This lab is a fun way to teach or review the scientific method. Students compete to make the highest bouncing bouncy ball while staying under budget and finishing in time.
Students work in groups of 3 or 4 and compete to have the highest bouncing bouncy ball. Each team gets a budget and can do as many trials as they want as long as they stay under budget and the time limit. I give the students information explaining what the current bouncy ball product is made out of and they have to figure out how to make it better. They have access to various materials such as: water, borax, glue, paper cups, wooden stirrers, and plastic spoons. Each of these materials has a certain cost. They also are charged for renting a lab station, balance, and graduated cylinder. Then I let them loose to brainstorm and come up with recipes and they have to come to the front of the classroom and test how high it bounces. I always keep a scoreboard up front so everyone knows which group is in the lead and I usually reward the winning team with a few extra credit points on their first test. (A little healthy competition for motivation.)
At the end of the lab, the students have to answer questions where they pick out the different parts of the scientific method they used. They end up seeing that they used every part of the scientific method.
For the entire Introduction to Biology Unit Packet with a unit test, other activities, a PowerPoint and student notes, visit http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Introduction-to-Biology-Unit-Packet-1468970.
For more information about this lab and tips on modifying it for various classrooms, visit: http://teachingrealscience.com/2013/02/13/bouncy-ball-scientific-method-lab/