Ch 17: MCAS STE Biology: Scientific Method & Inquiry

About This Chapter

Use the lessons in this chapter to review the essential processes involved in formulating and testing a scientific question. These lessons will help you prepare for questions on the MCAS STE Biology exam.

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.

15 Lessons in Chapter 17: MCAS STE Biology: Scientific Method & Inquiry
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Scientific Method: Steps, Terms & Examples

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.

Experimental Design in Science: Definition & 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.

Developing a Scientific Hypothesis

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.

Sampling Techniques In Scientific Investigations

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.

Using Appropriate Tools for Scientific Tests & Data Collection

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.

Validity and Reliability: How to Assess the Quality of a Research Study

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.

Accuracy, Precision & Types of Errors in Data Evaluation

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.

Identifying Potential Reasons for Inconsistent Experiment Results

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.

Identifying Sources of Unavoidable Experimental Error

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.

Print & Electronic Sources for Scientific Research

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.

Scientific Sources: Accuracy, Reliability & Validity

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.

Reaching & Applying Scientific Conclusions

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.

Presenting the Scientific Process Orally or in Writing

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.

How to Read Scientific Graphs & Charts

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.

Interpreting Tables of Scientific Data: Practice Problems

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.

Chapter Practice Exam
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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