This is an amazing lab activity that allows students to develop an independent role in the classroom. Students use their natural curiosity to design an experiment that will provide answers to questions that they developed from their personal observations.
Throughout this process students will:
Develop questions after observing a demonstration (Teachers choice)
Develop a hypothesis that will answer the questions they created.
Develop an experiment that will prove or nullify their hypothesis.
Create a data table and graph to organize data.
Conclude the experiment based off data that is collected.
This lesson will take a minimum 9-10 classes (40 to 50 minutes). This lab could be used to teach the steps of scientific inquiry in a mini unit format.
This lesson offers students independence and allows them to choose their own direction.
Next Generation Science Standards
This lab will cover the four NGSS Engineering standards at the middle school level.
MS-ETS1-1: Define a design problem that can be solved through the development of an object, tool, process or system and includes multiple criteria and constraints, including scientific knowledge that may limit possible solutions.
MS-ETS1-2: Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
MS-ETS1-3: Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
MS-ETS1-4: Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.