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The Process of Science (Worth 20 points) Lab 1

Biology 120 Cascadia Community College

You will work in assigned groups of 3-4, turn in your own entire lab worksheet, and prepare some group components.

You must read the lab before coming to class and complete any pre-lab questions. Your pre-lab is due at the start of class. Remember, if you do not have your pre-lab signed by me, you may not participate in the lab. Each lab activity and the accompanying questions will be completed during the laboratory period. See the weekly schedule for due dates. Recall that science means to know and in science, there are two ways of knowing: induction and deduction. Induction entails making lots of observations and, from those observations, coming up with general statements that describe the world. As an example of induction, a couple hundred years ago, you might have watched lots of specific bird migrations and come to the general conclusion that birds fly south for the winter. Deduction is basically the opposite of induction. In deduction, you have prior information or an already established idea of how the world works. Then, you take these ideas and test them on something specific. As an example of deduction, you might start with the now known generalization that birds fly south for the winter and then test this generalization on specific birds that frequent Washington. You might set up radio collars or some other way to experimentally track their migration.

Pre-lab: Please read the lab and complete the questions on pages 1-3 before class.
Question: Describe the steps of the traditional scientific method. (1 pt) Observation- Gaining knowledge about the subject in which you will experiment on Question- Forming a question based off the observations you have gathered Hypothesis- making a testable educated guess Prediction- to the best of your knowledge predicting how the experiment will go Experiment- Conduct the experiment, which should be able to be recreated and repeated Question: What is a controlled experiment? Why is it important to keep all variables but one constant in a scientific experiment? (1 pt) A controlled experiment has a control group that allows for a baseline to compare data. It is important to one have one variable so you can make sure that it was that vairiable to contributed to the results ` Question: Briefly explain the following interactions: (1 pt) i. Competition- creatures fighting over the same limited resource (can be inter or intraspecies ii. Predation- a predator kills and consumes prey iii. Herbivory- consumption of plants by animals, may not be fatal iv. Parasitism- a parasite lives on a host and consumes it v. Mutualism- two creatures that provides services that benefit both

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An Introduction to Modeling:
Today we are going to do some modeling. Though the word model may sound intimidating, we (often unknowingly) create and use models on a daily basis. Simply put, a model is a representation of something. For example, you might build a small model airplane, as a representation of a real airplane. While your model is obviously not a real airplane, it would likely be a good enough representation that if you showed it to a 5 year old, he or she could tell you its an airplane. There are lots of types of models, and we will specifically be working with scientific models. Scientific models are used by scientists to depict their current understanding of how the world works. These models incorporate both the components and the processes of a system. The components are what we see in a system. They may be biotic (such as trees, animals, and bacteria) or abiotic (such as light, temperature, and nutrient availability in the soil.) The processes (such as photosynthesis, competition, and parasitism) explain how the components interact and ultimately, why the components are even there. Question: Why is a model airplane not an example of a scientific model? (1 pt) Because it doesnt represent all the components of a real airplane Question: What is the difference between biotic and abiotic components? (1 pt) Biotic components are living and abiotic components deal with inanimate objects

Scientific models may be quantitative or Exponential growth model: qualitative. Quantitative scientific models use numbers and equations to represent how the world works. You may have heard of a population growth model called exponential growth (see the figure to the right). This model is based on the equation: Nt = N0 ert, where population level some time in the future (Nt) is a function of the population level right now (N0), time (t), and the populations growth rate (r). In essence, the equation suggests that any population left unchecked will grow very quickly. The components of this system include bacteria and their growing conditions. The main process is that bacteria positively affect the overall population. More bacteria mean more asexual reproduction, which leads to a larger population. Not all scientific models contain number or equations. Some are qualitative. In this type of scientific modeling, the components and its processes are depicted using symbols, pictures, and diagrams. This is the type of modeling we will be using today.

Developing your Model (hypothesis): Qualitative Concept Modeling

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For this class, you will model a campus ecosystem of your choice. Please think carefully about the type of ecosystem (from uplands to wetlands) and spatial scale you will study. To create a scientific model of your ecosystem, the first step is to draw your systems components (biotic and abiotic) and processes as you currently think they work. You can begin by drawing a diagram of the ecosystems biotic and abiotic components. Please represent the biotic components with circles or ovals and the abiotic components with rectangles. In the example below, I am starting my lawn ecosystem with two components. Dandelions (in an oval) are biotic and sunlight (in a rectangle) is abiotic.

