ACT Science : How to find synthesis of data in biology

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #471 : Biology

Elena is conducting an experiment to determine the effect of a new drug, norzapam, that is meant to help diabetic patients produce insulin naturally. She has four test subjects, all with type 1 diabetes, and all of whom continued to take fast-acting insulin as needed but ceased taking long-acting insulin. Two patients received the drug and two received a placebo. Over a period of ten months Elena measured her patients’ insulin levels each day (measured in International Units) and averaged them for each month. She also asked each patient to walk for as long as they could after taking the drug before their blood sugar dropped too low to continue. Her results from the experiment are shown in the given tables.

Patient 1: Drug received

Patient 1 is a 45 year-old male who is overweight and leads a sedentary lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

50

15

2

52

18

3

54

20

4

60

20

5

64

22

6

70

25

7

78

28

8

86

33

9

98

38

10

103

40

 

Patient 2: Drug received

Patient 2 is a 23 year-old female of healthy weight who leads an active lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

50

30

2

55

38

3

59

42

4

68

47

5

75

55

6

83

60

7

90

68

8

97

70

9

105

72

10

112

75

 

Patient 3: No drug

Patient 3 is a 60 year-old female who is overweight and leads a moderately active lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

50

25

2

51

25

3

53

28

4

51

25

5

53

28

6

55

30

7

53

28

8

65

33

9

51

25

10

50

25

 

Patient 4: No Drug

Patient 4 is a 28 year-old male of healthy weight who leads very active lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

60

45

2

65

48

3

68

50

4

68

50

5

70

55

6

71

56

7

68

52

8

69

55

9

79

65

10

80

65

Why might patient 2 have higher insulin levels than patient 1 after the ten month period?

Possible Answers:

Patient 2 is of a healthier weight

All of these

Patient 2 is younger

Patient 2 has an active lifestyle

Correct answer:

All of these

Explanation:

Both patients were administered the same drug in the same doses over the same period of time. The only difference between them is the kind of people they were before the experiment was conducted. Patient 2 is younger, healthier, and more active. Though we cannot conclusively determine these things are the reason for her higher insulin levels, we can note that they might be, as they are variable that would affect the experiment. 

Example Question #472 : Biology

Elena is conducting an experiment to determine the effect of a new drug, norzapam, that is meant to help diabetic patients produce insulin naturally. She has four test subjects, all with type 1 diabetes, and all of whom continued to take fast-acting insulin as needed but ceased taking long-acting insulin. Two patients received the drug and two received a placebo. Over a period of ten months Elena measured her patients’ insulin levels each day (measured in International Units) and averaged them for each month. She also asked each patient to walk for as long as they could after taking the drug before their blood sugar dropped too low to continue. Her results from the experiment are shown in the given tables.

Patient 1: Drug received

Patient 1 is a 45 year-old male who is overweight and leads a sedentary lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

50

15

2

52

18

3

54

20

4

60

20

5

64

22

6

70

25

7

78

28

8

86

33

9

98

38

10

103

40

 

Patient 2: Drug received

Patient 2 is a 23 year-old female of healthy weight who leads an active lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

50

30

2

55

38

3

59

42

4

68

47

5

75

55

6

83

60

7

90

68

8

97

70

9

105

72

10

112

75

 

Patient 3: No drug

Patient 3 is a 60 year-old female who is overweight and leads a moderately active lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

50

25

2

51

25

3

53

28

4

51

25

5

53

28

6

55

30

7

53

28

8

65

33

9

51

25

10

50

25

 

Patient 4: No Drug

Patient 4 is a 28 year-old male of healthy weight who leads very active lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

60

45

2

65

48

3

68

50

4

68

50

5

70

55

6

71

56

7

68

52

8

69

55

9

79

65

10

80

65

What could Elena have done to minimize the effects of confounding variables?

Possible Answers:

Found patients of a very similar activity level

Found patients with similar body fat percentages

Experimented on a greater number of patients

All of these

Correct answer:

All of these

Explanation:

Confounding variables are those that are difficult to measure/avoid but might affect the experiment. For example one might be weather, when one is testing flight times for new airplane wings. This cannot be avoided, but it can be mitigated by only flying in the same kinds of weather. For this experiment, the confounding variables are the variables in the kinds of people selected for the experiment. The insulin levels might be changing because of the drug, but they might be affected also by a patient's health, age, and activity level. To mitigate this, Elena can pick a greater number of people to get a better idea of the drug affects and she might pick people who are more similar.

Example Question #473 : Biology

Elena is conducting an experiment to determine the effect of a new drug, norzapam, that is meant to help diabetic patients produce insulin naturally. She has four test subjects, all with type 1 diabetes, and all of whom continued to take fast-acting insulin as needed but ceased taking long-acting insulin. Two patients received the drug and two received a placebo. Over a period of ten months Elena measured her patients’ insulin levels each day (measured in International Units) and averaged them for each month. She also asked each patient to walk for as long as they could after taking the drug before their blood sugar dropped too low to continue. Her results from the experiment are shown in the given tables.

