This fun activity shows students why constants (controlled variables) are necessary for the reliability, fairness, and accuracy of experiments. It involves students in the process of creating an experiment almost entirely without constants so they can more easily identify constants and fix flawed experiments in the future. This is an activity my students always remember, which makes it easy to refer back to for future lessons.
Students often struggle with the concept of constants and why they are so necessary to have in experiments. This activity gets them involved with and energetic about constants (and the lack thereof). It provides opportunities for students to practice the basics of writing a procedure, a scientific question, and a hypothesis. In addition it allows students to evaluate an experiment, identify its flaws, and create ways to improve it.
The objectives for the activity are listed below.
-Students will be able to identify constants in an experiment.
-Students will be able to state why constants are necessary in experiments.
-Students will be able to recognize experiment flaws and create solutions.
This document contains background information on constants; thorough directions for before, during, and after the activity; discussion questions; and student worksheets for before and after the activity. The supplies needed for the activity are minimal and completely optional. While I created this activity for my seventh graders, it is easily adaptable for lower or higher grade levels.
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You might also be interested in the following resources:
--Constants INB Pages
--Constants Exit Ticket
--Variable Superheroes Assignment
What teachers are saying about this resource:
“Used this at the beginning of the year to cover scientific method and students loved it and talked about it all year long! Great activity!”
“My students LOVED this activity! And I loved it too because it really made it clear to my students that constants make an experiment fair.”
“Yea, this one is a winner. So clear to understand afterward for the students and ultra-high engagement. Get it.”
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