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Let's Do Science

Skills and activities related to the Scientific Method.

Let's Do Science by Francesconi;  Terry Allen
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The overall aim of this blackline masters book is to present science as a field of study that follows a particular method – the Scientific Method. The work in this book will be most suited to middle school students aged between 10 and 14 years. Basic Skills Initially, students are introduced to various fundamental skills of scientific research. These are: Making observations (including measurements); Representation of data (tables, bar and line graphs); Fair testing and using variables. Definitions, explanations and examples are included with each concept. Therefore, students should be able to proceed through many of the worksheets and activities at their own pace. While some worksheets have specific answers that are included in the answer key, most are open-ended, in line with a learning outcomes-based approach. As such, class discussion and teacher monitoring of student work is necessary to maintain that students are acquiring the skills correctly. The book is presented as a sequential and cumulative attainment of a variety of interlocking skills. Most of the activities deal with new concepts or a higher level of a concept already introduced. Sometimes, previous activities are referred to. For these reasons, it is important that the book be covered in order and that most, if not all, of the worksheets/activities are attempted. Some of the worksheets are very simple and should only take five minutes; others are detailed activities requiring more time. Scientific Method - Experiments After these fundamental skills have been learned, the Scientific Method and writing of scientific reports is introduced. The steps to testing an idea using the Scientific Method are: observation of a happening; making an educated guess (hypothesis) as to why this occurred; designing a fair experiment to test this guess; recording observations and measurements; forming a conclusion or altering the test. It is important that students have an understanding that an experiment is performed because an observation was made initially. The experiment is a way of testing if the observation occurs all the time, or of determining its significance. Here is an example of the Scientific Method that you may wish to use as an introduction. A student notices that he hears the same bird call every morning but that the time he hears
it changes during the year. (observation) He decides that the bird calls when it sees the sun. (hypothesis - an educated guess) He may decide to test this by waking before sunrise each day to hear the bird. (designing an
experiment) He may note that the bird does actually sing as the sun rises every day. (making observations) He may conclude that his hypothesis was correct. (conclusion) NOTE: If he did not hear the bird sing every morning as the sun rose, he may want to change his hypothesis and re-test.
Ready-Ed Publications; May 2002
48 pages; ISBN 9781863974608
Read online, or download in secure PDF format
Title: Let's Do Science
Author: Francesconi; Terry Allen

- A Fancy Word For Factors That Change!

Scientists have a special word for factors that can change in an experiment. They are called variables (from the word ‘vary’ meaning ‘to change’). Remember that when you do an experiment, only one variable should change.

This factor is called the test variable. It is the variable being tested. In the case of the eating competition, the test variable is the person eating.

Another type of variable is called the measured variable. This is what is being measured.

In the case of the eating competition, the measured variable is the time taken to eat the food. The measured variable will change because the test variable changes.

The other variables, the ones that stay the same, are called controlled variables. In the case of the eating competition, the control variables are the type of food eaten, the type of plate used, the location, the way the food is cut up, and so on.

o Michael and Nicole had a competition to decide who could read the fastest.

Below are the variables they used. Next to each one, indicate if it is the test,
measured or controlled variable/s.

The story to be read

The time taken to finish reading

The person reading

The room in which they read

The type of chair they sat on to read

o Mrs Floral did an experiment to test which type of plant grew the tallest.

Below are the variables she used. Next to each one, indicate if it is the test,
measured or controlled variable/s.

The amount of water each plant received

The amount of sunlight each plant received

The type of plant

The type of soil used

The height of the plants

The type of fertilizer used