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Explaining the Control in a Science Experiment
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Controlled variables are any other outside variables that may affect the dependent variable. The three variables can sometimes be easily mistaken. If you have not identified the control in a science experiment, you may be mistaking one of your controls as an independent variable. Remember that the control should never change. If your independent variable always remains the same, odds are it is your control. Now we've covered what is a control in a science experiment, it's time to see how it works in practice.

Not all science experiments require a control, but many do. You can create your own control sample by following a few simple steps. One great example of creating a control in a relatively simple experiment is working with plants. The basis is to determine how plants grow in different types of soil mixtures. The control pot uses regular potting soil and the same daily routine of water and sun. The other pots have different soil mixtures and may be exposed to varying lights and temperatures.

Depending on your science experiment, determine a variable or sample set that must remain the same at all times. The control may directly apply to every portion of your experiment, or it can be relative, such as the plant experiment. Another great example of creating a control is determining how fast an object sinks, or the object's density. The control would be using the same amount of water in the exact same size container. Be sure to use the same type of water as well, such as filtered or unfiltered.

Once the science experiment starts, document what your control is, along with your independent and dependent variables. This allows you to better monitor and keep track of your controlled variable. Controlled variables must be carefully set and monitored throughout your experiment. Any changes to the control will greatly alter your experiment's results.

The effect will vary according to the influence it has on the subject. A controlled group is necessary for all legitimate studies.

It is a group that maintains a constant level of influence from different variables. The control group should attempt to replicate the natural phenomenon. Variables that are constant among the control and experiment groups are termed controlled variables. The independent variable is the one difference introduced into the experimental group.

The experimental group outcome is independent of the control group because of the difference. The independent variable should be limited to a single difference to eliminate crossover contamination.

The dependent variable is the observation being measured. It is dependent upon the independent variable. By reducing the independent variable to one, the dependent variable can be assumed to be caused by the one change.

To better understand the interaction let's construct a realistic experiment. A scientist wants to determine if plants respond to music. A control group is constructed where the plants are not subjected to music.

The soil, plant type, water, and sun exposure will all remain the same for every group. These are control variables. An experimental group will be given the independent variable of rock music. A second experimental group will be given the independent variable of classic music.

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