Patient 1: Drug received

Patient 1 is a 45 year-old male who is overweight and leads a sedentary lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

50

15

2

52

18

3

54

20

4

60

20

5

64

22

6

70

25

7

78

28

8

86

33

9

98

38

10

103

40

 

Patient 2: Drug received

Patient 2 is a 23 year-old female of healthy weight who leads an active lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

50

30

2

55

38

3

59

42

4

68

47

5

75

55

6

83

60

7

90

68

8

97

70

9

105

72

10

112

75

 

Patient 3: No drug

Patient 3 is a 60 year-old female who is overweight and leads a moderately active lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

50

25

2

51

25

3

53

28

4

51

25

5

53

28

6

55

30

7

53

28

8

65

33

9

51

25

10

50

25

 

Patient 4: No Drug

Patient 4 is a 28 year-old male of healthy weight who leads very active lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

60

45

2

65

48

3

68

50

4

68

50

5

70

55

6

71

56

7

68

52

8

69

55

9

79

65

10

80

65

If patient 3 began to run daily and lift weights, what might happen to her insulin levels?

Possible Answers:

They will rise

Cannot be determined

They will remain the same

They will drop

Correct answer:

Cannot be determined

Explanation:

While there appears to be some kind of correlation between activity level and natural levels of insulin in diabetes patients, we do not have the evidence to prove causation. There is at least one confounding variable: the body fat. Patient 3 has a moderately active lifestyle but she is overweight. If she begins to have a very active lifestyle and doesn't lose fat she might not see any insulin spike. Likewise if she begins to lift weights and drops fat as a result, we do now know which one caused the insulin spike if it were to occur. 

Example Question #474 : Biology

Elena is conducting an experiment to determine the effect of a new drug, norzapam, that is meant to help diabetic patients produce insulin naturally. She has four test subjects, all with type 1 diabetes, and all of whom continued to take fast-acting insulin as needed but ceased taking long-acting insulin. Two patients received the drug and two received a placebo. Over a period of ten months Elena measured her patients’ insulin levels each day (measured in International Units) and averaged them for each month. She also asked each patient to walk for as long as they could after taking the drug before their blood sugar dropped too low to continue. Her results from the experiment are shown in the given tables.

Patient 1: Drug received

Patient 1 is a 45 year-old male who is overweight and leads a sedentary lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

50

15

2

52

18

3

54

20

4

60

20

5

64

22

6

70

25

7

78

28

8

86

33

9

98

38

10

103

40

 

Patient 2: Drug received

Patient 2 is a 23 year-old female of healthy weight who leads an active lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

50

30

2

55

38

3

59

42

4

68

47

5

75

55

6

83

60

7

90

68

8

97

70

9

105

72

10

112

75

 

Patient 3: No drug

Patient 3 is a 60 year-old female who is overweight and leads a moderately active lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

50

25

2

51

25

3

53

28

4

51

25

5

53

28

6

55

30

7

53

28

8

65

33

9

51

25

10

50

25

 

Patient 4: No Drug

Patient 4 is a 28 year-old male of healthy weight who leads very active lifestyle.

Month

Insulin level (IU)

Length of Walk (min)

1

60

45

2

65

48

3

68

50

4

68

50

5

70

55

6

71

56

7

68

52

8

69

55

9

79

65

10

80

65

Why might all four patients have seen a plateau in the number of minutes they can walk each day?

Possible Answers:

Growth occurs at the beginning of a fitness cycle and the gains get smaller as time passes

None of these

Walking is hard on the body and the patients grew weary

The patients' bodies grew used to the insulin and stopped treating it as a spike in energy

Correct answer:

Growth occurs at the beginning of a fitness cycle and the gains get smaller as time passes

Explanation:

The body has finite physiological boundaries, whether it is through cardiovascular or anaerobic exercise. The patients saw an increase in the ability to walk after taking the drug, and initially the gain in time was large. Later though, as the body acclimates, the changes have to be smaller as there is less room to improve. We have no evidence that indicates the patients grew tired or weary as a result of the walking.

Example Question #475 : Biology

Researchers have recorded data in four different regions, Region A, Region B, Region C and Region D. In these regions, the researchers recorded the height, diameter and the approximate age of the tallest redwood. The researchers want to use this data to learn more amount redwoods and their respective regions.

Act 2

If the best method for determining the health of the soil is the height of the tree, which region has the best soil?

