How to Test the Hypothesis of an Experiment for Kids
- 1). Identify the independent and dependent variables in your experiments. The independent variable is the particular thing of which you are testing the effect. The dependent variable is the thing that changes to allow you to determine the effect of the independent variable. For example, if your hypothesis was that "Rock music increases children's' heart rates" then the type of music would be the independent variable and the heart rate would be the dependent variable. The aim is to ensure that only the independent variable could be affecting the dependent variable.
- 2). Write down a basic idea for an experiment. In the example given above, the simplest idea would be to take a person's heart rate with no music, then play them rock music and take the heart rate again. Criticize your original idea. Science is all about identifying mistakes and trying to correct them. For example, any music could make the heart rate increase, not just rock music.
- 3). Create a control group if necessary. The control group goes through everything the experimental group does, except that nothing is done to them. In the example above, a control group could be led into the testing room and told to sit down, with no music being played to them. This shows you how much people's heart rate might increase by simply being the center of attention. Control groups are more useful when testing the effects of a remedy. For example, if you were trying to prove that chicken soup can cure the common cold, you would have a control group who had a cold which was left untreated and an experimental group who got the soup. Then, you could see if the soup makes a difference compared to the group who had no soup.
- 4). Edit and improve your experiment plan. For example, you could take a no-music heart rate for all your participants and then split them into three groups. One group could listen to rock, another to soul and a final group to classical music. This experiment will tell you if rock music increases heart rates more than any other type of music and compared to no music at all.
- 5). Ensure that all possible other variables are controlled. Anything that could affect the dependent variable should be controlled. In the example given, if the person received an annoying or exciting text message while listening to the rock music, this could cause a spike in the pulse rate unrelated to the music. These variables should be removed if possible. In the example, tell all participants to switch their phones off prior to testing.
- 6). Check the results of your test against your hypothesis. If you assumed that rock music would increase the heart rate of the listener, but most of the rock music group maintained a steady heart rate throughout, your hypothesis was incorrect. If the pulse rate rose significantly, then your hypothesis can be confirmed. Remember, a disproven hypothesis is as important as a proven one.