Reflection: Discourse and Questioning What is the Scientific Method? - Section 2: Warm Up


While introducing the steps of the scientific method, we had a brief discussion about each.  When discussing step one, ask a testable question, students seemed confused on the difference between testable and nontestable questions.  I gave several examples which included: What is the best topping for pizza? (nontestable) Which color of rose smells the best? (nontestable) Which color rose attracts the most bees? (testable) Do 5th grade girls or 5th grade boys have bigger hands? (nontestable) Which fine arts is the best? (nontestable) Which fine arts increases your heart rate the most? (testable) 

If it was testable, the students always knew it was, but when it came to identify the nontestable questions they got a little tricked up on some.  For example, the question: "Which fine arts is the best?" the students tried telling me they could take a survey to prove which one was the best.  I explained that a survey would give them data to support their reasoning but they aren't testing it.  I also asked them if the results may change the following year when new kids were at the school and they said yes.  I explained that anything relying on opinions is not testable.  The best fine arts is an opinion.  

When we reviewed this on the opening of the flap during the guided practice, students did much better and were able to tell me, anything relying on an opinion is not testable.  I included a section on the end of the unit choice board for creating a list of testable and nontestable questions so I can check for understanding of this concept.   

  Class discussion on understanding testable and nontestable questions
  Discourse and Questioning: Class discussion on understanding testable and nontestable questions
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What is the Scientific Method?

Unit 1: Scientists at Work
Lesson 5 of 16

Objective: SWBAT identify the steps of the scientific method and place them in the proper order.

Big Idea: Students race to put the steps of the scientific method in order first.

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Science, Scientific Method (Science Skills), Cooperative Groups, engineering
  60 minutes
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