Possible Answers:

Cannot be determined from the given information

Region C

Region A

Region D

Correct answer:

Cannot be determined from the given information

Explanation:

It is stated that height is the best indicator for health of the soil, which leads to the answer that Region C has the healthiest soil. However this is not the correct answer as the trees recorded in each region all have different ages. In Regions B and D, the trees are hundreds of years younger than the trees in Regions A and C. It is not possible to tell how the trees in Regions B and D will grow and therefore the answer cannot be determined from the given information. 

Example Question #476 : Biology

Two scientists are examining the fragmented skeletal remains of an unidentified person. To begin work on identification, they must start by determining several characteristics about the individual, including sex. When determining sex, a measurement index can be used. Measurements can be taken from various points on the skeleton, such as the scapula or the femur, which then correspond to documented averages for different sexes, which vary with ancestry. In this individual of Latin American ancestry, the scapular breadth has measured 22.0cm, which is the only true sex-determining measurement that can be taken from these remains. In their reference books, the scientists find that this measurement in Latin American females ranges from 18.0-22.0cm and 22.0-24.0cm for Latin American males. Both scientists make a case using other supporting evidence as to which sex this unidentified individual may be.

Scientist 1

Sex can be clearly defined through context clues. Items found with the body and the way the body was found can both be used to determine the sex of the individual in cases such as this which lack other sex-determining measurements. The remains were found with small tennis shoes (size 8), which would generally be indicative of a female. The bag found with the body contained waterlogged copies of several popular magazines, as well as a broken cell phone, nail clippers, and a tube of lip balm. These items are generally more associated with items commonly carried by and used by female individuals rather than males. Because of abundant context clues, this individual can be determined to be female despite ambiguous measurements. 

Scientist 2

Clues about the sex of the individual can come from multiple sources. Context clues, such as the items found with the body, can help. The small shoes and stereotypically female-associated objects found with the remains can give an indication that the person must likely have been female. Another way to help determine sex is through estimated overall stature of the person – men are generally larger and more robustly built than females of the same ancestry. A rough estimation of stature of this individual would indicate that they were about 5’10” tall and heavily muscled. While not impossible for a female, this is a build that is much more likely to belong to a male individual. Though the context clues seem to point toward a female, the stature of the individual strongly suggests male.

Based on Scientist 2’s claim that males tend to be larger, which of these scapular breadth measurements is most likely to be a male?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Based on the given information, the larger the scapular breadth is, the more likely it is to be male, so 24.0cm is the most likely to be male.

Example Question #477 : Biology

Two scientists are examining the fragmented skeletal remains of an unidentified person. To begin work on identification, they must start by determining several characteristics about the individual, including sex. When determining sex, a measurement index can be used. Measurements can be taken from various points on the skeleton, such as the scapula or the femur, which then correspond to documented averages for different sexes, which vary with ancestry. In this individual of Latin American ancestry, the scapular breadth has measured 22.0cm, which is the only true sex-determining measurement that can be taken from these remains. In their reference books, the scientists find that this measurement in Latin American females ranges from 18.0-22.0cm and 22.0-24.0cm for Latin American males. Both scientists make a case using other supporting evidence as to which sex this unidentified individual may be.

Scientist 1

Sex can be clearly defined through context clues. Items found with the body and the way the body was found can both be used to determine the sex of the individual in cases such as this which lack other sex-determining measurements. The remains were found with small tennis shoes (size 8), which would generally be indicative of a female. The bag found with the body contained waterlogged copies of several popular magazines, as well as a broken cell phone, nail clippers, and a tube of lip balm. These items are generally more associated with items commonly carried by and used by female individuals rather than males. Because of abundant context clues, this individual can be determined to be female despite ambiguous measurements. 

Scientist 2

Clues about the sex of the individual can come from multiple sources. Context clues, such as the items found with the body, can help. The small shoes and stereotypically female-associated objects found with the remains can give an indication that the person must likely have been female. Another way to help determine sex is through estimated overall stature of the person – men are generally larger and more robustly built than females of the same ancestry. A rough estimation of stature of this individual would indicate that they were about 5’10” tall and heavily muscled. While not impossible for a female, this is a build that is much more likely to belong to a male individual. Though the context clues seem to point toward a female, the stature of the individual strongly suggests male.

Which one of these statements best fits this case?

Possible Answers:

More evidence would be needed to make a definitive sex determination

Measurements are very inaccurate

History and ancestry are both very important in determining sex

Scientist 1 is correct and Scientist 2 is incorrect

Correct answer:

More evidence would be needed to make a definitive sex determination

Explanation:

While many things can be said about the case, ultimately the information given to the scientists is rather vague, and a final and definitive sex determination cannot truly be made without more proof.

