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Designing your very own science experiment

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Overview:
Students design and carry out an experiment using pill bugs (isopods). Other organisms could be used in place of the pill bugs. Students reflect on the process used by charting their pathway on the Science Flowchart.

Author/Source:
Stefanski, Mark

Grade:
9-12

Discipline:
Life Science

Time:
2–4 class periods

Teaching tips:
This lesson provides a foundation on which students can develop a long-term investigation.

Concepts:
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Science is both a body of knowledge and the process for building that knowledge. (NOS5)

  • Science aims to build explanations of the natural world. (P3, P6)

  • Science focuses on natural phenomena and processes.

  • Science works only with testable ideas. (P2, P3, NOS2)

  • Scientists strive to test their ideas with evidence from the natural world; a hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7, NOS2)

  • Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as new ideas surface and new evidence is discovered. (P4, P6, NOS3)

  • Science is ongoing; answering one scientific question frequently leads to additional questions to be investigated. (P1)

  • The process of science involves observation, exploration, testing, communication, and application.

  • Scientists test their ideas (hypotheses and theories) by figuring out what expectations are generated by an idea and making observations to find out whether those expectations are borne out. (P4, P6)

  • Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence. (P6, NOS2)

  • Researchers share their findings with the scientific community through scientific publications. (P8)

  • Hypotheses are proposed explanations for a narrow set of phenomena. (P6)

  • Hypotheses are usually inspired and informed by previous research and/or observations. They are not guesses. (P6)

  • Scientists usually work collaboratively. (NOS7)

  • Scientists scrutinize each other's work through peer review and other processes. (P7, NOS5)

  • Science relies on the accumulated knowledge of the scientific community to move forward. (NOS5)

Teacher background:

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