Google has a really neat app available called "Science Journal." This app is not a log of experiments or anything, as one might expect based on the name. Rather, it allows you to use your smart phone or tablet as a sensor to measure light intensity, sound intensity, acceleration in three planes, and barometric pressure. The app has many neat features, which I have my kids figure out on their own.
**NOTE: The app does NOT work on Apple products, Chromebooks, or PCs. It only works on Android smart phones and tablets.**
For this lesson, students work in groups (mine were in groups of four) to decide how to use Science Journal to test a research question of their design. They write up a procedure, identify variables/controls/constants, write a hypothesis, and create a data table to collect information. There are various "stops" throughout the student pages of the document, requiring them to be approved by the teacher before moving on.
Students then run their experiment, collect and analyze data, and create a poster. I provide the details for putting together the poster, along with a checklist for the students, and a rubric for grading the poster.
Students communicate their results and share their experimental design in a poster session. I provide suggestions for running a poster session, along with forms for students to fill out along the way to keep them active and engaged.
I did this with a class mixed with 10th-12th graders. It could be used at any middle school or high school grade level. With 45-minute class periods, it took my students a week to complete this activity from start to finish.
My students loved it, and it was a nice "brain break" from tough content. While it was easy on some levels, it forced them to review terminology (independent variable, control, etc.), work on communication skills, and exercise creativity in the design of their experiment and poster. I hope your kids love it, too!
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