# Scientific Investigations - What's Your Conclusion? #1

In this worksheet, students will focus on the concluding aspect of scientific investigations - how to interpret results and relate them to the hypothesis that started the investigation.

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Exam-Style Questions: SATs Science

Curriculum subtopic:   Exam-Style Questions: Concluding

Difficulty level:

### QUESTION 1 of 10

This whole series of activities based around Scientific Investigations is designed to help you to look at the process of investigations in greater detail, breaking each aspect down to see what it's about.

You see, the EdPlace team are here to support you on your journey to becoming an investigative ace!

Remember, the start of the journey was an idea.

Then, through the plannning and the carrying out of the investigation, the question it began with is still there, hoping to be answered.

Then come the results of that investigation and the BIG MOMENT - was the hypothesis supported or not?

Right?  Wrong??  Something else?

You see, that's where we are today - looking at the results and comparing them with the original question and drawing conclusions from them - "what have we found out?"

So, let's say that you offered your little sister the choice of a bar of chocolate or an apple and she chose the chocolate - what would you conclude about her preferences?

Now, Billie and his friends Ella and Harry have been testing lots of ideas to make conkers stronger.

They love playing "conkers" in the autumn when the horse-chestnut trees drop their load of shiny brown nuts in spiky cases.

They dangle conkers on a string and try to knock their opponent's conker off.

Trouble is, they often break too quickly, so the friends have been testing out ideas to make them last longer.

Let's see whether they've found anything out....

The three friends had heard lots of tales about "hardening" conkers and they decided to investigate these, using the Scientific Method to see whether any of them actually worked.

The methods were:

OVEN BAKING
SOAKING IN VINEGAR
COATING IN VARNISH
LEAVING FOR A YEAR TO DRY OUT

To test the conkers fairly, they decided to drop a 1kg mass on to each type of conker and see how many "drops" it took to break the conker.

What sort of height would you recommend they drop the 1kg mass from?

1cm

10cm

50cm

100cm

How many conkers would you recommend they test for each of their 'hardening' methods?

1

5

10

25

Their first set of results looked like this:

TYPE OF CONKER OVEN-BAKED VINEGAR-SOAKED VARNISHED LAST YEAR'S
No. OF DROPS TO BREAK IT 3 1 1 5

The young scientists quickly realised that they'd made a massive mistake as they'd missed out one particular type of conker.

This is known as the 'control' conker.

In the box write ONE word to say what they will have done to the control conker to be able to compare it with the others.

So, our team of intrepid investigators carried out their experiment on their FIVE different types of conker.

Here are their results:

TYPE OF CONKER: CONTROL OVEN- BAKED VINEGAR SOAKED VARNISHED LAST YEAR'S
No. OF DROPS TO BREAK IT 1 4 2 1 6

Ignoring the control conker, put the four methods of 'doctoring their conkers' in order of how effective they were, according to these results.  Put them in Best to Worst order.

## Column B

Best
Vinegar-soaked
Second best
Oven-baked
Third Best
Last Year's
Worst
Varnished

From these results, you can see the importance of the control conker.

TYPE OF CONKER: CONTROL OVEN-BAKED VINEGAR SOAKED VARNISHED LAST YEAR'S
No. OF DROPS TO BREAK IT 1 4 2 1 6

Group the results into two pairs: those that were a significant improvement on the control conker and those that performed about as well as the control conker.

 Significantly better than control conker Little or no better than control conker Oven-baked Vinegar-soaked Varnished Last year's

Billie, Harry and Ella discussed their experimental method and their results and one of their conclusions was that there were several ways of improving their method of testing the conkers in order to obtain more reliable results.

Tick the ones you think they should include in their list of improvements.

Use more conkers

Try different dropping heights

Use different weights

Check the room temperature beforehand

Always do the investigation in October

Test undrilled and pre-drilled conkers

When the young scientists wrote up their conclusions from their investigation, they varied a bit.

This is what each of them wrote:

HARRY: "The oldest conkers worked best."

ELLA: "We found that of the different methods tried for improving a conker's battle-performance, using old conkers was the best method and coating them with varnish, the worst."

