphere). THIS
IS ONLY AN EXAMPLE. You may NOT use this experiment for this
[Most of you did this experiment in
might be “What is the effect of air temperature on water evaporation
might be “If the air temperature is warm then water will evaporate more quickly
than it will in cooler air temperatures.”
plan could be:
1. Get two different
containers and put 1 liter of water in each container.
2. Put one container in the
closet of a warm room. Label the container and record the temperature of
3. Put the second container
in a closet in the cooler, un-insulated garage. Label the container and
record the temperature of the garage.
4. Measure the water level in
each container after seven days.
5. Subtract the amount of
water left in each container from 1 liter to find out how much water evaporated
from each container.
6. Record observations on a
See how easy it
is! Remember, you cannot
do an experiment with
water and air for two reasons. One, you already know what the result will
be. You probably did this already in elementary school. Two, I have
already outlined the experiment. Part of what you need to learn in this
class is how to design your own experiment. You cannot learn that by doing
an experiment that I have already designed! So, off you go. Be
creative. Design your own experiment. But wait! Be sure to read the directions below
before you do anything!!!!!
· Whatever you decide
1. Determine what you want to
find out when you do your experiment. Write down the QUESTION
that you are
trying to answer.
If you are having trouble coming up with a question, think of the many things
associated with the atmosphere. Some examples include:
· Weather (wind, dew point, humidity, evaporation,
· Pollution (car exhaust, acid rain, ozone pollution in the
lower atmosphere, smoke)
· Oxidation (rusting or other changes that happen when things are
exposed to air)
Once you have decided on which aspect of the amosphere that you
would like to investigate, then start brainstorming about things that would
influence that aspect. For example, you could explore how air speed (wind)
affects evaporation rates or how car exhaust affects plants or how exposure to
air affects sugar. Try to think of your own question. The
possibilities are limitless.
2. Predict what you think the
outcome of your experiment will be. (Hypothesis)
3. Design an experiment to
test your prediction. Remember to include a control. Be very
specific. Tell me exactly what you plan to do. Tell me how much of
everything you plan on using. Tell me how long you plan on running the
experiment and how often you will check it. Tell me how you will record
your data. I want details!!!
experimental design to me via email before going any further. I will give you
feedback on your design within three days. If the design is scientifically
sound, you may go ahead and conduct your experiment. If it has flaws, we will
work together until you have designed a valid, reliable experiment---then you
may go ahead and conduct your experiment.
5. AFTER you have received my
go-ahead, conduct your experiment. Be sure to keep detailed lab notes. Your lab
notes should contain a record of everything you did as well as all the data you
collected. Each entry should have a date on it (month/day/year).
6. Follow the directions
below to submit your assignment.
A. Re-send me your original
, your hypothesis
and your experimental
B. Send me your lab
. I want to the observations that you
recorded. Do not simply send me a summary of your results. I want to
see a record of your observations. Be sure to include dates and
C. Based on your observations, write a conclusion
does your data tell you? What did you learn from your experimental
D. What kind of relationships did you find between water and the
aspect of the sphere you studied?
E. Do your findings support your hypothesis? Why or why not?
F. If you were to do this again, what would you change? Why?
G. What additional experiments could be performed?
Please, send me
the information requested in analysis questions A-G.
GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN!