The Bank Robbery: The Scientific Method



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The Bank Robbery: The Scientific Method
Objective: According to common methods of thinking any problem can be solved with a specific process. This specific process is called the Scientific Method. Carefully read the story and identify the problem, the hypothesis, the data, and then create the conclusion. Using the steps of the scientific method discover who robbed the bank. Also, answer the questions pertaining to the scientific method.
The Bank Robbery

A man walked into Old Kent Bank, held up a gun and demanded money. The teller screamed and filled the man’s paper bag with money. At the same time another teller carefully set off an alarm. The robber heard the alarm and fled from the bank escaping on a purple motor bike.


When the police arrived at the bank they questioned the tellers. Through their questioning, the police discovered the robber wore a floppy green hat, sunglasses, gloves, and a pair of overalls. The police decided to take their investigation one step further so they searched the bank. While searching, they found a gun and a green hat stashed in the bushes.


  1. In this story what is the problem?



  1. And who are the scientists?


  1. What steps of the scientific method can you identify so far?




  1. What further investigation would you suggest to the scientist?

The police sent the evidence to the forensics lab for some testing. There were no fingerprints found on the gun and the hat contained no hair or other evidence. The green hat had the initials “J.T.” stitched on the brim. When the gun’s registration was checked, the police found that it belongs to John Thomas. A warrant was obtained to search John Thomas’s apartment.




  1. What step/s of the scientific method can you identify so far?

When the police arrived at Mr. Thomas’s apartment the neighbor informed them that John had broken his ankle and he has been in the hospital for a week. The police went to the hospital and found John in the hospital bed. Records showed he was in surgery at the time of the bank robbery and since then he has been in bed recuperating.


  1. What problem does this pose for the police?


  1. What should the police do now?


  1. What are they doing to their hypothesis?

During questioning, John Thomas admitted to owning a floppy green hat and a gun but he didn’t know anything about a purple motor bike. He allowed the police to check his home and they found it had been robbed. Among the missing items were John’s gun and a green hat. The police checked for fingerprints and bound prints belonging to Tim Smith. The police searched the home of Tim Smith and found a purple motor bike. In the basement they discovered a bag of money. Tim was taken to the police station for questioning. The tellers were unable to identify Tim as the robber however, the serial numbers on the money found in Tim’s basement match the money stolen from the bank.



  1. What is the detective’s next move?


  1. What step of the scientific method is this called?

In the story, the police gathered many pieces of information. They used this data to make several hypotheses. More data was gathered to check each hypothesis and make a final conclusion.




  1. Explain below what you think the police should do once their conclusion has been made and they know who robbed the bank?




  1. What are the steps of the scientific method?




  1. The police did not immediately request a warrant to arrest John Thomas. Explain their reason.



  1. List the evidence that was gathered but not used to form or test they hypothesis.



  1. Did the police use their first hypothesis as to who robbed the bank? Explain why they did or did not use it.



  1. Final conclusion: Who robbed the bank?



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