Scientific Method and Principles Unit Plan by jamesdauray


Unit plan covering the scientific method and other important principles of science. Originally written for a life science or environmental science course. Covers pseudoscience, the scientific method, parts of an experiment.

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									                                       Scientific Method
                                              Unit Plan

Suggested Academic Level: 11-12th grade or 100-level college course

Anticipated Time Required: 7 class periods, including chapter test

Previous Unit: Introduction to Environmental Science

Next Unit: Populations and Species Interactions

Vocabulary: Scientific method, reproducibility, observation, hypothesis, experiment, variable,
experimental group, control group, controlled study, line graph, pie graph, bar graph, conclusion,
collaboration, pseudoscience, bias, blind experiment, double-blind experiment, probability, sample size,
matter, law of conservation of matter, energy, laws of thermodynamics, atomic structure, protons,
neutrons, electrons, atom, molecule, compound, pH scale, neutral, acids, bases.


   1.   Differentiate between science and pseudoscience.
   2.   Apply questions from Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit to examples of pseudoscience.
   3.   Explain each of the steps of the scientific method.
   4.   Define the parts of a controlled experiment.
   5.   Identify the variable, control group, and experimental group in a given experiment.
   6.   Create a bar graph, line graph, or pie graph when presented with a data set.
   7.   Explain how bias is minimized research with blind and double-blind studies.
   8.   Identify and label the parts of an atom.
   9.   Explain the use of the pH scale in measuring acids and bases.

Lesson Title                 Description                     Time              Resources
                             Discuss Carl Sagan’s
                                                                               Powerpoint Lecture
                             Baloney Detection Kit.
                                                                               Baloney Detection Kit
                             Show video clip from
Introduction                                                 25 minutes        Video Clip
                             Skeptic Magazine.
                                                                               Journal Writing Prompt
                             Apply to the example of the
                                                                               on Nibiru (Planet X)
                             Nirubu collision theory.
                             Explain the concept of
                             pseudoscience. Discuss
                                                                               Eyes of Nye –
                             multiple examples.
Pseudoscience                                                35 minutes        Pseudoscience DVD
                                                                               and Worksheet
                             Show the “Eyes of Nye”
                             episode on Pseudoscience.

Environmental Science Teaching Resources    
Lesson Title             Description                     Time         Resources
                         Explain the steps of the
                         scientific method. Define
                                                                      Spontaneous Generation
                         each of the parts of an
                                                                      and the Scientific
                                                                      Method Worksheet
Scientific Method
                         Complete the “Spontaneous
                                                         75 minutes   Mythbusters Season 1
                         Generation and the Scientific
                         Method” worksheet set.
                                                                      Mythbusters: Who Gets
                         Show the “Who Gets
                                                                      Wetter? Worksheet
                         Wetter?” segment from
                         Mythbusters, episode 1.
                         Complete the data collection                 Data Analysis and
Data Collection                                        30 minutes
                         activity worksheet.                          Graphing Worksheet
                         Define bias. Explain
                         different experimental
                         designs that seek to minimize
                                                                      Nova Secrets of the
Minimizing Bias in
                                                         60 minutes   Psychics Video and
Scientific Design        Show the Nova episode
                         entitled “Secrets of the
                         Psychics”. Students
                         complete worksheet to
                         accompany video.
                         Explain the concept of the
                         atom as the basic building
                         block of matter. Define each
                         of the parts of an atom.
                                                                      Bill Nye Atoms Video
                         Show the Bill Nye the
Basic Chemistry          Science Guy episode on          60 minutes   Chemthink Particulate
                         Atoms.                                       Nature of Matter
                         Complete the Chemthink
                         online tutorial and question
                         set on the Particulate Nature
                         of Matter.
                         Define acids and bases as
                         measured by the pH scale.
                                                                      Acid Rain and pH
Acids, Bases, and pH                                     60 minutes
                                                                      Visualization Lab
                         Students complete the acid
                         rain and pH visualization lab.
                         Students complete unit study
Review                   guide in preparation for       30 minutes    Student Study Guide

Environmental Science Teaching Resources
Optional Activities:

                                            Activity where students collect and map data
Poison Pump Activity
(from Project Wet Curriculum)               similar to that used by John Snow, who famously
                                            ended the cholera epidemic in London.

                                            The Mythbusters complete a series of short
                                            controlled experiments to determine what causes
Mythbusters: Diet Coke and Mentos Episode
                                            the Diet Coke and Mentos chemical reaction.
                                            Control and experimental groups are highlighted.

                                            Worksheet that has students identify different parts
Simpsons Scientific Method Worksheet        of the scientific method and experiments using
                                            scenarios from the Simpsons TV show.

                                            Worksheet that has students identify different parts
Spongebob Scientific Method Worksheet       of the scientific method and experiments using
                                            scenarios from the Spongebob TV show.

                                            Provides four famous experiments from science
Famous Examples of the Scientific Method
                                            history. Students identify the scientific method and
                                            parts of an experiment in each example.

Environmental Science Teaching Resources

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