Monty Python Style
Examine closely the six objects in the picture below. Take
a few minutes to ponder the objects and write down some
ideas of what they could be. Once you have a few ideas
written down, click on the picture to find out what these
mystery objects are.
Landmines – The Problem
 Antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions are
indiscriminate weapons that injure and kill
civilians in every corner of the globe, every day.
They don't recognize ceasefires and claim
victims long after the end of conflicts. They instill
fear in communities and are a lethal barrier to
 To read more about the problem of landmines,
click on the link below:
Landmine Information
Problem Solving
 Take a few minutes to think about a solution
to the problem of hundreds of thousands of
landmines buried all over the world. How
could these buried mines be discovered?
Write down your ideas. As you are thinking,
click on the links below to see images of the
devastating effects of landmines on innocent
people and animals.
Read about Mosha
 Now that you’ve had some time to think
about solutions to the landmine problem and
have written some down, continue onto to
the next page and click on the link to
investigate one idea to the solution.
A Maddening Solution?
A Maddening Solution
Mad Cow Informational Video
A Working Solution
 Land Mine Solution
Solving Problems
 Creativity is an important component of
successful science. A creative thinker
researches questions that others have not
considered. They propose new hypotheses
and creativity is essential to the formation of
useful experiments. Researchers frequently
encounter problems with experimental
designs and procedures. Successful scientists
find creative solutions to these problems.
The Scientific Process
 The scientific process is a method for
experimentation that is used to explore
observations , answer questions, and solve
problems. Scientists use the scientific
process to search for cause and effect
relationships in nature. In other words,
they design an experiment so that changes
to one item cause something else to vary in
a predictable way.
Scientific Process with
Monty Python
 Clicking on the link below will take you to a
clip from the movie “Monty Python and the
Search for the Holy Grail”. This scene depicts
an investigator trying to establish if a woman
is a witch or not. After watching the clip,
move onto the next slide to analyze the
Monty Python Witch Scene
Witch Scene Analysis
Answer each question using the Witch Scene as
your guide – click on pictures for full analysis.
1. What is the observation or problem that is
presented to the soon-to-be Sir Bedevere?
 Sir Bedevere is presented by the town’s people
with a woman who they are accusing of being a
witch. Sir Bedevere must figure out if the
woman is in fact, a witch.
2. Identify the data that must be collected in
order to establish a future experiment
concerning the “problem”.
 The data that must be collected is how much
the woman weighs.
3. In order to use the data that has been
collected in an experiment, the data must be
evaluated (in this case, the data must be
“witchworthy” when establishing the
experiment). What data that has been
collected could not be proven?
 It is impossible to prove whether or not the
woman had in fact turned one of the
townspeople into a newt. His claim that “she
turned me into a newt” can not be proven since
the accuser admitted that “I got better”.
4. Is the reasoning that leads to the hypothesis
sound or unsound? Explain.
 The reasoning in this case is unsound. The
argument identifies that (1) all witches are
things that can burn, and (2)all things that can
burn are made of wood, and finally, therefore,
(3) all witches are made of wood. Although the
argument that all witches are made of wood
logically follows the first two ideas is logical
the second idea is obviously false. Since the
second idea is false, the reasoning is therefore
5. What hypothesis does the “mob” establish?
 The mob reasons that if the woman weighs as
much as a duck, she must be made of wood,
and therefore she must be a witch.
Formal Hypotheses
Formalized hypotheses contain two variables.
One is "independent" and the other is
"dependent." The independent variable is the
one you, the "scientist" controls and the
dependent variable is the one that you
observe and/or measure the results.
 What is the dependent variable?
 Independent variable?
 The dependent variable in an experiment is
what is being measured. In this experiment,
the dependent variable is therefore the weight
of the witch.
 The independent variable in an experiment is
the component that is controlled by the
scientist. In this experiment, the independent
variable is the duck.
 Is this hypothesis testable?
 Can an experiment be designed?
 The hypothesis states “If she weighs as much
as a duck, then she must be made of wood, and
therefore she must be a witch” is testable. The
woman’s weight must be compared to that of a
 An experiment for this hypothesis can be
created. The duck and the woman must be
weighed and their weights compared to one
Data is said to be reliable if it is reproducible
by both yourself and others. Reproducible
means that if you keep repeating the same
experiment then you keep getting the same
answers. If you keep getting different
answers then the data is not reliable and can't
be used as evidence.
 Is the experiment reliable? Explain.
 This experiment is reliable under certain
conditions. If the duck and the woman are
weighed repeatedly the results would remain
the same of conditions are constant for the
woman and the duck.
Evidence and Validity
Valid means that the evidence is both reliable
and relevant. Relevant means that the evidence
gives you particular information about the thing
you are investigating, not just any information. If
you were investigating how a car moves or how a
kite flies then evidence about its weight would
be relevant but evidence about its color would
not be relevant. Evidence which is reliable and
valid can be used to make scientific statements
about things which are correct. These
statements are called conclusions.
 Is the experiment valid? Explain
 This experiment is not valid. According to the
unsound logic of Sir Bedevere, if the woman
weighs as much as a duck then she must be
made of wood. Nowhere in the experiment
does it test to see if the woman is in fact made
of wood. The fact that she may weigh the
same as a duck has nothing to do with what
she is made of, making the experiment invalid.
 What is the result of the experiment?
 Is this a conclusion? Explain
 The woman weighs the same as a duck and
therefore is condemned as witch and will suffer
the fate of witches, burning.
 This result can not be a scientific conclusion. A
conclusion must be based on evidence that is
reliable and relevant. Since the evidence is not
relevant, therefore the result is not valid, and
therefore the conclusion that she is a witch is
most definitely NOT a scientific conclusion.
 The Scientific Process is simply a formalized
method of problem solving. Identify the
problem, ask a question, collect data, develop a
hypothesis, create an experiment with
independent and dependent variables, run the
experiment, and reach a conclusion. Remember
to follow sound reasoning, use data that is
reliable and relevant, and you will reach scientific
conclusion. Always keep in mind that just
because something weighs as much as a duck
does not mean it’s a witch. To test yourself, click
to the next slide to begin a quick review exercise.
Scientific Process Review
 A series of logical steps that is followed in
order to solve a problem is called the
A. experimental process.
B. scientific process.
C. scientific theory.
D. model method.
 The first step in the scientific method is
A. making an observation (ask a question)
B. collecting data
C. forming a hypothesis
D. testing a hypothesis
 Scientists test a hypothesis by
 A. formulating questions
 B. doing experiments
 C. designing models
 D. drawing conclusions
 A scientist gathers information on a daily
basis regarding the growth of a plant over
three weeks, these measurements are called
B. hypotheses
C. variables
D. data
 What is usually the last step in the scientific
A. accumulate scientific data
B. formulate a hypothesis
C. conduct an experiment with a control
D. draw a conclusion on the basis of the
 The "scientific method" involves all of the
following except
A. imagination and insight
B. an educated guess
C. a rigid set of logical steps
D. a suspicion of what the truth might be
 You are conducting an experiment to test the
hypothesis that dairy cows will give more milk if
they listen to classical music while being milked.
Your 20 experimental cows listen to classical
music during milking; you collect all their milk
and measure how much there is. Your 20 control
cows should have all experimental conditions
identical to the experimental cows except
A. they should listen to classical music at a
louder volume
B. they should listen to classical music all the
time, not just during milking
C. they should listen to a different type of music,
like heavy metal
D. they should not listen to any music
E. they should not be milked

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