Assignment 2: The Four Question Method
- The purpose of the "Four Question Method" assignment is to help you develop an idea you may have for a science project/experiment.
This exercise asks you to think about one of your possible ideas for a science project/experiment and to develop the idea by answering four simple questions.

Question 1 - Asks you to think about what materials you might use in the experimental design and implementation of your science project.
Example: If you are thinking about performing an experiment using plants, you would make a list of readily available materials needed to perform an experiment on plants.
A. Soil
B. Light
C. Water
D. Warmth
E. Plants

Question 2 - Asks you to think about how your "test subject" acts.
Example: How do plants act or behave?
A. Plants grow
B. Plants reproduce
C. Plants germinate from seeds
D. Plants perform photosynthesis
E. Plants have leaves, stems, and roots

Question 3 - Asks you to think about how you can "change" the materials listed in your response to Question 1. These changes could become the independent variable(s) for your project.
Example: How can you change the list of materials for growing plants to illicit different responses from the plants?
A. Changing the soil:

  • Different types of soil
  • Different fertilizers used in the soil
  • No soil - hydroponic growth
B. Changing the light:
  • Natural sunlight vs. artificial light
  • Amount of light
  • Colored light vs. white light
C. Changing the water the plants receive
  • Different "types" of water - distilled water, tap water, dyed water, water stored in different kinds of bottles
  • Different amounts of water given to the plant
  • Different temperatures for the water
D. Change the temperature
  • Different temperatures around the plants
  • Different temperatures of the soil
  • Different temperatures at which the seeds are stored
E. Change the kind of plant being tested
  • Different kinds of flowering plants
  • Different kinds of grasses
  • Different kinds of mosses

Question 4: Asks you to think about how you would measure the difference(s) between your test groups. In answering question 4, refer to your answer to question 2, how your test subject acts, and reflect on how you would measure differences in the growth or behavior of your test subject.
Example: List how would you measure the difference in the plants used in your different test groups.
A. Measuring the growth of the plant

  • Measure the height of the plant periodically through the experiment
  • Measure the length of the roots at the end of the experiment
  • Measure the length and/or width of the leaves of the plant
B. Count the number of flowers that each plant produces
  • Count the number of days until the plant flowers
  • Count the number of actual flowers
  • Count the number of seeds that each flower produces
C. Germination
  • Count the number of days until the seed germinates
  • Count the number of seeds that actually do germinate
  • Count the number of seeds that not only germinate but continue to grow
D. Photosynthesis
  • Extract the photosynthetic pigments from leaves and determine the amounts of each kind of pigment (spectrophotometry)
  • Digitally photograph the leaves to determine the color of the leaves or number and size of any brown spots
  • Measure the amount of water that the plant transpires during photosynthesis
E. Leaves, stems, and roots
  • Measure the leaves, stems, and roots
  • Count the number of leaves, branches, and roots
  • Mass the leaves, stems, and roots at the end of the experiment


1. Click here to open a copy of the template for the "Four Question Method".
external image msword.png [[file/view/4 Question Method.doc|4 Question Method.doc]]
2. Answer the Four Questions following the example given above.
3. Copy and paste your answers into a Google Doc.
4. Save as: your name - Four Question Method
5. Share this with Mrs. Perkins: sperkins@svrsu-whs.org