The museum is back after last month’s hiatus and the guides are eager to share about the most memorable thing I learned in science class.
In preparation, let me say that I almost skipped this month’s exhibit. You see, I was a social studies and literature geek, science and math (especially math) were subjects that were challenging for me. My initial thought on this was that I couldn’t actually think of anything I learned in science class. Womp womp. But then I toured Kym’s exhibit. And Bonny’s. And the wheels began to turn and I realized that there is something very memorable that I learned in science class.
The controlled experiment.
Here are three things you need to know about this topic from ThoughtCo:
- A controlled experiment is simply an experiment in which all factors are held constant except for one: the independent variable.
- A common type of controlled experiment compares a control group against an experimental group. All variables are identical between the two groups except for the factor being tested.
- The advantage of a controlled experiment is that it is easier to eliminate uncertainty about the significance of the results.
I think I learned this concept in 6th grade but it may have been 7th. And it’s something that I still think about often. Mostly, I think of it in terms of dismissing results because the variables weren’t controlled! But I know it comes into play when I’m making sourdough bread or pizza, when I’m gardening or even playing around with paint.
For the purposes of this month’s exhibit, suppose I want to know if my sourdough started responds better to bread flour instead of regular flour. I would separate my starter into two containers and feed one with the bread flour and one with the regular flour. And then I would treat them exactly the same otherwise . . . same light exposure, same temperature, same glass jars, etc. I would then measure the results and see if there is a difference. (Spoiler alert, bread flour is better for feeding a starter.)
That’s sort of it for my scientific knowledge but thinking about this month’s exhibit has got me thinking about science in general and how it shows up in my daily life more than I realize. And that’s got to be a good thing.