Reflection: All New-Tons Of Fun Lab Stations: Day 3 - Section 6: Generating Questions and Identifying Constraints: Matchbook Rockets


In designing experiments that can produce reliable data, I find the critical skill that students need to have is how to isolate variables. Thus, students need to be able to identify factors that need to be kept constant when designing an investigation.

Asking students to generate their own questions and identify how to isolate their independent variable is a great way to get students thinking about how to design effective investigations. So often, I feel like I want to have students develop their own experiments, but there is not always time to have them carry out all of their generated questions. Especially in labs that are able to be recreated from home, I find that this protocol can really foster inquiry and give them practice in considering the most important factors in developing an investigation that will provide reliable data. With this specific lab, "Matchbook Rockets", students will actually go home and test their questions even if we do not test them in class!  

Don't get me wrong, this is not to say that actually having students design and carry out their own investigations isn't important. On the other hand, it is critical! What I am saying, is that this skill takes practice and when considering the time it would take for students to carry out investigations based on their own questions, it is not practical to expect to design and carry out full investigations into every lesson. This process of generating a testable question and identifying constants is something you can incorporate at anytime in any lesson that can help them develop their skills in experimental design!

  Designing Experiments: Isolating Variables
  Designing Experiments: Isolating Variables
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All New-Tons Of Fun Lab Stations: Day 3

Unit 8: Forces and Motion: All New-Tons of Fun!
Lesson 3 of 6

Objective: Students will be able to gather observations and data about Newton's Laws to apply when building rockets.

Big Idea: Want to get your students excited about literacy? This lesson provides an exciting context to work on scientific reading, writing, speaking, and designing. Students complete fun labs as they perform an "egg drop" and create Matchbook Rockets!

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