Conclusion Writing

Reminder: Lab reports (one Google Doc per team shared with Mr. Swart), and the Plants Notes organizer (one per person) are both due Friday (May 25).  

Having acquired a deeper understanding of plant biology, we set our sights on the final piece of the Baggie Garden lab report: the Discussion / Conclusion section.  Remember, lab reports are organized into at least four parts in the following order:

  • Introduction (minimum of one paragraph)
    • State the scientific concept the lab is about.
    • Describe what you know about germination and how the lab is investigating the process of germination.  Include a discussion about how the energy used for germination is different from the energy used for plant growth.
    • State the hypothesis in if/then/because format for the experiment and then explain:
      • why this particular hypothesis was selected
      • how the experiment will add to your understanding of germination
  • Procedure:
    • Consists of a numbered list of steps
    • Each step includes one action
    • Must be detailed enough (including materials used) that someone unfamiliar with the lab could exactly repeat the experiment
  • Results
  • Discussion / Conclusion
    • Connect experimental results with Hypothesis.  Explain how the experimental design enabled you to test your hypothesis.
    • Explain how each manipulated variable affected the responding variable(s).  Be as specific as possible when describing the changes observed.  For example, as light intensity decreased from 200 lux to 40 lux (a decrease of 160 lux), the number of seeds germinating decreased from 80% to 40% (a decrease of 40%).
    • Explain how the data support your conclusion.  Regardless of whether your hypothesis was correct or incorrect, you now have data to help you better understand how the variable you selected impacts germination.  Explain that connection as thoroughly as possible.  By now, you may have read additional information about seed germination which may help you explain your results.  Include as much supporting evidence as possible from the sources you have examined.  If your results contradict what is published, explain how your results are different.  Provide a scientific explanation for the trend you observe in your data.
    • Provide a minimum of three possible sources of experimental error.  Explain how each possible source of error might influence the results your results.
    • Provide one opportunity to improve the experiment.  If you were to repeat this experiment, what would you do differently, and why?  Scientists work carefully and methodically, with experiments building on each other.  Think of your next experiment as the next step beyond your current experiment.

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