Example: Components of a Lawn Ecosystem Dandelion Sunlight

Next, draw in your processes. If two components interact, they may affect each other (or themselves) in three different ways. They may have a positive effect, a negative effect, or no effect. Sometimes, you see these represented as +, , and 0. But for our illustrations, please represent a positive effect with an arrowhead ( ), a negative effect with a circle ( ), and no effect with a simple line ( ). In the example below, note that sunlight positively affects dandelions (arrowhead), but dandelions have no known effect on sunlight (simple line).

Example: Components and Processes of a Lawn Ecosystem Dandelion Sunlight

Question: Describe the process (from your list on page 1) that pts) Competition (inter or intraspecies) for a limited resource

represents. (0.5

Question: How would you represent mutualism? (0.5 pts) Arrows pointing in each direction

___________________Pre-lab ends here___________________

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Go outside and find a nice spot. If on the trail, please stay within one meter of the trail. On a separate piece of paper, spend 30 minutes creating your scientific model. To keep your system manageable, please include only 7-15 components. Each component should have one or more process associated with it. Each component should be visible to the naked eye. (3 pts) Question: Explain why the scientific model you have drawn is a hypothesis. (1 pt)

Question: The processes you have drawn are direct effects, how one component affects or is affected by another component. Examine your model and describe at least one indirect effect. (Using my lawn ecosystem example, perhaps sunlight has a positive indirect effect on rabbits because the more dandelions that there are, the more food there is for rabbits.) (1 pt)

Question: The model you have proposed is likely on a short-term time scale. Perhaps it is how you think the ecosystem works during a particular season. Giving an example, how might patterns in your ecosystem appear differently over longer time scales? (1 pt)

Testing your Hypothesis (RAIN OR SHINE!)

Now that you have developed your scientific model you can test it! Examine your model and choose something that you would like to investigate. Run this idea by me before you design your experiment!!! Once your hypothesis has been approved, write it in the space below.

Spend 20-30 minutes designing your experiment (on a separate sheet of paper) and creating a data sheet. Recall that a good experiment has three components. First, a good experiment provides objective, measurable data. Second, a good experiment is replicated and can be reproduced. Will the results change if you use a different test subject? Can someone else do your experiment and get your same results? Third, a good experiment is controlled. In other words, to know if what you are testing has an effect, you must be able to compare it with something. This standard comparison is your control group. The group in which you change one variable is your experimental group. Your experimental design is worth 3 pts. Supplies at your disposal include tape measurers, quadrats (squares), stopwatches, binoculars, soil pH meters, digital air thermometers/hygrometers, light meters, d-tapes,
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clinometers, compasses, and the like, but you must have your equipment list ready to me today. ABSOLUTELY NO DESTRUCTIVE SAMPLING!!! Please do not enter the wetland or trample the maintained plant beds. PLEASE RUN YOUR EXPERIMENT BY ME BEFORE YOU LEAVE CLASS. Tomorrow, you will have 45 minutes to carry out your experiment, and I will only bring the gear you request.

Day 2 Meet at the break out area just outside of room 302 Run your Experiment
Pick up supplies and take a maximum of 45 minutes to run your experiment. This is a rain or shine event!

Results and Conclusions ***Note: If you do not participate in carrying out the experiment, you will not have an opportunity to earn the following 5 points.
Question: Using EXCEL or another computer program, prepare ONE graph your groups data. There are two basic ways to plot your data. If you only have a discrete number of variables, you can calculate and plot means (see figure below-left). If you choose this option, you need to tell me your sample size for each variable (for example, n=10). If your variable is continuous, you can graph a scatter plot and fit a trendline through it (see figure below-right). (2 pts)
Relationship Betw een Dandelion Populations and Canopy Cover

Mean Number of Dandelions per m2

12 10 8 6 4 2 0

Relationship Betw een Dandelion Populations and Canopy Cover 15

Mean Number of Dandelions per m2


Full Sunlight (n=10) Some Canopy Cover (n=10)

25 50 75 Percentage Canopy Cover


EACH student must answer the following 2 questions in their own words: Question: In 2-3 sentences, summarize your conclusions. (2 pts)

