About This Chapter
MCAS STE Biology: Scientific Method & Inquiry - Chapter Summary
Each scientific experiment begins with the curiosity of the scientist, but to turn a question into a reliable scientific experiment involves several standardized procedures. These lessons will review these procedures. By the end of the chapter, you will have reviewed:
- Steps involved in the scientific method
- Experimental design
- Developing a hypothesis
- Sampling techniques
- Tools for experiments and data collection
- Validity and reliability of research
- Evaluating data
- Inconsistent experiment results
- Unavoidable experimental error
- Sources for scientific research
- Making scientific conclusions
- Reading and understanding data
- Presenting your research
Each lesson contains several methods for effective learning. There is a video lesson to help illustrate the material and a clickable timeline so that you can easily review portions of the lesson. There is also a transcript of the video for text-based learning and a self-assessment quiz at the end of each lesson to test your application of the information.
MCAS STE Biology: Scientific Method & Inquiry Chapter Objectives
The MCAS STE Biology exam is a standardized exam taken by high school students in Massachusetts. The test assesses students' ability to meet proficiency standards in biology set by the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework. The exam has five major content areas including biochemistry and cell biology, genetics, anatomy and physiology, ecology and evolution and biodiversity. Since every scientific experiment follows the same set of standardized guidelines, questions about scientific method could be asked in regards to any of these five content areas.
The MCAS STE Biology exam is one of four STE (Science and Technology/Engineering) exams. Students must pass one of these exams with a scaled score of 220 or higher in order to qualify for graduation. The test itself is comprised of 40 multiple-choice questions and 5 open-ended responses.
1. The Scientific Method: Steps, Terms & Examples
The scientific method is a set of principles and procedures followed to gain knowledge through making questions and observations, performing experiments, and formulating and testing a hypothesis. Explore the key elements and real-life applications of the scientific method.
2. Experimental Design in Science: Definition & Method
The design of scientific experiments uses the scientific method to prove or disprove hypotheses. Learn the definition of the scientific method of experimentation, controls utilized in experimental design, and discover the differences between hypotheses, theories, and laws.
3. Developing a Scientific Hypothesis
A hypothesis is a statement developed by scientists that spells out what they anticipate will happen when an experiment is conducted. Discover the guidelines for creating a hypothesis, learn about Thomas Edison's famous hypotheses, and also how to correct a poor hypothesis.
4. Sampling Techniques In Scientific Investigations
Sampling techniques in scientific investigations include simple random, systematic, stratified, and cluster sampling. Explore how sampling reveals part of a whole and learn about the different sampling techniques.
5. Using Appropriate Tools for Scientific Tests & Data Collection
A properly run experiment depends on using the right tools, both for data collection and analysis. In the end, it will save you time, money and frustration to spend some time planning out which tools are most appropriate for your work.
6. Validity and Reliability: How to Assess the Quality of a Research Study
To be useful, a research study must be valid and reliable. Discover how to assess the quality of a research study using the concepts of validity and reliability.
7. Accuracy, Precision & Types of Errors in Data Evaluation
The data you present as a scientist needs to be as accurate, precise and error-free as possible. In this lesson, we'll discuss what each of these terms means, as well as how error is introduced into measurements and other data collection.
8. Identifying Potential Reasons for Inconsistent Experiment Results
Repeating an experiment helps ensure that you designed and implemented it correctly. But what if you don't get the same results each time? In this lesson, we'll explore potential reasons for this and how you might avoid it in the future.
9. Identifying Sources of Unavoidable Experimental Error
Good data are essential for any experiment. But no matter how hard you try, error in your data is unavoidable. In this lesson, you'll learn about the types of unavoidable experimental error to be on the lookout for and how to reduce their occurrence in your data.
10. Print & Electronic Sources for Scientific Research
Sources provide you with helpful background information that support your own work. You can find sources both online and in printed materials. There are benefits and drawbacks to each, so you'll need to consider which is best for you and your project.
11. Scientific Sources: Accuracy, Reliability & Validity
It's important to use other sources to support your work, but what's even more important is to use the right ones. Sources should be valid, reliable, and accurate, but it's not always easy to tell which ones meet these criteria.
12. Reaching & Applying Scientific Conclusions
In this lesson we'll look at the basics of inquiry investigations in science. After learning how to analyze data, we'll determine the steps for making conclusions and comparing alternate conclusions in science.
13. Presenting the Scientific Process Orally or in Writing
Part of being a good scientist involves sharing your work with others. Two of the most common ways this is done is through written works and oral presentations, both of which require a certain amount of care and skill.
14. How to Read Scientific Graphs & Charts
Scientists often rely on graphs and charts to organize information, as well as compare it to other scientific findings and share the information with others. Learn about the more commonly used scientific graphs and charts, including line graphs, as well as bar, pie, and flow charts. Understand the variables used to create these graphs and charts and recognize the x and y axes.
15. Interpreting Tables of Scientific Data: Practice Problems
To interpret tables that contain scientific data, the contents of the table shall be scanned and verified before trying to answer the question on your own. Explore in-depth discussion and practice problems on solving scientific table problems.
Earning College Credit
Did you know… We have over 220 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.
To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page
Other chapters within the MCAS - Science & Technology-Engineering - Biology: Test Prep & Practice course
- MCAS STE Biology: Chemistry of Life
- MCAS STE Biology: Enzymatic Biochemistry
- MCAS STE Biology: Organelles
- MCAS STE Biology: Cellular Structure & Transport
- MCAS STE Biology: Classification & Evolution
- MCAS STE Biology: Cellular Respiration & Photosynthesis
- MCAS STE Biology: Cell Growth & Reproduction
- MCAS STE Biology: DNA Replication
- MCAS STE Biology: Transcription & Translation
- MCAS STE Biology: Genetics & Heredity
- MCAS STE Biology: Digestive & Circulatory Systems
- MCAS STE Biology: Nervous & Endocrine Systems
- MCAS STE Biology: Respiratory & Musculoskeletal Systems
- MCAS STE Biology: The Reproductive System
- MCAS STE Biology: Evolution & Biodiversity
- MCAS STE Biology: Ecology
- MCAS STE Biology: The Science Lab
- MCAS STE Biology: Using Mathematics in Science
- MCAS - Science & Technology-Engineering - Biology Flashcards