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Scientific Processes and Inquiry

Scientific Processes and Inquiry

Students explore the scientific method, control testing, and evaluation of information sources. Students design and conduct scientific experiments using the scientific method. Students conduct controlled tests in physical and life science. Students write lab reports on their experiments and tests. Students explore, gather, and critique information on current scientific issues. Students write and present reports related to the scientific issues they research. Equipment includes scales, graduated cylinders and beakers, timers, and report folders.

Lesson 1: Scientific Method

Students learn the different steps of the Scientific Method. Students conduct experiments following the Scientific Method.

Lesson 2: Control testing

Students learn what a control is in a scientific experiment and the importance of it in the accuracy of the experiment. Students then design and perform experiments using a control.

Lesson 3: Scientific error

Students learn about the sources of error in scientific studies, including errors in measurement, sampling, initial assumptions, and lack of a control. Students then learn ways to identify, compensate for, minimize, and explain error. They then examine the experiments in Lessons 1 and 2 and write a brief paper explaining possible sources of error in those experiments.

Lesson 4: Causes vs. correlations

Students learn the difference between a causal relationship and a correlation, including examples of both. They will design and perform experiments to determine a causal relationship.

Lesson 5: Lab reports

Students learn how to write a proper lab report. They then write lab reports on the experiments performed in this unit.

Lesson 6: Evaluating scientific studies

Students use what they have learned to evaluate studies on current scientific issues. They will write and present a report that evaluates studies for correlation vs. causality, possible error, the proper use of a control, etc. The studies they choose from will come in pairs that contain opposing conclusions. Students will then write and present a report on which study, if either, has more believable conclusions based upon the study’s adherence to scientific principles.

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