A Model Investigation

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SWBAT identify and describe the steps in a scientific investigation.

Big Idea

The teacher uses a student-created question to demonstrate the steps of a scientific investigation.

Warm Up

5 minutes

I begin this lesson by having students review the Poppers Graphic Organizer that they completed in the previous lesson (Testable Questions). I ask students to define testable questions and to determine which testable question they would like to investigate in the coming lessons.

This review activates the shared prior knowledge built in the previous lesson and prepares students to engage in today's work.

Class Discussion

45 minutes

The bulk of this lesson is designed to walk students through the process of creating a scientific investigation using a testable question. In the next lesson, students will complete this process independently. In order to enable students to be successful with this task, modeling the process of creating an investigation is key. This model lesson will provide students with knowledge about each step of the scientific process and on how to share data and results with other student scientists. 

For the model lesson, display the Lab Write-Up Outline on the document camera. This lab form has detailed directions for each section of the investigation. To begin, I choose a testable question from the previous lesson. More information on selecting a strong testable question for can be found in the model lesson video

After the question is chosen, I guide students to the process of filling out each section of the outline (title, purpose, hypothesis, materials, procedures, data). During this process, I use the strategy of think aloud to share with my students how I approach each section and to model the type of language and level of complexity I require in the final product.

If time allows, I demonstrate how I would conduct the investigation so that I can model the final sections of the outline (data, conclusions, and next steps).

See the Model Outline for a sample of a teacher-modeled lab.

Closing / Exit Ticket

10 minutes

At the end of the model lesson, I provide students will some time to reflect on how what they have just seen will relate to their own learning. To do so, I use the Model Lesson Exit Ticket. I ask students to select a testable question for their own investigation and to identify the manipulated and responding variables. 

This exit ticket serves two purposes. First, students are able to generalize what they have learned from the model lesson into the new context of their own scientific investigation. Second, this exit ticket serves as a formative assessment for me. After instruction, I carefully review each exit ticket to ensure that each student was able to identify a testable question and appropriate variables. If a student could not successfully choose a question and identify variables, then they are not ready to move on to designing their own lesson without reteaching. Identifying struggling students before they begin planning their own investigation saves considerable time and student effort. After reteaching is complete, all students are ready to design their own investigation.