Engaging Activities on the Scientific Method

Lab Safety and Equipment Use

Scientific Method Puzzle – a simple crossword puzzle to practice vocabulary of the scientific method

Lab Safety Contract – students sign this contract after learning about lab safety

Measure a Bean – basic lab on measurements and collecting data

Tools and Measurements – how to use various tools in the lab, such as a graduated cylinder, ruler, and beaker

Using a Micropipette – activity explores how to use a micropipette to measure small volumes

Lab Safety Cartoon – a fun activity showing a cartoon of unsafe activities in the lab

The Elephant Poem – a poem about how observations depend on the perspective of the observer

Equipment Station Lab – a station lab activity where students move through stations and perform tasks with scientific equipment

Significant Figures – practice with significant figures and calculations

Reinforcement: Scientific Processes – vocabulary practice, match words to their descriptions (Key, TpT)

Stories and Scenarios

Variables with Simpsons – read stories involving characters from the Simpsons and determine the independent and dependent variables

Independent Variables – read a short sentence of science experiment and determine the variables

Beriberi and Penicillin – a short story on the discovery of penicillin and that Beriberi was caused by a vitamin deficiency

Discoveries in Science – focus on Pasteur’s experiment and other discoveries in science

The Martian and the Car – activity on life characteristics where students examine the traits of a car and determine if it is alive

Language of Science – focus on root terms to understand difficult scientific vocabulary

Logical Fallacies – activity on how reasoning works by focusing on specific logical fallacies

Units of Measurement – units matter! How many hands are on a horse?

Scientific Method Scenarios – activity where students are given a question and must design an experiment and identify variables

Asking Causal Questions – explore cause and effect with this flow chart experiment on water evaporation

scientistHands-On Activities

Scientific Method Experiments – a collection of short inquiry labs the focus on consumer science.  Students design and test their hypotheses

Fortune Telling Fish – Use the scientific method to determine what causes the fish the change when placed in the palm of the hand

Investigation:  What Are the Processes of Science – students design an experiment about lung capacity; requires spirometers, AP Biology

Sponge Capsules – quick lab using capsules and water (toys) to collect data on how fast the “animals” grow

Investigation – Heat Storage and Loss – Use a jar and different types of insulation to explore how heat is lost and which materials are better insulators (Key, TpT)

Sponge Animals: Growing Insects – this lab grows sponge animals, graphs and calculates the growth rate (slope of line)

Plop Plop Fiz Fiz – measure the rate of dissolving in alka-seltzer tablets in both hot and cold water (a basic experiment for introducing the scientific method)

What Factors Affect How Quickly a Sweetart Dissolves – place candies in warm or cold water, add vinegar, etc.

Is Microwaved Water Harmful to Plants – use germinating seeds that have been soaked in distilled water and microwaved water

Water in Living Things – investigate how much water is stored in grass clippings

Gummi Bear Experiment – inquiry lab investigating the dissolving properties of gummi bears

Mystery Eggs – students use the scientific method to guess how many nails are hidden inside plastic eggs

Mystery Powder – containers with baking soda, corn starch, flour, sugar and salt. Students conduct tests to determine the contents.

Saving Sam – using paperclips rescue Sam, the gummy worm by putting a life preserver on him

Observation – opener lab, using the senses to investigate hardware items, then describe item

Pendulum Project – Inquiry based, experimental design and data analysis (physical science)

Penny Lab – conduct an experiment on surface tension,  water drops are added to a penny and compared with soapy water

Properties of Water – Investigation exploring cohesion, adhesion, heat capacity, presented as lab station activities

Carbon Dioxide Production – determine how activity changes the amount of CO2 expelled in breath

Making Slime – instructions for creating a polymer with glue and borax

Measuring Lung Capacity – graphing and data gathering using balloons to measure vital capacity

What is the Effect of Exercise on Heart Rate – aligned to NGSS, feedback mechanisms and homeostasis. Students design and conduct an experiment.

Investigation:  What Factors Effect the Heart Rate of Daphnia –  expose a tiny crustacean to ethanol and gather data on its heart rate

Investigation: What Factors Affect Seed Germination – simple experiment where students use beans and different variables (water, light, temperature)

Lab – Identify Controls and Variables – station lab where students perform tasks, like measuring the absorbency of paper towels.

Virtual Labs

Can Crickets Tell the Temperature? – change the temperature and count the number of chirps

Virtual Lab – Independent and Dependent Variables

Analyzing and Graphing Data

Analyzing Data – make and interpret graphs, summarize data trends

Graphing Data – Flow Rates – graph the flow rate of liquids in a pipe, simple plot and draw two lines

Graphing Practice – given data sets, such as video games scores and shirt colors, students create line and bar graphs, activity paired with growing sponge animals while students wait on results

Interpreting Graphs and English Usage – simple graph showing tadpoles, this is more of a vocabulary lesson on words used to interpret graphs, such as fluctuate, decline, stabilize…

Data Collection is Fun(gi) – use notes gathered in a field journal to create a data table to organize information about fungi and graph the relationship between fruiting body size and number.

Interpreting Graphs – shows a pie chart with grades, a scatter plot, and a few line graphs with questions to answer about each.

Microscope Use

How to Use a Microscope – basic guidelines, tips and troubleshooting for the classroom light microscope | Presentation

Label a Microscope – image of a basic classroom microscope for students to label parts
Microscope Coloring  – learn the parts of the microscope by coloring

Microscope “E” Lab – use a microscope to examine the letter “e” and learn how to focus

Virtual Microscope Lab – uses an online virtual microscope, students can actually focus and adjust light using the simulator

Microscope Lab (advanced)  – for AP Biology

Lab Reports

Lab Report Template & Rubric

Scientific Method Flowchart– this flow chart can be used for any experimental design.  Students organize their experiment, identify the controls and variables, collect data and draw conclusions.