How to Make an Experimental Flow Chart

By George Lawrence J.D.

Use a flow chart to explain an experimental process.
i process flow image by Christopher Hall from

Flow charts help explain a process by organizing the information visually and breaking up each step or element of the process into separate symbols on the chart. You can use a flow chart to document a scientific experiment. Each part of the experimental flow chart should document the critical steps of the experiment including your initial observations, hypothesis, what you did to test your hypothesis, the results, explanations of the results and your conclusion.

Develop a set of symbols for your flow chart. For example, the NASA Science Files suggests using ovals for start and stop points, hexagons for observations, circles for answers, diamonds for questions or decision points and rectangles for steps.

Draw your "Start" symbol and describe the experiment. For example, if the experiment is plant growth, you can write, "Start: Effects of Light on Plant Growth."

Draw another arrow from the observations to a box listing your explanations and/or a box stating your hypothesis about the observations.

Draw an arrow from the start box to a second box listing your observations. Branch arrows from your observation box and write in your initial observations about the experiment.

Connect arrows from your hypothesis box to the steps you need to take to prove or disprove your hypothesis. Continue connecting boxes with arrows in your flow chart to cover your findings, explanations of your results, and a final conclusion.