Science always attempts to comprehend and explain the world we live in. As a result, investigators, scientists and researchers are always looking for information to explain different phenomena that occur in our daily lives. Despite the diversity of the research concerning life phenomenon, a universal approach to scientific problems is employed by all researchers. This approach is known as scientific approach. Scientific approach entails the process of recognizing the existence of a problem, data accumulation, formation of tentative hypotheses, and controlled experimentation.
One of the common lab aids used for scientific method is ob-scertainers. An ob-scertainer kit consists of 24 opaque chambers that are paired to give 12 different interior structures and 24 steel balls, one for each of the ob-scertainers (opaque chambers). This tool kit has a variety of uses. First of all it introduces the student to scientific method of problem solving. Secondly it also helps the student to train his brain to think from a scientific perspective when solving problems.
When using an ob-scertainer as a lab aid, the emphasis of the lab activities is on behavioral observation and reaction rather than think what it is. It also emphasizes on the development of scientific method of problem solving. Here students develop a hypothesis from experimentation about their inner configuration of one of the twelve different ob-scertainers. This majorly entails the use of indirect observation, where student guess or hypothesize the inner configuration of the ob-scertainers using other senses. After making a hypothesis, the students are then allowed to test the hypothesis and make a new one if necessary. At the end of the experiment, the real configuration of the ob-scertainers is revealed and once can see whether they hypothesized right.
In this report, we look at an experiment that was carries out using five different ob-scertainers. The report looks at the hypothesis making process, the testing process and whether the hypotheses were actually correct or null. It also looks at the factors influencing the hypothesis making process and what can be learnt from the processes in terms of aspects of scientific methods such as observation and making inferences.
Scientific inquiry is an essential part of scientific method. It requires the investigation to a question. In this case, the question is what is the configuration or design inside the closed ob-scertainers given. In order to solve the problem one needs to be patient and extremely attentive during the investigation process. The only known data that was available was that a closed ob-scertainer has a steel ball that is capable of moving within the partitions and walls. The first step of the investigation process is establishing the hypothesis. A hypothesis is a tentative answer to the problem. In this case, our hypothesis was arrived at using our sense of hearing and intuition, that is, we listened to the number of clicks that the steel ball made in the interior of the ob-scertainers. This was due to the fact that we could see or touch the inside of the ob-scertainers and had to track the movement of the steel balls using our other senses; a characteristic example of indirect observation. Different shapes were hypothesized for container 1, 2, 3, 7 and 10. In the tentative answer, the following
When trying to solve the problem, it was possible to arrive at tentative shapes of the configuration inside some of the containers but not others. Our hypothesis and ability to unravel the configuration inside the containers were mainly affected by source of noise that interfered with our ability to clearly hear the number of clicks the steel balls made inside each of the four ob-scertainer we had. After hypothesizing and reaching testing the hypothesis for the model containers given, we decided to change some of the hypothesis we had initially made. This was the case in ob-scertainer 2 and 3. In the rest of the containers the hypothesis did not change much after testing our initial hypothesis. However, once the inside configuration of the ob-scertainers was revealed, some of the hypothesis were not in accordance with the exact configuration of the given container while some of the hypothesis were right.
For the container 1, the initial hypothesis was that the inner configuration was a straight line cutting across the middle of the container. After retesting, another hypothesis was developed that it was a straight line towards the end of the container. Eventually the when the actual model was revealed to us, it was in agreement with our initial hypothesis.
Our indirect observation in container led us to believe that container had a configuration of a straight line cutting across the middle of the container. When we did a retest, the hypothesis changed to that the inner configuration of container two was an acute triangle that touched the edges of the ob-scertainers. This was actual the true configuration of the model.
We were not able to accurately hypothesize the actual model of container one. Both our initial hypothesis and retest hypothesis showed that the model was a straight line at the towards the end of the container and touching both edges. The actual model was a square touching the container with all its edges. Lack of proper observation may have resulted due to lack of paying proper attention to the number of clicks the steel ball made in the containers and the direction towards which the steel ball made a movement after the clicks.
In our fourth ob-scertainer, ob-scertainer 7, we hypothesized that the model was an acute triangle both in the initial test and the retest. However, the actual model was a straight line extending from one edge of the container towards the middle of the container. The sources of error in our hypothesis were similar to those of ob-scertainer one. Furthermore, it was difficult to track the movement of the steel ball in such an internal configuration and different model hypothesis could be deduced if one did not pay close attention to the movement of the steel balls.
In ob-scertainer three, the actual model was a circle in the middle of the container. During the test and the retest, the steel ball made random clicks hence it was also difficult to come up with a hypothesis that was almost an exact match with the actual model of the ob-scertainer.
From the results of the experimental observation, I believe my observations skills are average. This is because one of the hypotheses made, hypothesis in ob-scertainer two, was the same as the actual model. Secondly, it is only in three cases, ob-scertainers 10, 3 and 7, that the hypotheses made were total different from the actual model. In container 1, the hypothesis made from indirect observation was slightly off the observation of the actual model.
It is evident that some of my hypotheses were wrong while some were right. The experiment enabled me to realize that scientific method of problem solving is a process that calls for a great deal of attention otherwise indirect observations made would be incorrect. The testing and retesting process was quite good and enabled us to enhance our capability to make better indirect observations and come up with more accurate hypothesis. However, it was difficult to actual determine the actual model of some of the ob-scertainers such as ob-scertainer 10 and 3. In order to be successful in making indirect observation, the crucial factor is the using your sense and great concentration in the process. Relying on ones intuition only does not always give one the correct observation.
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