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An 11-page lab product that challenges students to investigate Murphy’s Law of Coins: the more valuable a coin is, the further it will roll away from you if it is dropped. There are 2 forms of this lab product: a teacher-directed version and a student-directed version (see section below).
This Murphy’s Law investigation is designed to be a student-directed lab activity where students are challenged to investigate a non-scientific “Murphy’s Law” in a scientific way. By doing so, students gain experience with experimental design concepts, including identifying variables, determining materials, writing procedures, creating data tables and graphs, as well as writing conclusions. They also have a lot of fun!
Two Different Versions of the Lab Activity:
- Like many of the labs found in my Nature of Science unit, this product comes in 2 formats: a teacher-directed lab report and a student-directed document. This is to give instructors flexibility in how they want to run the activity with their students.
- Typically, I give out more teacher-directed labs in earlier lessons, then steadily reduce my involvement in the planning and implementation of investigations as students gain mastery of experimental design.
- In later lessons, I give out student-directed labs exclusively, where students are expected to plan, design, conduct, and report on their own experiments.
- The teacher-directed version of the lab requires students to take 4 brands of paper towels, cut them into equally-sized pieces, submerge them into a known volume of water, measure the volume of water each paper towel brand absorbs, and compare results.
- The student-directed version of the lab requires students to plan, design, and conduct their own investigation, which helps them gain experience with experimental design skills.
- To be specific, these skills include: identifying variables, writing procedures, creating data tables, conducting experiments, analyzing data, and writing conclusions.
- It is also one of the first opportunities for students to write a full lab report document during my Nature of Science unit.
BONUS! 16-Slide PPT Presentation on the Origin of Murphy’s Law:
- I have included a 16-slide PPT presentation on the history or Murphy’s Law, which is a fantastic story about top secret experiments, the first human crash test dummies, tremendous G-forces, terrible injuries, and a humorous take on life.
- The PPT serves as an entertaining introduction to the lab and tells students the human side to the Murphy’s Law that many of us know (and often experience).
Included Evaluation Rubric:
- This product features a reduced-version of my Single-Point Lab Report Rubric to help instructors assess student performance on certain parts of the lab.
- The full lab report rubric normally retails for $3.00.
- For more information about single point rubrics click on the link below:
Included Teacher’s Guide:
- This product also contains an additional 2-page teacher’s guide, which includes information on the different formats of the lab, timeframes, pre-lab preparations, organization during the lab, troubleshooting, and suggested modifications depending on time, space, and equipment limitations.
Lab Techniques Addressed by This Activity:
- Writing hypotheses
- Identifying variables and constants
- Following a procedure
- Recording data
- Graphing data
- Analyzing experimental results
- Writing conclusions
Full Answer Key with Sample Student Data:
- Both versions feature a full answer key with sample student data.
- Sample data is valuable if there are students that are absent or otherwise unable to finish the experiment but whom you would like to still complete the activity.
Downloadable in 2 Formats:
- Each lab document comes in 2 formats: a static PDF document and fully-editable WORD document
- Download the full PDF preview to see EXACTLY what you are getting!
Relevant NGSS Science and Engineering Practices Addressed by This Product:
- Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
- Analyzing and Interpreting Data
- Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
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Copyright © Douglas Enns. All rights reserved by author. This product is to be used by the original downloader only. Copying for more than one teacher, classroom, department, school, or school system is prohibited. This product may not be distributed or displayed digitally for public view. Failure to comply is a copyright infringement and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Clipart and elements found in this document are copyrighted and cannot be extracted and used outside of this file without permission or license. Intended for classroom and personal use ONLY.