BILLIE: "When we tested ways of making conkers last longer in a game of conkers, our method showed us that using older conkers was six times better than the control conker, with oven-baked conkers lasting four times as long.  Vinegar-soaked conkers were twice as good as the control conker whilst coating them with varnish did not make them last longer."

Which of the three friends has considered all of the test conditions in their conclusion?

Harry

Ella

Billie

Here are their conclusions again:

HARRY: "The oldest conkers worked best."

ELLA: "We found that of the different methods tried for improving a conker's battle-performance, using old conkers was the best method and coating them with varnish, the worst."

BILLIE: "When we tested ways of making conkers last longer in a game of conkers, our method showed us that using older conkers was six times better than the control conker, with oven-baked conkers lasting four times as long.  Vinegar-soaked conkers were twice as good as the control conker whilst coating them with varnish did not make them last longer."

Which of the conclusions would tell you which of the "improvements" was the MOST effective?

Harry

Ella

Billie

All of them

If a conker that falls from a horse chestnut tree in autumn manages to escape the conker battles and stays hidden in the leaf litter it may, in time, sprout a root and grow into a sapling.

Harry

Ella

Billie

All of them

In October the leaves of the horse chestnut tree turn brown and fall to the ground.

What name is given to trees that lose their leaves in autumn?

Defoliation

Deciduous

Decomposers

Dehydration

• Question 1

The three friends had heard lots of tales about "hardening" conkers and they decided to investigate these, using the Scientific Method to see whether any of them actually worked.

The methods were:

OVEN BAKING
SOAKING IN VINEGAR
COATING IN VARNISH
LEAVING FOR A YEAR TO DRY OUT

To test the conkers fairly, they decided to drop a 1kg mass on to each type of conker and see how many "drops" it took to break the conker.

What sort of height would you recommend they drop the 1kg mass from?

10cm
EDDIE SAYS
In order to make some conclusions about this investigation, you need to get into it first, so here's a question to make you think about actually doing it. Did you get a ruler out and look? Did you SEE how high up 50cm is? Would you want a tin of baked beans (0.4kg) dropping on your foot from that height (that's half a metre)? 1cm is way too small, so clearly 10cm seems a reasonable height ... until you've ACTUALLY tried it, of course, and really find out whether it's OK or not!
• Question 2

How many conkers would you recommend they test for each of their 'hardening' methods?

10
EDDIE SAYS
That needs thinking about! 1 is no good - anything can go wrong and with only one result you'll probably learn nothing. 5's not bad but 10 is better - a decent spread of different conkers, so there's a reasonable chance of getting some reliable data. 25's probably too many for the test the young scientists are doing - it'll take forever and they'll get bored!
• Question 3

Their first set of results looked like this:

TYPE OF CONKER OVEN-BAKED VINEGAR-SOAKED VARNISHED LAST YEAR'S
No. OF DROPS TO BREAK IT 3 1 1 5

The young scientists quickly realised that they'd made a massive mistake as they'd missed out one particular type of conker.

This is known as the 'control' conker.

In the box write ONE word to say what they will have done to the control conker to be able to compare it with the others.

nothing
EDDIE SAYS
Question: How will they know if any of their 'hardening' techniques have made a difference if they haven't got an untreated conker to compare it with? That means that the control conker has NOTHING done to it - it's just an ordinary conker. But without it, the results are meaningless!
• Question 4

So, our team of intrepid investigators carried out their experiment on their FIVE different types of conker.

Here are their results:

TYPE OF CONKER: CONTROL OVEN- BAKED VINEGAR SOAKED VARNISHED LAST YEAR'S
No. OF DROPS TO BREAK IT 1 4 2 1 6

Ignoring the control conker, put the four methods of 'doctoring their conkers' in order of how effective they were, according to these results.  Put them in Best to Worst order.

## Column B

Best
Last Year's
Second best
Oven-baked
Third Best
Vinegar-soaked
Worst
Varnished
EDDIE SAYS
Was that straightforward? Assuming that you worked out that the more drops it took to break the conker, the harder it was, you'll have seen the 6 drops needed to break the old conker as making it the 'best' hardening method. It took 4 drops to break the oven-baked conker, so that's next best with vinegar-soaked (2) and varnished (1) bringing up the rear.
• Question 5

From these results, you can see the importance of the control conker.

