So, what is a scientific diagram?

A scientific diagram is a picture that shows exactly how an experiment has been set up. They aren’t supposed to look like realistic sketches and are drawn in two dimensions. Therefore, they must be clear, precise, and easy to understand.

Scientific diagrams are part of a scientific method for how an experiment was set up and carried out so that other scientists can repeat the experiment. This is an essential part of making sure that an investigation is reproducible. This means that other scientists can experiment to see if they get similar results to check the experiment’s reliability and effects. It’s a bit like citing the written sources of information – it means that what a person claims can be limited.

In science lessons and exams, children are required to draw scientific diagrams which show how a particular experiment is set up and executed. In addition, standard pieces of equipment are represented in specific ways in the scientific chart to help everyone who look s at it understand what equipment is being used and how.

Scientific diagrams must be straightforward to understand so that other people can replicate the experiment – this is a vital part of a good experiment. They use standard representations of objects in 2D. The investigation is looked at from the side.

  • Measuring cylinders,
  • beakers,
  • conical flasks,
  • test tubes,
  • round-bottomed flasks,
  • glass funnels,
  • glass rods,
  • watch glasses,
  • Bunsen burners,
  • tripods,
  • retort stands,
  • boss heads and clamps,
  • wire gauze,
  • evaporating dishes,
  • crucibles,
  • pipeclay triangles and safety mats

all have specific symbols which are used to show that they are being used in a science diagram.

There are particular rules about how to present scientific diagrams and how to draw each piece of equipment.

The 10 Rules of Scientific Drawings

  1. Use a sharp, hard pencil. This allows you to make bold, precise lines that can be rubbed and altered if you make a mistake.
  2. Draw your scientific diagram large enough that every part of it can be seen clearly – don’t try to squash anything into a small space. There should be room around the diagram for clear, written labels.
  3. Use a ruler when drawing straight lines. This helps you keep the diagram neat, clear, and precise and means that there won’t be any unnecessary parts of a line.
  4. Draw using single, solid lines. This means that each piece of equipment in the diagram should be drawn with a single line. Don’t sketch or use dashed lines. You can find stencils that help you keep your equipment to a single line.
  5. Only draw simple black-and-white outlines of each piece of equipment. Don’t use hading, colors, or shadows to make the drawings look more realistic.
  6. Everything you draw should be a 2D representation of the equipment. This helps to keep your scientific diagram clear – an attempt at drawing something realistically could be open to interpretations.
  7. Don’t draw lines across the tops of open things like funnels, beakers, or test tubes. This shows people that the top can have liquids poured into it.
  8. Draw the pieces of equipment in your experiment to scale so that they are in proportion. This helps people looking at your scientific diagram to understand what everything is as the proportions of the objects reflect real life.
  9. If pieces of equipment are touching, your diagram must also show this. Don’t draw any pieces of equipment floating, as this doesn’t explain your experiment’s setup correctly. So, if a funnel sits in a beaker, your scientific diagram should show the sides of the cup supporting the funnel.
  10. Label each piece of equipment clearly with printed or block capital letters – no cursive. Then, draw a straight line using a ruler to connect the label to the equipment.
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