This lab activity will ensure that your students understand the scientific method and how to design a controlled experiment.. In this inquiry lab activity, students are guided through the scientific method as they write and implement an experiment of their own design. Push your students to do more than just list the steps of the scientific method. This activity will teach them how to APPLY
the scientific method.
Please note: This product is included in my Science Skills Mega-Bundle. (Click this link to view.)
This Science Skills Bundle contains 61 different files on science skills, including metric system, scientific method, scientific notation, graphing, significant digits, experimental design, comparing and contrasting and more.
In my many years of teaching, I have discovered that my students do not truly understand how to apply the scientific method. When they reach my high school biology class, they can recite the steps to the scientific method, but few can actually design a controlled experiment. This activity will ensure that your students can design and implement a controlled experiment.
What is included in this product?
• First students will complete a 5-page lab activity
where all students are designing a lab on the same topic.
• You will also receive a 4-page activity for future student-designed experiments.
Once your students have mastered how to design an experiment, you will use these handouts all year long as your students design experiments on topics of their own choice.
• 4-Page Teacher Answer Key
• 1-Page Teacher Guide
Here are the main points of this activity:
1. In the first activity, all students will be designing a lab on the same topic and using the same simple materials.
2. Students are asked to design an experiment to determine how various quantities of water will affect the germination of seeds. (See my preview to view photographs of student work.)
3. There are very few variations as to how to design this experiment. This keeps all of your students moving in the same direction. This makes your role as facilitator easier, especially if class size is large. If this is the first time your students have tried to design their own experiment, the limited possibilities in experimental design will help your students learn the process with less frustration.
4. This requires very simple materials: Petri dishes or other similar container, radish seeds, graduated cylinder, and water.
5. In this activity, students are asked to identify the independent and the dependent variables. They must also describe their experimental group and their control group.
6. Students must design a data table and construct a graph of the data they collect.
7. The handouts that I have developed for this activity can be used over and over. If you have another idea for a student designed experiment, you can have your students use these same handouts.
8. If time allows, you might want to have your students design a second experiment that tests a different variable, such as the effect of temperature on seed germination or the effect of pH on seed germination.
This is somewhat time consuming, but in my opinion, is well worth the time. I require that students first submit their experimental design to me for approval. I make suggestions, and have the students refine their experiment. Next, students are in the lab to actually carry out their experiment. Students must return to the lab at different time intervals to count their germinated seeds. Students must analyze their data, graph the results, reach a conclusion, and turn in their final packet of work.
Your download will include handouts that are attractive and engaging and are ready to be copied and passed out to your students. You will receive both an editable Word document as well as a pdf of the lab.
You will also receive a 4 page handout that can be used at another time if you decide to have your students design their own experiment on another topic.
Related products include:
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Scientific Method Homework / Study Guide
Science Skills Reinforcement: Graphing, Applying the Scientific Method, Experimental Design, and Scientific Writing
Biology Buzz Words: Introduction to Biology
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Science Skills Worksheet and PowerPoint: Comparing and Contrasting
Introduction to Biology: A Complete Unit Plan of 20 products
Graphing Practice Problems
Measurement Madness Worksheet
Scientific Measurement: Complete Unit Plan of 12 products
Scientific Method Task Cards
Common Core Science: Informational Reading Task Cards for ANY Science Reading Passage
Graphic Organizer for Writing Science Lab Reports
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