Grade: Senior
Subject: Science

#199. Using the Scientific Method

Science, level: Senior
Posted by Carolyn Robinson ().
Treadwell High School, Memphis, TN 38122
Materials Required: pen and paper
Activity Time: two hours
Concepts Taught: Teaching the Scientific Method

Set: Discuss with the class about How does a scientist design an experiment? Brainstorm and write suggestions on the board. Lead students to ascertain that scientist use observations to ask questions to explain the natural world. From these questions an experiment is designed to uncover the possible answers to the question. In a way, the scientist makes up the experiment based on the "educated guess" made from the observation. Students can do the same.
Lesson: Give the students the following:
"A FRIEND TELLS YOU THAT PLANTS GROW SLOWLY WHEN SALT IS ADDED TO THE SOIL". Design an experiment using the scientific method.
Students are to work in cooperative groups of 2-3 students.
1. state the problem
2. gathering information
3. write a hypothesis
4. independent variable (the one thing changed in the experiment)
5. experiment
6 record and analyzing data
7. conclusion
8. draw what your conclusion looks like in a box.

_______________ ___________________

_______________ ___________________

Pass back the papers without giving a grade. Do skim for errors before giving back the papers. Go over each part of the experiment with the class as a whole group. Try to insure that the hypothesis written includes the same type of nouns and verb and adjective that the problem has. This prevents the student from writing a hypothesis with more than one variable. Give the students time to redo any part of their papar and complete all parts.
Once the students have finished, ask them to try and think of a time when they would really put salt in the soil of a plant. Ask the students to write the response on a sheet of noebook paper. Discuss the answers. When would this really happen? Examples would be- putting slat on porches in the winter after a snow or ice storm, salt on the roads to melt ice, and putting salt on slugs to kill them. Then ask students under what conditions will plants grow with salt in the soil? Some examples would be: plants in the ocean, plants that live by the ocean.
The last thing is to ask the students to write a REFLECTION of their thought processes as they completed this activity. They should write about what was difficult for them and what part was easy.