We all want our classrooms very hands-on with student led investigations, but the management is challenging. I wanted my students to authentically pursue the scientific process with choice, but sometimes it can be messy and unfocused.
I have been using this method and I am finally putting it into a document. The lessons flow is: Gather background, present a simple experiment, challenge kids to modify the experiment to affect change, collect data, reflect.
You will have a bustling classroom of discussions and compromises and scientific talking! Yes, you guided the initial investigation, but your students were able to practice formulating questions, set up a fair investigation, develop a method of organizing data, and most importantly, reflect.
This gives wonderful opportunity for students to
-develop testable questions
-identify a variable
-design an fair investigation
-establish a system for recording data
-reflect on their results
-compare results with other scientists
I print my student lab sheets front to back and fold so my students have a booklet.
The Lab Booklet fits nicely into a composition book. Use a staple or a line of white glue to attach to the lab book.
I like that the sections keep my lesson focused and on track. There is a definite beginning (background and connections) and a definite ending (reflections).
There is flexibility so teachers can choose their own materials, essential vocabulary, and modifications.