More Interactions

You have just completed an experiment that explored the interaction between an abiotic factor fertilizer) and a biotic factor (algae). Now your task is to design and conduct an experiment that explores the interaction between an abiotic and biotic factor of your choice. 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 an abiotic factor and a biotic factor and design an experiment that tests how they interact.

I will give you an example of an experiment that explores the relationship between the abiotic factor sunlight and biotic plants. THIS IS ONLY AN EXAMPLE. You may NOT use this experiment for this assignment. [Most of you did this experiment in second grade!]

The question might be “What is the effect of sunlight on pansies?”

The hypothesis might be “If I put pansies in a dark closet then they will not grow as well as pansies put in a lighted windowsill.”

The experimental plan could be:

1. Get six pansies (a type of flowering plant) that are the same species and as close to the same size as possible.

2. Put three pansies in the closet and three pansies on the windowsill in the sunlight.

3. Water all six plants the same.

4. Visually inspect the plants once a day for 14 days.

5. Record observations.

See how easy it is! Remember, you cannotdo an experiment with sunlight and plants for two reasons. One, you already know what the result will be. You did this already in second grade! 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, look outside. Make a list of 10 biotic factors and 10 abiotic factors. Then think of ways that the biotic things interact with the abiotic things. Think of experiments you could do to test how the factors interact.

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!!!

4. STOP!!!Submit your experimental design to me via email before going any further. I promise to 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 on your lab notes should be dated. (Month/day/year)

6. Follow the directions below to submit your assignment.


A. Re-send me your original question, your hypothesis, and your experimental plan.

B. Send me your lab notes. 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.

C. Based on your observations, write a conclusion. What does your data tell you? What did you learn from your experimental results?

D. What kind of relationships did you find between biotic and abiotic factors?

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.


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