The Science of Human Error

4.4 based on 19 ratings

Updated on Apr 25, 2017


Eighth, Ninth, Tenth


Chemistry, Physical Science


In this experiment, you will find out how human error can cause faults in any science task. This includes experiments conducted by famous scientists also.

Research Questions:

  • Is it possible to perform each calculation of data precisely to get an exact answer?
  • If you need 50g of water, is it possible to pour 50g of water all the time? Explain.
  • If you round an answer during a calculation, does it change your answer considerably? Why or why not?


  • Graduated Cylinder
  • Pipette with a safety bulb
  • Beaker
  • Water
  • Electronic Balance

Experimental Procedure

  1. Weigh the graduated cylinder with the electronic balance and record the weight on the table.
  2. Put 100g of water in the graduated cylinder and then weigh the cylinder with care so that the water does not spill.
  3. Calculate the difference between the weight with the water and the weight without the water.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 again 2 more times.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 with your pipette (10g) and beaker (100g) and record your observations.

Data Table:

Item’s Weight:

Trial 1

Trial 2

Trial 3

Graduated Cylinder

With Water

Water’s mass in cylinder (Cylinder’s weight with water – cylinder’s weight without water.)

Pipette with water

Water’s mass in pipette

Beaker with Water

Water’s weight

Concepts: precision, human error, rounding numbers

How likely are you to recommend to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely