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Task 5 - Collecting data

This task is due for the fourth lesson.

Student Conservation Association interns collecting data at Jamaica Bay's Big Egg Marsh. NPS PHOTO
NPS PHOTO. Student Conservation Association interns collecting data at Jamaica Bay's Big Egg Marsh (Public Domain)

Collect data - before starting

After you have your detailed experimental procedure in hand, there are a few more things to do before:

  • Know what to do. Read and understand your experimental procedure. Are all of the necessary steps written down? Do you have any questions about how to do any of the steps?
  • Get a laboratory notebook for taking notes and collecting data.
  • Be prepared. Collect and organize all materials, supplies and equipment you will need to do the experiment. Do you have all of the materials you need?Are they handy and within reach of your workspace?
  • Think ahead about safety!  Are there any safety precautions you should take? Will you need adult supervision? Will you need to wear gloves or protective eye gear? Do you have long hair that needs to be pulled back out of your face? Will you need to be near a fire extinguisher?

Taken from: Science Buddies - Science Fair Projects - Conducting an experiment

Collect data

  • Follow your experimental procedure exactly. If you need to make changes in the procedure (which often happens), write down the changes exactly as you made them.
  • Be consistent, careful, and accurate when you take your measurements. Numerical measurements are best.
  • In addition to your data, record your observations as you perform the experiment. Your observations will be useful when you analyze your data and draw conclusions.
  • If your experiment also has qualitative data (not numerical), then take a photo or draw a picture of what happens.
  • Take pictures of your experiment for use on your report.
  • Stay organized and be safe! Keep your workspace clean and organized as you conduct your experiment.
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Taken from: Science Buddies - Science Fair Projects - Conducting an experiment