It’s been a lovely break from running Science Sunday, but it’s time to take it back up and have the responsibility of running this again because it makes sure I get more science done than I have recently.
I have to admit part of why we haven’t been is because our science experiments and demonstrations have been failing. More often than I really care to admit. So today let’s talk about what to do when your experiment fails.
Because there are times your experiment turns out like this:
First look at why it failed
Here’s some questions to look at when you’re looking at why your experiment failed:
- Did you have the right equipment?
- Did you follow the procedure?
- Did you measure correctly?
- Did you put it in the right place?
We attempted to build a model of the lungs, and gathered all the materials we were told to, and then built it, but it didn’t work. The 2 liter jug kept collapsing under the pressure of the balloon.
Next what can you change?
Once you think you know why, can you change the reason it changed?
We tried an experiment to see how the mucus in our nose collects debris and keeps it from getting into our lungs. At the end of several days sitting on my counter, all we had proved is the water side dried and became wavy, and the honey was sticky, but had gathered nothing.
I think if we repeated this experiment I would try sprinkling dirt on the paper and demonstrating the honey catches it and keeps it from going anywhere, while the water side does nothing.
Repeat your experiment with the changes
If you have the time AND ABILITY to enact the changes, try the experiment again.
We tried the lung model using several different bottle variations, nothing worked, sometimes you just can’t get something to work.
I had a hangout on air, and was sent the kids upstairs with instructions to try different exercises and record how many times they breathed. They came back with results anywhere from 2 to 500. They obviously failed to measure correctly and to follow procedures.
We repeated it with me showing them how to measure it and got much more reliable results.
If you keep at it, and keep trying after your experiment has failed, then you can get the joy of seeing your experiment work:
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Now link up your SCIENCE posts for the week, and then visit some of the other posts linked up and say hi. I’m going to be pinning, commenting, FBing or tweeting all of the posts linked up as the week goes by.