When researchers want to know which factors influence other factors, they conduct scientific experiments. In these experiments, the researchers "control" or "hold constant" other factors in order to understand the influence of the specific factors they are studying.
Factors that influence or affect other factors are called independent variables. Factors influenced by other factors are called dependent variables.
Researchers carefully design scientific experiments to study the effects of one factor (independent variable) on another factor (dependent variable). In these experiments, the researchers "hold constant" or rule out the possible influence of other independent variables that could also affect the dependent variables in their study.
Independent variables that researchers "hold constant" remain unchanged and are called controlled variables.
Let's go back to Dr. Smith and her class (Exercise 5) to see if you can identify which independent variables are held constant.
Read the paragraph, then answer the question below.
Dr. Smith teaches English to 12th grade students who want to go to university. All her students use the internet to learn English vocabulary.Some of her students want to do well at university, so they practice some new words every day.Other students practice only once a week, when they do their homework for Dr. Smith's class.
Dr. Smith wants to examine which factors or variables affect her students' test scores at the end of her course, so she designs an experiment.
Which factors in this experiment are controlled variables that remain constant?
Sort the following factors into 2 categories:
controlled variables that remain constant independent variables that change