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Friday, July 1, 2011

Teaching the Scientific Method

It is a requirement in my district for all science teachers that will have students participate in the Science Fair to attend an in-service that supplies us with a set of lesson plans to teach how to create a science fair project. My problem with this is that they are the SAME for grades 6 through 12! My poor babies really haven't had to formally use the scientific method to this extent which can be a tad bit overwhelming for a 6th grader! So, I do my own BORROWED thing. :)

A few....well maybe 5....summers ago I participated in a Math and Science partnership through the local university in which they used the "Student Scaffold for Designing and Conducting Experiments" that I have used in my classroom ever since. I have tweaked it a bit to include writing lines and more space for my kiddos [when I get to my school computer, I will link it as it is not on any of my jump drives here]. The only prep you need to do is have a class set of 1x1 sticky notes ready [4 each of 2 different colors per student] and a class set of the object in which you plan for them to investigate and manipulate [and any variations of it that the kids could possibly think of]. I used a small popper making sure they were all the same color and walked them through the entire scaffold. There are 2 sets of 4 boxes. The first 4 are for the independent variable and the the second set of 4 for the dependent variable. To make this interactive, you use the 2 different colored 1x1 sticky notes: the first same 4 for the independent and the second same 4 for the dependent. What they wind up with is one of each variable which helps develop the rest of the method. The best part of this is that they go through and learn the whole entire method in a matter of days and actually have the "Science Fair Experience" before they even have to do it.

I do have to add in here that in the beginning when they are trying to determine exactly what the popper is [yes I have students that don't know] we research like all good scientists and write down what we find and cite the sources! In the end they have to write up am "Experimental Research Report" in which they have to use the information we gathered through research and in the experiment.

I have used this with growing dinosaurs and the sponge capsules, too. Go ahead and give it a try...after all, it is Science Diva Certified! :) If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to message me!

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