The Scientific Process
by Yvette Osio
The scientific process is a great system in which to find answers to any scientific question that you might have. After you have figured out what is is that you would like to know you move on to making a scientific hypothesis that involves background knowledge about the subject. This hypothesis is either going to be proved correct or incorrect, but either way it will probably leave you with even more questions. Then comes the fun part: actually setting up an experiment that could possibly answer your question(s). During the experiment you have to collect data about everything done in the experiment and you could set up all of the information any way that is helpful to your understanding. After all of the data is collected you get to revise all of it and draw conclusions from what you have.
I have always been really concerned with our environment which is one of the reasons I have looked into becoming an environmental lawyer, so my experimental question was: To what extent does kitchen residue contaminate our water source? Whenever someone cooks in the kitchen a lot goes down the drain including leftover fruits, vegetables and even oil.
I predicted that any test tube that there would be a great impact on the water's pH level as well as the conductivity when it is contaminated by kitchen residue.
In this experiment my independent variables were the cilantro and the oil and my dependent variable was the water because the water's properties are dependent on the change that the residue makes. My control was clean water because it is what the water would regularly be at, so it can be used as reference when I look at the ending results (since there will be a change). Stephanie and I decided to use 4 different test tubes for our experiment: one that contains only water (control), one that contains only water and oil, one that contains only water and cilantro, and one that contains water, cilantro, and oil. We measured the pH, the temperature, and the conductivity before, as well as after, we mixed in everything within each test tube. Each test tube that contains oil will contain 0.0025 g of oil; meanwhile, each test tube that contains cilantro will contain 0.0125 g of cilantro.
The two main test tubes that I would like to focus on are Test Tube #3 (everything) and Test Tube #4 (control) because these show the change of clean water. After the experiment, Test Tube #4 was at 7.3 pH units while Test Tube #4 was at 6.8 units. Although this is not a huge change, the water did become more acidic (since it moved down on the pH scale.
We performed the experiment as accurate as we could, but since it was only a simulation of the average that people throw down the drain we can not be exactly sure. It was super shrunk down to what actually happens, so maybe a better simulation might be a little bigger (which probably would not be a good idea because of the drought). Something else that could have altered the results was the fact that our scale only when up to the tenths when measuring the units.