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Scientific Method Lesson Plan Overview Title: Scientific Method Author: Larisa Managan Grade: 8th Grade Physical Science Description: The main emphasis of this activity is to introduce students to “the scientific method.” After some exposure to the terms used to describe the scientific method, students will conduct a paper airplane experiment in which they use all the methods of science. Time Frame: 2/3 class periods Prerequisite Skills: Students should know there are steps to follow in a science classroom and laboratory. Objectives: 1. Identify steps within the scientific process. Students will be able to state the steps in the scientific method. Applying process skills to interpret data from graphs, tables, and charts Identifying controls and variables in a scientific investigation Evaluation Formative assessments will be used to evaluate the students (follow up questions, exit slips, choice board, K-W-L, paint the picture, graphic organizers, etc.) Materials and Equipment computer LCD projector Paper Meter stick Scales Tape measurer Graphic organizer Methods of Science Poster Pepperidge Farm spicy flavored goldfish crackers Textbook Pencil or pen Folding instructions Group data sheet Instructional Procedure The teacher will ask students the following question What is science? The students will view the video Scientific Method. The teacher will review “Methods of Science Poster” Have the students read the steps in the Methods of Science and ask them which terms are new to them. You will be hearing these words a lot during science class and you should pay close attention as each term is defined and examples given: observe, wonder, question, hypothesis, predictions, data, variables, independent variables, dependent variables, design experiments, controls, repeated trials, observations, analysis, conclusions, and further questions. The teacher will give students a “Lets Do Science Worksheet” (give students time to complete the worksheets) followed by a “Test Your Powers of Observation Worksheet” Ask students how do scientists find things out? o Scientists make observations using their five senses o What are the five senses? [sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste] o How can we tell if a banana is not ready to eat? If it is ripe? If it is rotten? Did you use all your senses to determine the answers to your questions? o Mystery object demonstration: The mystery object is a Pepperidge Farm Spicy Flavored Gold Fish cracker. Bring up a pre-selected volunteer who is not allergic to this snack. Hand the student one little gold fish cracker and tell them to pretend that they have never seen or heard of a gold fish cracker before. Then tell them that we are going to collect some QUALITATIVE DATA by having our volunteer DESCRIBE the mystery object using their 5 senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. List all of the descriptions on the board, one by one, as the student describes the mystery object. o STOP the student from tasting the snack and say: Before you TASTE our mystery object, can you make an INFERENCE about what it will taste like based on your observations? o Tell them that an INFERENCE is a logical explanation based on your observations. Have the class make some inferences about how they think the snack will taste based on what it looks like. Let the student eat the Mystery Object and report their taste findings to the class. The introduction will be followed by the students demonstrating how the scientific method can be used to conduct a paper airplane experiment. Students will work in groups of 4, with each student performing different tasks during the experiment (plane thrower, data recorder, and measurer). Each group will be assigned one of six plane designs, each representing an animal with a particular mode of flying or gliding (e.g., eagle, hawk, flying squirrel, bat, dragonfly, and grasshopper). All plane flights will be compared to a control design that is designated at the beginning of the experiment. Students will throw their airplanes more than once, and we will discuss the need for replicates or repeated trials in experiments. Once all groups have conducted the experiment we will all gather for a “science seminar” to discuss the results and demonstrate how data can be analyzed. We will reiterate the concepts of variation, repeated trials, control, and hypothesis— all parts of the scientific method. The teacher will give students a copy of group data sheet and folding instructions. The students will start the assignment once they get their materials. Closure 1. Which INDEPENDENT VARIABLE would you have changed to make your plane fly farther? 2. What were some OBSERVATIONS you made during class that you’d like to share? 3. What kind of things would you like to study if you where a scientist? Encourage the students to remember what they did today because we will be using the information we learned today in future science classes. o GREAT JOB Junior Scientists!!! You will get to keep your planes you may fly them at home but not at school. Follow-up activities: Students will be given a follow up questions worksheet. Special Notes: Modifications will be made for special education students.
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