Here are the kinds of questions Dr. Suchanek might ask himself when writing a report of one of his experiments. Review your log and use these questions as a guide to create a report of your aquatic experiment.
1. What was my original hypothesis? Even if you find that your original idea for how the experiment would come out was incorrect, it is useful and important to write down what you expected. That explains why you did what you did, and makes a coherent story for your readers to follow. It also allows others to build on your work rather than simply repeat it.
2. What did I do? In any report it is important to tell the reader as much as possible about what you did and why you did it. What plants and animals did you select? How did you prepare the two containers? What did you keep the same? What did you decide to make different in the two containers?
3. What’s the system? Make a sketch of your two ecosystems, labeling the various elements of the systems, with lines showing how you believe they interact. List any key ideas about ecosystems you think are illustrated by your experiment.
4. What did I find out? Summarize the results of your log. Describe how the two ecosystems developed in the first two or three days, then after you made a single change. What specific things did you observe, measure, or count? How did both ecosystems change from the time the experiment began to the time it ended? Any graphs that you can make to show changes in the number or weights of the organisms will make it easier for someone else to understand what you found out.
5. What are my conclusions? First, consider your original hypothesis. Did you find out if your first guess was right or wrong? Did you learn anything else about how the environment affected the health of the plants and animals? How do the organisms interact with each other? Keep in mind that no experiment is ever a failure. Something is learned even if the result is not what you expected. What did you learn from this experiment?
6. Do you have any recommendations? What additional questions occurred to you during your investigation? Which of these would you like to investigate if you have the time to do so? What would you recommend to someone who wanted to maintain an aquatic ecosystem for as long as possible?