Unit 9.1.2 - The experimental method


  • To appreciate the role of variables in investigation
  • To understand the need for observation and communication skills


Matter: states and properties of matter.

Particle/kinetic theory, diffusion.

Pure and impure substances. Types of mixtures (solutions, oils, alloys, emulsions)

Separation techniques, including filtration, distillation [including crude oil - myp10], chromatography.


There is no one specific experimental method but each investigation shares some common factors:

  1. Observation
  2. Hypothesis
  3. Experimentation
  4. Evidence to support the hypothesis
  5. Theory
  6. Confirmation (peer)
  7. Theory accepted

It must be stressed that ALL of our knowledge comes from experimentation or logical deduction. However, we do not and cannot KNOW anything due to the nature of the universe. All theories are merely supported by evidence until the day they are not. A theory cannot be proved by experiment, but it can be disproved.

Student follow up

The students are presented with a series of simple experiments and asked to discuss whether or not they are good 'science'

This could be done in groups with each group charged with presentation of their findings.

Teacher's notes



The scientific method

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