The Scientific Method: GED Science MUST-KNOW!

Hey, Dudes! The GED science test’s got a lot of stuff on it… but one thing you really KNOW is gonna be on there is science experiments. I love science experiments, dudes. Like, mad scientist stuff, you know… making invisibility cloaks and glow-in-the-dark slime. But you gotta know something about how experiments are done…and why… and that means understanding the scientific method.

You really will run across questions on the GED science test that expect you to know all about the scientific method. It’s one of those things that gives you a science background! So, what’s this scientific method anyhow? It’s a process used in science to find out information about the world. The scientific method has five steps:

1) Observe

The first step is to notice what’s happening around you. Science begins with curiosity about the world. That means looking around you, asking questions, and wondering about what’s going on.

Example: I love the lava lamp on my desk, and I wonder what makes the ‘lava’ inside the lamp float up to the top and come down again.

2)  Hypothesize

Hypothesis is one of the important words that you should understand for the GED test. A hypothesis is an idea that explains what you’ve observed or answers a question that you’ve wondered about. A hypothesis is what you suggest or think might be the answer.

Example: I hypothesize that, since the lava sinks to the bottom when the lamp is off, the light from the lamp makes the lava rise, and when the lava is in the darker, top of the lamp, it falls.

3) Predict

After you have a hypothesis, predict something else that would be true if your hypothesis is true.

Prediction: If the bottom of the lamp only is exposed to any bright light, the lava lamp will work.

4) Experiment

Conduct an experiment to test your prediction.

Example: I put two lava lamps on two light sources. One is the original light source, and the other is a light source that’s equally bright but does not give off heat. I watch the lava lamps to see when they start working. The lava lamp on the original light source is the only one that works. The other lava lamp does not move.

5) Evaluate

Look at the results of the experiment. Is it what you would expect based on your prediction? If not, you need to go back and form a new hypothesis. If so, you can begin to develop your hypothesis (an idea that’s not proven) into a theory (an idea that has evidence behind it. That will require more testing and expanding your idea.

Example: The lava lamp does not work with a light source that only gives off light, not heat. That means that it’s not the light that makes the lava move. I think about what the light in the lava lamp has that was not present in my alternate light source, and I make a new hypothesis that applying heat to the bottom of the lava lamp is what makes the lava move. I’ll need to test my new hypothesis.

There ya’ go! A whole scientific method in five parts. Look for it on the GED science test!

For more information about the GED test and GED test preparation, visit the GED Academy at http://www.passGED.com.

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