Scientific Method Intro - Inquiry Lab

By Laura Hospitál on Feb 07, 2016

In this inquiry-based learning activity, students who are blind or visually impaired work in groups to put the steps of the scientific method in order. This activity precedes formal instruction on the scientific method. 

 

Preparation:

1. Prepare cards with the steps of the scientific method in braille and/or large print depending on the students with the following steps, one on each card.  Do NOT number them.

  • Describe the Problem
  • Gather information - Research 
  • Suggest an answer - hypothesis
  • Perform Experments
  • Draw conclusions and report results

2. For the game procedure - place double-sided tape on the back of each card. 

Materials

  • braillewriter
  • braille paper
  • printer paper
  • computer
  • double-sided tape

 

 

Procedure

This activity can be completed in 2 ways, one as a game and one individually.

Game Variation

  1. Explain to students that we will be thinking like scientists today doing experiments.  Discuss briefly.  Ask if any of them know a scientist.  Discuss.  
  2. Tell students that before we talk further about what scientists do, they will have the chance to play a game.  Each of them will represent one step of the scientific method (or simplify language about science process) 
  3. Explain to the students that each of them will represent one step in the scientic method.  If there are too many students, either break into 2 groups or have the students work with a partner.  Say, "Each of you will have a card on your back in braille and large print.  The other students in the class will read your card and you will read their cards.  Your task is to put yourselves in order."    If appropriate and motivating for your class, give them a challenge time (maybe 5 min).  Some classes might find this stressful, though.  
  4. Have students stand in as open of an area of the room as possible.
  5. Place a card on each student's back. 
  6. Tell students they may begin.
  7. Students will read each others' backs and place themselves in order. (See picture). 
  8. If the order is not correct, ask appropriate probing questions, like "Can we do research if we haven't yet asked a question?"
  9. After guiding students to the correct order, discuss each step in detail while they are still standing.

Individual Variation 

  1. Give each student a set of all five cards NOT in order.  
  2. Students will place the cards in order individually.  (If there are only two students sitting next to each other, you may want to have them work together - However, I found that one student in each class seemed to be have more prior knowledge and took over the activity)
  3. Ask probing questions to guide students only if they are struggling after giving sufficient time to think about the acitivty. 

Closure:  Review the steps of the scientific method and discuss. 

 

Variations

Simplify language if necessary, for example: "science process" instead of "scientific method"

 

NGSS Standards:

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

  • Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses tointroducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data.
  • Apply concepts of statistics and probability (including determining function fits to data, slope, intercept, and correlation coefficient for linear fits) to scientific and engineering questions and problems, using digital tools when feasible. (HS-LS4-3)

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions                                                                                                               

  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to explanations and designs that are supported by multiple and independent student-generated sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.
  • Construct an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future. (HS-LS4-2),(HS-LS4-4)

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

  • Engaging in argument from evidence in 9-12 builds on K-8 experiences and progresses to using appropriate and sufficient evidence and scientific reasoning to defend and critique claims and explanations about the natural and designed world(s). Arguments may also come from current or historical episodes in science.
  • Evaluate the evidence behind currently accepted explanations or solutions to determine the merits of arguments. (HS-LS4-5)

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to evaluating the validity and reliability of the claims, methods, and designs. Communicate scientific information (e.g., about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (including orally, graphically, textually, and mathematically). (HS-LS4-1)

 

Scientific Method collage

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