TYPE OF CONKER: CONTROL OVEN-BAKED VINEGAR SOAKED VARNISHED LAST YEAR'S
No. OF DROPS TO BREAK IT 1 4 2 1 6

Group the results into two pairs: those that were a significant improvement on the control conker and those that performed about as well as the control conker.

 Significantly better than control conker Little or no better than control conker Oven-baked Vinegar-soaked Varnished Last year's
EDDIE SAYS
Easy-peasy? Depends on how good you are at interpreting the results (a key skill you need!) So, the control conker took 1 drop to break it. Notice that the vinegar-soaked conker (2 drops) and varnished conker (1 drop) performed about the same. However, the oven-baked conker (4 drops) and last year's one (6 drops) lasted loads longer - a significant improvement over the untreated 'control' conker. Got that?
• Question 6

Billie, Harry and Ella discussed their experimental method and their results and one of their conclusions was that there were several ways of improving their method of testing the conkers in order to obtain more reliable results.

Tick the ones you think they should include in their list of improvements.

Use more conkers
Try different dropping heights
Use different weights
Test undrilled and pre-drilled conkers
EDDIE SAYS
So, they've tried a 1kg mass from a 10cm height. It's definitely worth trying lighter weights and varying the height of the drop - a bigger spread of results gives a better answer. Also, using more conkers is always better - if they've got the time (and the conkers!). To be honest, the room temp isn't going to affect it and they don't HAVE to do it in October - just when they've a load of conkers (which fall around then). Finally, drilling a hole in the conker (for the string) may well affect its strength (although, that's how conkers are played with) - it's worth finding out about.
• Question 7

When the young scientists wrote up their conclusions from their investigation, they varied a bit.

This is what each of them wrote:

HARRY: "The oldest conkers worked best."

ELLA: "We found that of the different methods tried for improving a conker's battle-performance, using old conkers was the best method and coating them with varnish, the worst."

BILLIE: "When we tested ways of making conkers last longer in a game of conkers, our method showed us that using older conkers was six times better than the control conker, with oven-baked conkers lasting four times as long.  Vinegar-soaked conkers were twice as good as the control conker whilst coating them with varnish did not make them last longer."

Which of the three friends has considered all of the test conditions in their conclusion?

Billie
EDDIE SAYS
Just read Billie's again - they're all there, aren't they? Control/oven-baked/vinegar-soaked/varnished/last year's. It's clearly the best of the three conclusions.
• Question 8

Here are their conclusions again:

HARRY: "The oldest conkers worked best."

ELLA: "We found that of the different methods tried for improving a conker's battle-performance, using old conkers was the best method and coating them with varnish, the worst."

BILLIE: "When we tested ways of making conkers last longer in a game of conkers, our method showed us that using older conkers was six times better than the control conker, with oven-baked conkers lasting four times as long.  Vinegar-soaked conkers were twice as good as the control conker whilst coating them with varnish did not make them last longer."

Which of the conclusions would tell you which of the "improvements" was the MOST effective?

All of them
EDDIE SAYS
Whilst Billie's conclusion is clearly the best, in fact, they all mention the fact that the oldest conkers lasted the longest under test conditions.
• Question 9

If a conker that falls from a horse chestnut tree in autumn manages to escape the conker battles and stays hidden in the leaf litter it may, in time, sprout a root and grow into a sapling.

EDDIE SAYS
Oo, tricky! Did you put fruit? In fact, the fruit is the whole thing: prickly case and conker. The nut (conker) is the seed inside the case. It contains both the 'baby' plant and the food it'll need to start its growth into a young tree.
• Question 10

In October the leaves of the horse chestnut tree turn brown and fall to the ground.

What name is given to trees that lose their leaves in autumn?

Deciduous
EDDIE SAYS
Remember that from your earlier work? Deciduous trees are ones that shed their leaves in autumn so that they don't get frozen up in the cold winter weather and also to reduce their wind resistance to winter storms (which may otherwise blow the trees down). Defoliation is losing leaves too, but usually because of disease or being eaten. Dehydration is losing water.
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