Developing Questions to Drive Investigations

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Students will be able to construct questions about crayfish behavior in order to guide their investigations.

Big Idea

Students naturally want to observe and investigate the crayfish. However, organizing this excitement will help promote scientific thinking and communicating.


5 minutes

In order to guide our lesson today, I will place the question "How do scientists decide what to investigate?"

Mini Lesson

15 minutes

After the students gather at the community area, I will ask them to share some of the things they are wondering about the crayfish.  As they speak, I will jot their responses in question form on the board. 

After we have 4-5 questions on the board, I will explain to them that what they just did is what all scientists do before they investigate or experiment…they wonder and write those wonderings into testable questions (SP1). 

Next, I will display a graphic organizer and explain that this document will help us prepare for our investigations. 

In order to engage the students in this activity I will say, "I have noticed that every time we observe our crayfish, everyone gets really excited about what the crayfish are doing, or how they behave. Even your wonderings on the board are about how crayfish behave."

Today, we will develop our questions so we can investigate what makes crayfish behave in certain ways. 

Finally, I will model writing their questions from the board on the graphic organizer. However, I will tell the students we will NOT fill in all of the question forms and ask them why they think we will leave some open.

If they don't come up with it, I will explain that sometimes when we collect data during an investigations, it causes us to question more and we will leave space for that on our forms. 

Active Engagement

20 minutes

As students work, I will circulate and insert helpful phrasing, question their next steps, and help them to organize their thoughts. 

In this clip, you will hear my student grapple with how to investigate his well phrased question. 

Closing and Sharing

5 minutes

In order to help the students develop as communicators and questioners, I will have them trade their papers with each other in order to review and edit.  In doing this, students may be made aware of investigations they are interested in, as well as having the opportunity to compose well structured questions.