Lesson: Observing the Natural World

David Kujawski Bird Middle East Walpole, MA
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Lesson Objective

YWBAT: 1.) State the characteristics of a scientific observation. 2.) Make observations of the natural world

Lesson Plan

Do Now: From your seat, look at a non-living object in the classroom and write down everything that you notice about it (3 minutes). Field answers and write them down on the board… (2 minutes)


Define observation (on board)—is using one or more senses—sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch—to gather information about the natural world.

Say: “Information gathered from observation is called evidence, or data.” (5 minutes)


“Making and recording observations is the most basic skill in science…we will be making many more observations in this class”


Next: Discuss accurate and objective and define on board.  Give (Observation worksheet 1) out; have partners analyze and write down the differences between each observation.  Have them determine which example is accurate and objective.  Review. (15 minutes; 25 total)

Accurate: is an exact report of what your senses tell you.

Objective: an observation that avoids opinions, or bias, based on specific points of view.


Next: Discuss qualitative and quantitative.  Define the difference between quantitative and qualitative. Have students complete (Observation worksheet 2) and then review (15 minutes; 40 minutes)

Qualitative: descriptions that discuss the qualities of an object (i.e. color, texture, smell, etc.)

Quantitative: descriptions that include an amount; “quantity.”


Next: Have students complete (Observation worksheet 3) with a partner or on their own.  Review.


Checking for individual understanding: Have students take out a piece of paper and then have them write down a quanitative observation and a qualitative observation.  Collect and see how the class did.  Focus your attention at the next class or at tutoring on students who still do not know the difference between quantitaive and qualitaitve observations. 


Homework: Make 5 quanitative observations and 5 qualitative observations about things in your house.


Reflection: This is a basic lesson that gets students comfortable with making observations and distinguishing between the different types.  When checking HW make sure that students can tell the difference between the two types.  Some students will still struggle with this and will need more time to practice the following class.  Allow time for this.

Lesson Resources

Observation Worksheet 1.doc  
Observation Worksheet 2   Activity
Observation worksheet 3  


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