Example Question #478 : Biology

Two scientists are examining the fragmented skeletal remains of an unidentified person. To begin work on identification, they must start by determining several characteristics about the individual, including sex. When determining sex, a measurement index can be used. Measurements can be taken from various points on the skeleton, such as the scapula or the femur, which then correspond to documented averages for different sexes, which vary with ancestry. In this individual of Latin American ancestry, the scapular breadth has measured 22.0cm, which is the only true sex-determining measurement that can be taken from these remains. In their reference books, the scientists find that this measurement in Latin American females ranges from 18.0-22.0cm and 22.0-24.0cm for Latin American males. Both scientists make a case using other supporting evidence as to which sex this unidentified individual may be.

Scientist 1

Sex can be clearly defined through context clues. Items found with the body and the way the body was found can both be used to determine the sex of the individual in cases such as this which lack other sex-determining measurements. The remains were found with small tennis shoes (size 8), which would generally be indicative of a female. The bag found with the body contained waterlogged copies of several popular magazines, as well as a broken cell phone, nail clippers, and a tube of lip balm. These items are generally more associated with items commonly carried by and used by female individuals rather than males. Because of abundant context clues, this individual can be determined to be female despite ambiguous measurements. 

Scientist 2

Clues about the sex of the individual can come from multiple sources. Context clues, such as the items found with the body, can help. The small shoes and stereotypically female-associated objects found with the remains can give an indication that the person must likely have been female. Another way to help determine sex is through estimated overall stature of the person – men are generally larger and more robustly built than females of the same ancestry. A rough estimation of stature of this individual would indicate that they were about 5’10” tall and heavily muscled. While not impossible for a female, this is a build that is much more likely to belong to a male individual. Though the context clues seem to point toward a female, the stature of the individual strongly suggests male.

Which of the following statements would be accepted by both scientists?

Possible Answers:

The individual is female

The individual is Latin American

Context clues are the most important factor in deciding sex

The individual is male

Correct answer:

The individual is Latin American

Explanation:

Both scientists would agree that the individual is Latin American because that information is given as being true in the passage.

Example Question #479 : Biology

Two scientists are examining the fragmented skeletal remains of an unidentified person. To begin work on identification, they must start by determining several characteristics about the individual, including sex. When determining sex, a measurement index can be used. Measurements can be taken from various points on the skeleton, such as the scapula or the femur, which then correspond to documented averages for different sexes, which vary with ancestry. In this individual of Latin American ancestry, the scapular breadth has measured 22.0cm, which is the only true sex-determining measurement that can be taken from these remains. In their reference books, the scientists find that this measurement in Latin American females ranges from 18.0-22.0cm and 22.0-24.0cm for Latin American males. Both scientists make a case using other supporting evidence as to which sex this unidentified individual may be.

Scientist 1

Sex can be clearly defined through context clues. Items found with the body and the way the body was found can both be used to determine the sex of the individual in cases such as this which lack other sex-determining measurements. The remains were found with small tennis shoes (size 8), which would generally be indicative of a female. The bag found with the body contained waterlogged copies of several popular magazines, as well as a broken cell phone, nail clippers, and a tube of lip balm. These items are generally more associated with items commonly carried by and used by female individuals rather than males. Because of abundant context clues, this individual can be determined to be female despite ambiguous measurements. 

Scientist 2

Clues about the sex of the individual can come from multiple sources. Context clues, such as the items found with the body, can help. The small shoes and stereotypically female-associated objects found with the remains can give an indication that the person must likely have been female. Another way to help determine sex is through estimated overall stature of the person – men are generally larger and more robustly built than females of the same ancestry. A rough estimation of stature of this individual would indicate that they were about 5’10” tall and heavily muscled. While not impossible for a female, this is a build that is much more likely to belong to a male individual. Though the context clues seem to point toward a female, the stature of the individual strongly suggests male.

Which of the following best describes how the two scientists approach their problem?

Possible Answers:

Scientist 1 – using context clues

Scientist 2 – multiple methods of determination

Scientist 1 – multiple methods of determination

Scientist 2 – context clues

Scientist 1 – using context clues

Scientist 2 – using context clues

Scientist 1 – reevaluating measurements

Scientist 2 – multiple methods of determination

Correct answer:

Scientist 1 – using context clues

Scientist 2 – multiple methods of determination

Explanation:

Scientist 1 primarily relies on context clues alone, whereas Scientist 2 uses multiple methods of determination.

Example Question #191 : How To Find Synthesis Of Data In Biology

Act science practice set 1 q 1 page 001

In Study 2, what happened to the average height of the trees as light level decreased with an average insect abundance?

Possible Answers:

The average height increased, and then decreased

The average height decreased, and then increased

The average height decreased

The average height increased

Correct answer:

The average height decreased

Explanation:

The average height of trees decreased as the light levels decreased at an average insect abundance. Note that at any light level, the average tree height is shorter when there is less light. The insect abundance level does not necessarily matter in this case.

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