Testable Questions and Investigations

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Students will be able to ask testable questions and investigate possible answers regarding what happens to objects or materials when various processes are applied.

Big Idea

Students will be able to create testable questions and investigate to seek answers when various processes are applied. This particular lesson, involves making changes to chalk to observe the changes in properties.


1 minutes

Warm Up

10 minutes

I will begin the lesson with a review of testable questions. I will remind the students that testable questions are scientific questions that can be investigated to determine answers. I will share examples of testable and non-testable questions and ask the students to identify if the questions are testable. Some examples of questions that I will ask the students are:

  • Why is the sky blue?
  • Does the type of liquid that you put an ice cube in, affect how fast it melts?
  • Is Jesse the best show on tv?
  • If I add more vinegar to baking soda, will the explosion be bigger?
  • What flavor is the best fruit juice?
  • Does adding food coloring affect the speed that water boils?
  • How does grass grow?

As I ask each question, I will have the students think, pair, share with an elbow partner to determine whether they believe that the question is testable or not.

Once I have asked all questions to students, I will introduce the lesson today. I will inform them that today, they will create a testable question and investigate to find the answer.


25 minutes

I will show the students a piece of chalk. I will ask the students to identify the observable properties of the chalk. Next, I will ask the students to brainstorm ways that I can physically change the chalk (break it, crush it, write with it). I will provide time for students to share their ideas with an elbow partner. Students will share their ideas. As students share ideas, I will ask the students how that particular process would change the chalk and how they will know that the chalk has changed (students will explain what they think the chalk will look like after the process is applied). 

Next, I will instruct the students to write the observable properties of the whole piece of chalk. I will allow students to touch the chalk and view the chalk closely so they can identify specific properties like the color, the texture, the length, weight, shape, etc. I will ask students to formulate and record a testable question regarding what they think will happen if a process is applied. As an example, I may ask the students, "how does dropping the chalk onto the floor effect it's properties?" I will provide time for students to test their question and record their results in their science journal. As the students investigate, I will walk around and observe their investigations. Walking around gives me the opportunity to ask students probing questions to promote critical thinking. As the students work, I will ask questions similar to, "what evidence do you have that the chalk has changed? If the pieces got smaller, where did the rest of the chalk go?" These questions will allow the students to think beyond what is evident on the surface. I will prompt the students to continue to record the descriptions of the properties of the chalk and the changes that are occurring. 

After students have shared their descriptions with their peers, I will allow the class to come back together in a whole group setting. I will inform the students, "now that we have done some investigating with our chalk and changing some of it's properties, let's think about what may happen if a different process was applied to the chalk; for example placing it in a cup of water for twenty four hours." I will ask the students to predict how they think the chalk will change physically. I will ask the students to find a partner so they can work in pairs for the next half of the exploration. Once students have found a partner, I will instruct them to create a testable question based on the chalk and water.


Wrap Up

10 minutes

The lesson will conclude with the students returning to the carpet. I will inform the students that the following day, we will observe the changes that may have occurred in the water. We will talk about what happened to the chalk and how it changed. We will also discuss how we can recover the lost chalk by filtering the water and evaporating the water, just as we did in a previous lesson with sand and salt. Lastly, we will review other testable questions that we could have come up with in regards to the chalk in water.