Introducing and using scientific inquiry by hcj


									Introducing and using scientific inquiry
Band of development: Curriculum organiser: Year level(s): Proposed duration: Essential Learning Achievements Early adolescence Science 6-8 2-3 weeks (flexible) 2. The student understands and applies the inquiry process.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Thank you to the Curriculum Support Section for developing and sharing this unit.

This is a sample unit. Teachers need to consider its usefulness within the context of their own students’ needs and school’s curriculum plan and adapt it accordingly.

Posted: November 2007

Introducing and Using Scientific Inquiry
Curriculum Organiser: Science Unit duration: a series of lessons that can be used a part a unit or individually to address aspects of the inquiry process. Band of Development: Early adolescence Unit Description This unit outlines a process for introducing the inquiry process and includes links to useful websites to assist with different elements of scientific inquiry. In this unit students will have the opportunity to understand and apply the scientific inquiry process. Big Understandings Focus Questions The scientific inquiry process is a means of testing ideas and making new knowledge. What is the scientific inquiry process? It is a rigorous process that incorporates careful planning, testing and analysis of information. How is scientific inquiry used? Essential Learning Achievements ELA2 The student understands and applies the inquiry process Attitudes and values In this Essential Learning Achievement, students have opportunities to:  develop curiosity, openness to new ideas and inquiring habit of mind  appreciate the steps required to undertake a rigorous inquiry that draws valid conclusions  respect intellectual property rights and use procedures to acknowledge ownership of information Overarching Essential Content items that will be developed as a result of experiencing the use of the scientific inquiry process. Students will have the opportunity to: 1. understand variations of the inquiry process used in particular disciplines (e.g. in historical research, scientific testing, mathematical analysis) 2. select and use appropriate forms of the inquiry process for particular purposes, including a range of investigative, modelling Unit of work including Essential Content that will be addressed under each aspect of inquiry. and problem-solving strategies


Aspect of Inquiry

Essential Content


Assessment FA Formative SA Summative FA – Peer assessment of other students questions in groups FA – teacher review of questions

Clarify and define the inquiry purpose, scope and methods

2.3 formulate questions, predictions or propositions suitable for investigation and clarify the inquiry focus

Write questions that can be tested using scientific inquiry

Teaching and Teacher reflection Learning tools (refer to the reference list below for details) Working with Questions 1. Inventor Testable Questions 2. Writing Testable Questions 3. Brainstorm different types of questions. Identify questions that are suitable for testing. Discuss questions that cannot be tested Practice writing questions using a worksheet (see links above


2.4 plan steps to conduct the inquiry, including equipment, safety, time and level of collaboration required 2.5 determine data or information needs and devise suitable methods to collect the data or information required

Plan an experiment, (including data collection techniques) that tests only one variable.

FA – from students completing a worksheet SA – from the question and hypothesis written for their final report. FA – through student groups discussing their experimental design

How to write an Hypothesis using the „If ----then --method” Eg “If the temperature is increased then the tin foil will glow red” Writing Hypothesis: a student lesson4. Use a Mindmap to develop an understanding of different types of variables, which to change, measure and keep the same (p.5 from Investigating Scientifically stage 45 Students use the variable information to list their materials and design a fair test (eg Worksheet 7 & 9 p.14 & 17 from: Investigating Scientifically stage 45


Clarify and define the inquiry purpose, scope and methods (Cont)

Assemble and evaluate information

2.6 plan and conduct scientific investigations with an understanding of the requirements of fair testing (e.g. maintain the same conditions, identify the variable to be changed and the variable to be measured) 2.7 collect and assemble relevant data or information taking steps to minimise error (e.g. systematic observation, repeated trials)

Safely and accurately carry out a simple scientific experiment. Select appropriate equipment for an experiment.

