Scientific Method

Most science classes, including biology, start with an introductory lesson on the nature of science.  The scientific method is an integral part of all science classes.  Students should be encouraged to problem-solve and not just perform step by step experiments.

Stories and Scenarios

Lab Safety – illustration, identify good and bad procedures
Lab Safety Guidelines – contract for students to sign that lists basic rules for the lab

Controls and Variables – read experiment scenarios, identify controls
Scientific Method in Action – reading passage shows how the scientific method was used to solve real world problems (beriberi and penicillin discovery)
Scientific MethodManipulated and Responding Variables – science fair project stories, identify key parts of the experiment

The Elephant Poem – contemplate the nature of observations

The Martian and the Car – identify what makes something “alive”
The Language of Science – prefixes and suffixes

Debunking the Paranormal – investigate a “claim” from a scientific standpoint, critical thinking skills

How Many Hands on a Horse  – article with questions about measuring horses and the importance of standard units

Scientific Method Scenarios – take a question and design an experiment to test the question, each group receives a different question and shares their design with the class

Scientific Method and Causal Questions – examine a flow chart on variables that affect water evaporation

Significant Figures – An activity that looks at uncertainty in measurements, comparing rulers with different values.

Hands-On Activities

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

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
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)

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
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 items
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
Carbon Dioxide Production – determine how activity changes the amount of CO2 expelled
Making Slime – instructions for creating a polymer
Measuring Lung Capacity – graphing and data gathering

Measure a Bean
– basic lab where students work with volume and mass, as well as common lab equipment
Scientific Processes  – Tools and Measurements  – work with graduated cylinders and other tools to practice measuring (metric system)

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

Virtual Labs

Using the Scientific Method – Plant Experiment – change variable such as soil type and addition of soap

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

Virtual Lab – Independent and Dependent Variables

List of Virtual Labs by Glencoe –  some of these are inquiry labs where you can manipulate 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…
Interpreting Graphs – shows a pie chart with grades, a scatter plot, and a few line graphs with questions to answer about each.

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.

Microscope Use

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

Microscope Labeling – image, no labels
Microscope Coloring  – learn the parts of the microscope by coloring

Microscope “E” Lab – use a microscope to examine the letter “e”
Microscope “E” Lab – online version, for students who miss the lab in class

Microscope Virtual 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.

Guides, Notes, and Information

Notes on the Scientific Method – a guide for understanding the processes of science
Lecture Powerpoints (you do not need to download to view)