~Mythbusters Discoveries Using the Scientific Method~




           By Jen Quindlen


 September 6, 2008

                   Scientific Method

                 (how we solve problems in 7 steps)


Step 1. State the Problem or Question:

- The scientist comes up with a question or problem that needs to be solved.

- The scientist does not propose a solution to the question or problem yet.

Step 2. Gather Information:

- The scientist does research on his/her topic to see if the problem has already been solved by someone else.

- The scientist does more research to see what  he/she can learn about the question or problem.

step 3. Form a Hypothesis: 

(an educated guess or prediction that answers the question or problem)

- This is based on what was learned from gathering info.

Step 4. Perform an Experiment:

(a procedure or operation carried out under controlled conditions in order to discover something, to test a hypothesis, or to serve as an example)

- This is when the scientist tests his/her hypothesis.

-There can only be one thing that is different (the variable).

- Data is collected.

Step 5. Analyze Data:

- After the experiment is over, the data that was collected is analyzed (reviewed).

-Data is generally organized into a chart or graph.

Step 6. Draw Conclusions:

- After analyzing the data, the scientist looks back at its hypothesis.

- The scientist looks to see if the data supports the hypothesis or not.

Step 7. Repeat Experiment:

- If the hypothesis is supported then the scientist repeats his/her experiment.

- The scientist needs to make sure that the results are the same every time.

Or the other step 7. Revise Expirament:

- If the hypothesis is not supported the scientist changes the hypothesis.

- The scientist then starts the whole process again.


Mythbusters - Electric Vehicles

Question: Are electric vehicles a lot slower than gas powered vehicles?

Jamie and Adam did not do any reasearch.  They got straight to testing vehicles.

Hypothesis: If you make a vehicle electric, then it will be a lot slower than a gasoline vehicle.


- Manipulated Variable: (What is being tested?)  Using an electric vehicle as an alternative to using a gas powered vehicle.

- Responding Variable: (What is being observed and measured?)  How the electric vehicle performs compared to gasoline powered vehicles.

- Controlled Variable: (What do you keep the same?)  A gas powered vehicle that is the same or similar to the electric vehicle.

 Jamie and Adam collected a lot of data on this topic. They tested many types of vehicles against eachother with the only difference being that one was electric, and one ran on gasoline.

They first tested a Saturn.

Results: Jamie and Adam felt the electric car was smoother, but the acceleration on the electric car was a lot slower than the gas powered car.  Once it got up to regular speed they were about the same.

Next they tested two go-carts. One being electric, and one running on gas. Each go-cart went around the track 4 times. Jamie and Adam compared the quickest lap for each car.

Results: The fastest lap for the gasoline go-cart was 58 seconds.

The fastest lap for the electric go-cart was 1:00min./ 60 sec.

The electric go-cart did well for being only 2 seconds slower than the gas powered go-cart, but it weighed 120 lbs. more.

Next, they tested two motorcycles. The electric motorcycle weighed 640 lbs. and the gas powered motorcycle weighed 400 lbs.

Results: The electric motorcycle's time for 1/4  mile was 8.283 sec.  The motorcycle was going 163.33 mph.

The gas powered motorcycle's time for 1/4  mile was 7.893 sec.  The motorcycle was going 166.33 mph.

The two times were very close, though the gas powered motorcycle was a little bit faster.

Lastly they tested two sports cars. The electric car weighed 1,500 lbs. The gas powered car weighed 3,400 lbs. 

Results: The electric car took 11.961 seconds to cross the finish line.

The gas powered sports car took 12.775 seconds to cross the finish line.

Jamie and Adam found out that in most of their tests, electric vehicles go a tiny bit slower than gas vehicles.  They still go fast even though they weigh about 2 times more than gas powered  vehicles.  


                    This myth was busted!


Mythbusters - Global Warming

Question: Do green house gases really make our planet warmer?

Hypothesis: If you increase the amount of carbon dioxide and methane in the air, then the temperature will be greater.

Jamie and Adam did do research by seeing if this experiment could be tested in their lab. It turns out that they could.


Manipulated Variable- (What is being tested?)  Increasing the amount of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere.

Responding Variable: (What is being observed and measured?)  The temperature inside of the first two green houses.

Controlled Variable: (What you keep the same) Green house size, amount of light, starting temperature, and ice sculptures.


Jamie and Adam collected a lot of data while performing their experiment. 

Their plan was to build 4 greenhouses with the same ice sculpture in each.  They would put a different gas in each green house. One would have methane, one would have carbon dioxide and the other two would have regular air.

Once all of the miniature greenhouses were built they were given an equal amount of light.  They let there experiment sit for a while, waiting for the gases to melt the ice sculptures. Once all of the ice sculptures were melted, they checked the temperature in each greenhouse. 

The results were in, and the temperatures of each of the greenhouses were carbon dioxide: 24.8 degrees celcius, methane: 24.9 degrees celcius, and the regular air at 23.9 degrees celcius.

The 1 degree celcius makes a huge difference globally.

Jamie and Adam found out that greenhouse gasses really do make our planet warmer.

                The global warming myth is confirmed!

Mythbusters - Cow Calamity!!

Question: Is all the methane gas produced by cows really bad for the environment

hypothesis: (In this video there were two hypothesis)

        1st hypothesis: if cows produce a lot of methane, then cows are bad for the environment.

        2nd hypothesis: if methane burns, then you can use it as a power source.

Jamie and Adam researched how much methane a single cow produces in one year and the amount of cows in the world.  They multiplied the amount of cows by the amount of methane each cow produces to find how many lbs. of methane cows give off into our atmosphere.

manipulated variable: (What is being tested?) Using methane instead of gasoline in a lawn mower.

responding variable: (What is being observed and measured?) Using a green house gas as a power source rather than let it become pollution.

controlled variable: (What you keep the same.) Using a regular lawn mower in the experiment.


Jamie and Adam collected a lot of data on the topic of methane gas produced by cows.

Cows are the biggest polluters in the world. The gas that comes from both ends of their bodies is methane.  Methane has 20 times the effect of carbon dioxide on the environment.

Since there are about 1 billion cows in the world, each producing about 250 to 400 lbs. of methane gas per year,  cows pollute 250 - 400 billion lbs. of methane in one year.

Jamie and Adam found out that methane gas is bad for the environment!

This myth is confirmed, but we can use the methane as a source of power instead of letting it pollute our environment.

Jamie and Adam showed this when they mixed methane gas from the cows with air and  made a fire explosion which was used to start a lawn mower.

What I learned.............

Electric vehicles vs. regular vehicles: I learned that electric cars are not a lot slower than gasoline powered cars. Regular vehicles may go a few mph faster, but you're not going to "race" to the market every day. This is an eco - friendly choice that  gives you a smooth quiet ride.


Greenhouse gasses: I learned that greenhouse gasses are really bad for our environment.  At first when  I saw that they warm up our planet by one degree celcius I thought one degree wouldn't make much of a difference. I was very wrong though.One degree can make a huge diffference globally.



Methane that comes from cows: I would have never thought that our milk and meat providing animal would be such a harm to our environment.  They give off so much gas that pollutes our world.  I am happy that we can use the gas as a source of power instead of letting it pollute our atmosphere.