SA – observation of student experimentation SA – observation of student equipment list Students conduct their experiment

Select and use appropriate method/s for collecting and presenting data

FA – students complete analysis from sample data SA – student analysis of data in their report

Use resource sheets 10 and 11 p.20-26 from Investigating Scientifically stage 45 to develop an understanding of what assembling data means Class discussion of experiments carried out Provide sample experiments with repeat trials included Explore the accuracy of different types of equipment

Assemble and evaluate information (cont) and Communicate and justify their conclusions

2.9 evaluate the accuracy, relevance, completeness and the credibility of data and information and their sources (e.g. recognise evidence, opinion, bias and perspective; identify credentials of authors or websites)

Increase the validity of an experiment by using repeat trials and/or more accurate methods of measurement

FA – Observation of experimental accuracy and number of repeat trials


2.11 organise and analyse data or information (e.g. using ICT), summarise and explain patterns in data, or compare and synthesise information from different sources 2.12 review their understanding in light of new information 2.16 discuss and compare their results with those of others for the same investigation, suggest reasons for any differences, and make suggestions to improve their investigations or conduct further investigations 2.17 reflect on the appropriateness of methods of presenting data in terms of clarity and/or ease of analysis

Analyse data sets for accuracy and completeness

FA – students practicing with sample data SA – ICT generated data sets for the final report FA – student responses ( sample data may need to be used to practice this)

Demonstrate the use of Excel to develop a table and transfer to a graph. Using Microsoft Excel in a classroom 7 Students practice with sample data Use the scaffold sheet 13.1 p28 from Investigating Scientifically stage 45 to assist students or Brainstorm answers to three questions: a) what are the results telling you? b) what worked or did not work in your experiment and what did you do to change or improve it? c) what could be extended or improved if you were to continue this investigation? Demonstrate chunking of ideas to help write paragraphs.

Discuss the relationship between the results collected and the original hypothesis.

Communicate and justify their conclusions

2.13 draw reasonable conclusions based on analysis of data and information

Draw conclusions from the analysis of data collected. Prepare a scientific report SA – final report

Use the scaffold sheet 13.2 p29 from Investigating Scientifically stage 45 Scaffold report sample p4 in Investigating Scientifically stage 45 Provide sample posters for students to look at and/or guidelines of what to do Creating Effective Poster Presentations: An Effective Poster

2.15 present the inquiry focus, problems, background, ideas and approaches and report on results, findings and conclusions using suitable representations and discipline-based terminology 2.18 acknowledge sources of information using bibliographies.

Provide a presentation of the scientific inquiry to a class including a bibliography if appropriate

SA – students prepare a scientific poster about their inquiry and present this to the class


References: 1. Working with Questions Doing Science: The process of Scientific Inquiry, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, 2005 BSCS, Colorado Springs, viewed 12 November 2007 2. Inventor – Testable Questions, Academy Handbook 5th Grade, 2004, Elementary CORE academy, viewed 12 November 2007 3. Writing Testable Questions, Skill 1.1, Writing Testable Questions: Independent practice #2, Mr Crick‟s Science Class, viewed 12 November 2007 4. Writing Hypothesis: a student lesson Angry Red Planet An Access Excellence Mystery, Writing Hypothesis: a student lesson, 2007, Access Excellence, national Health Museum, Washington,viewed 12 November 2007 5. Investigating Scientifically Investigating Scientifically in Stage 4, Support for Student Research Projects, A teaching resource developed by the Sceince Unit, Curriuclum K-12 Directorate, 2004, NSW Department of Education and Training K-12 Curriuclum Directorate viewed 12 November 2007 6. Using Microsoft Excel in a classroom Internet4classrooms: Helping Teachers use the Internet effectively, Brookes S., Byles B., Internet 4Classrooms viewed 12 November 2007 7. Creating Effective Poster Presentations: An Effective Poster, Hess, G.R., K. Tosney, and L. Liegel. 2006. Creating Effective Poster Presentations. , viewed 12 November 2007 8. Scientific Inquiry Model Teaching Strategies Science Inquiry Model, 2007, Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, viewed 12 November 2007 9. Doing Science : The Process of Scientific Inquiry National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, 2005 BSCS, Colorado Springs, viewed 12 November 2007 10 The Scientific Method by John Cowens, Teachingprek-8, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, 2005 BSCS, Colorado Springs, viewed 12 November 2007 11 Working Scientifically by Anne Donnelly, 2007, Science Teachers Association of the Northern Territory, viewed 12 November 2007

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