A FEW THOUGHTS ON SCIENCE PROJECTS
Please plan ahead and check due dates. DO NOT do your work the night before because if you get stuck, there will be no time to ask for help.
4 QUESTION APPROACH:
1) What organisms are available for doing experiments with?
2) What are the measureable behaviors this organism exhibits?
3) What can I change in the environment of this organism to affect its behaviors (INDEPENDENT VARIABLE)?
4) How do I quantify the measurement (quantitative / standardized data) of the organism's response to the change (DEPENDENT VARIABLE)?
Your project paper should be focused on 1) the organism species you are experimenting on; 2) its behaviors; and lastly on 3) your INDEPENDENT VARIABLE that you are going to change. For instance, if you are going to choose crickets to experimeint on (1) you should focus your paper on that species' behaviors (2) and what you might change in that organisms environment (3) like cigarette smoke. Your paper would discuss the characteristics and behaviors of crickets and investigate the contents of cigarette smoke that might cause the behavior changes.
When you answer the above questions, then you can produce your PROBLEM:
To what extent does (#3 INDEPENDENT VARIABLE) affect (#4 DEPENDENT VARIABLE)?
Then you can produce your HYPOTHESIS:
As the (#3 INDEPENDENT VARIABLE) increases the (#4 DEPENDENT VARIABLE) will ...
Organisms available for doing experiments and where to find them:
At any pet store: goldfish, mealworms, crickets
At Pet Country 732 N Main in Corona: blood worms or back worms or Tubifex worms as experimented on in class *(this may be the easiest of all organisms to deal with)*
At Elliotts for Pets 6203 Magnolia in Riverside: Elodea aquarium plants, duckweed, snails (aquarium)
In any backyard: native birds (for behavioral / choices studies), yard snails, roly polies, crickets, ants, trees with fruit, earthworms (dig em)
In any kitchen: bread mold
At any bait shop: earthworms
How do you find resources for your review of literature?
1) Start by Googling your organism. Find its scientific name (Genus species). Find alternative names for your organism that you can use to search for it with. What sources are available on the Web?
2) Use Santiago's Infotrac to search for your topic: http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/santiagohs the password is "sharks" (a fairly worthless database for science)
3) Try using a different version of Infotrac that allows you to go deeper and find journals: http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/klnb_main (use the password "dog5blue") Try the "Expanded Academic ASAP" or "Students Edition" or "Infotrac Onefile" once you're in. This will take some time. Try limiting your searches to "full text".
NEW! 4) Try finding "free" online jounal references through HiWire, service of Stanford University
5) If you find some terrific articles that you cannot get full text for (journals that are not available online) you may need to visit the Science Library at UCR. You will be allowed, once inside, to ask how to find journals online. You will have full access and be able to print them out. Last year it was free. Be prepared to pay per page (around 10 cents) to make copies with their printers. This is much cheaper than buying them full price online.
6) If your parents have access to academic databases (like infotrac) please ask them for help and access.