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Question: Did the data from your experiment support your hypothesis? If not, how might you modify your model (hypothesis) to better reflect what is actually happening in your ecosystem? (If you write in a different color, you can draw your modifications on your original diagram. (1 pt)

Lab 1 checklist Before you leave on day 1 of the lab:

______ Did you get your lab marked for completing your prelab? ______ Have I reviewed and approved your ecosystem model? ______ Did you make appropriate adjustments to your model? ______ Have you and your teammates identified a testable / measurable hypothesis in your model? ______ Have you determined what data you will collect and how you will collect it (methods, tools)? Consider: 1) you only have 45 min to complete your experiment and 2) you will need to create a graph or chart of your data. ______ Does your experiment include a control group? ______ Have I reviewed and approved your experimental design?

On day 2 of the lab:

Meet me tomorrow in front of the lab (CC1-302), instead of in our lecture room. I will have your measurement tools ready. After 45 minutes, return them to the same location. Then head to the lecture room for the remainder of the class.

To turn in on Lab 1 due date:

Your completed lab worksheet with all questions answered (one per individual) Your ecosystem model (one per team) Your experimental design (one per team) The graph of your results (one per team) Attach lab worksheets for all group members together, along with the model, design and graph.
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Help with EXCEL Open a blank EXCEL spreadsheet. The cursor appears in the upper left cell, A1. (A stands for the column A, 1 stands for row 1.) If you have a discrete number of variables (for example if you are comparing the number of dandelions in full sunlight vs. the number of dandelions under some canopy cover): Start by making a table of your data. Click to select cell B1 and type in the name of your first variable (e.g.: Full sunlight); Click to select cell C2 and type in the name of your second variable (e.g.: Some canopy cover). Click to select cell B2 and type in your first piece of data for your first variable; click to select cell B3 to enter you second piece of date for your first variable; continue until all of your data are entered for the first variable. Follow the same process to enter you date for your second variable, but enter them into the C column. Next youll need to take the mean (average) of each column of data. To do so for column B, select the cell just below your data. If you are in the Home tab, look for a symbol and youll see a pull down arrow to the right of it. Click the pull down menu and then click Average. You will see your column B data in a box and the text =Average(B#:B#) in the cell underneath your data. Hit the return/enter key on your keyboard and the mean will appear. Follow this same procedure for column C. In the cell to the left of your means type Means. Next youll graph your means. Select the names of your variables (the cells are in row 1) by left clicking on the name of your variable in your B column and dragging to the right until all of the names are encompassed by the box. Release the click. Then hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and select your means (by left clicking on the mean in your B column and dragging to the right until all of the means are encompassed by an additional box.). Release both your left click and the keyboard. Click on the Insert tab near the top of the screen and a group of new selections will show up. Left click on Column and then select the 2-D Column in the upper left-hand corner. Excel will insert a graph of your data points into your spread sheet. Click the Layout tab and Axis titles. Label your x and y-axes. Click Chart title and give your graph a descriptive title. Save the worksheet however you like. You can now print your figure or copy-paste the graph to a Word document and print. If your dependent variable is continuous, (for example if you are comparing the number of dandelions against the percentage of canopy cover): Click to select cell A1 and type in the name of your first variable (e.g.: Number of Dandelions); Click to select cell B2 and type in the name of your second variable (e.g.: Percentage canopy cover) Click cells under each variable to enter in your data.
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Select all of your data by left clicking on A2 and dragging down and to the right until all of your data are encompassed by the box. Click on the Insert tab near the top of the screen and a group of new selections will show up. Left click on Scatter and then select the icon in the upper left-hand corner. Excel will insert a graph of your data points into your spread sheet. Right click on one of the data points on the graph. Click Add Trendline. Click Close. Click the Layout tab and Axis titles. Label your x and y-axes. Click Chart title and give your graph a descriptive title. Save the worksheet however you like. You can now print your figure or copy-paste the graph to a Word document and print. To add a graph to a Word document: From inside a Word document, place cursor where you will want the graph to appear. Go back (or re-open) your Excel file that contains the graph. Click somewhere inside the white area of your graph to select it. Then Right click and select Copy. Return to your Word document to the area you want to insert the graph. Click where you want to insert and then Right click and select Paste. The graph should show up in your Word document.

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