Thinking Like A Scientist
Time 60 mins

Difficulty Beginner
Prerequisites None
Departments Science
Authors Flora Lai
Groupings Individual
Pairs
Threes
Minimum Year Group None

Blurb

Have you ever wondered what Scientists do on a daily basis? We are going to start this unit with some cool experiments and hopefully by the end of the unit, you will have an understanding of how Scientists work.

License

This work is shared under the following license: Creative Commons BY-SA-NC

Outline

Resources
What is needed to run this unit?
  • ...
Cross-Curricular Links
Do not try and force this. What areas of other subjects might this reflect and/discuss language. For IB, links with ToK.
  • ...
Teacher Reflection
What was successful? What needs changing? Alternative Assessments and Lesson Ideas? What other Differentiation Ideas/Plans could be used?
  • ...
Credits
Any CC attribution, thanks, credit, etc.

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The Magic Raisin Experiment
Experiment

This section of the unit must be done as a pair. So find a partner!

Task 1:

Have the following ready before you start this (you can go up to the 3rd floor of C block to ask the lab technician or any Science teachers if they have any of these) :

  • 5 or 6 raisins
  • A can of soda water or sprite or any clear soft drink
  • A breaker or transparent glass

If they are unavailable, try and complete as much of tasks 2 and 3 below as you can and ask for these materials to be ready for next lesson.

Task 2:

  1. Create a google doc named "Thinking like a Scientist Diary". Only one google doc is needed per pair of students. 
  2. Put the date of today at the top of your google doc and give today's work a title at the top as well.
  3. Now put a raisin into a beaker/glass full of soda water and observe what happens...
  4. Write your observations into the google doc.
  5. Put 2 or 3 more raisins in and observe what happens.
  6. Write your new observations into the google doc.

Task 3:

Write 2 (1 if you can only think of 1) questions down into your google doc that you may want answers for after seeing what you saw from the experiment.

Finding some answers
Webquest

Individually, try and find some answers to those questions you proposed for the Magic Raisin Experiment. This video may help:

With your partner, try and come to an agreement and enter your answers onto the google doc under the questions you wrote.

For the next activity block , you will need a range (4 or 5 ) of different household liquids like a soft drink, vinegar, milk, soy sauce, and soap water. So you may want to arrange to bring these in with your partner. Only a very small amount of each is needed. You will also need a phone or a camera. 

60 mins
Another experiment - Whoop whoop! The pH Experiment
Experiment

Task 1:

On the same google doc you created (Thinking like a Scientist Diary), start on a fresh page and put the date again at the top of the page and title it "The pH Experiment".

Task 2:

  • Have your household liquids ready on a desk. You will also need a phone or a camera.
  • Go and ask one of the Science teachers or the lab technician for some pH papers (also called universal indicator papers) and a pH colour scale.
  • Test each of your liquids by dipping a small end of one pH paper in the liquid.
  • Observe what happens and take a photograph of the pH papers.
  • Write down your observations in your google doc under The pH Experiment. You may want to construct a table for this.
  • Put the photo you took into the google doc as well and you may want to annotate the picture.

Task 3:

Again, think of 1 or 2 questions which may pop up in your head because of these observations and write them down in your google doc. 

Finding more answers
Webquest

Individually, try and find some answers to those questions you proposed for Experiment 2.

These websites may help:

Again, try and now agree on some answers and put them under your questions on the google doc.

The next step
Discussion and planning
  • Talk to your partner about what further experiments you could do for both the Magic Raisin Experiment and the pH Experiment.
  • On the same google doc again, start a fresh page and tile it Further experiments.
  • Under the subtitles of "Further experiment for Magic Raisin" and "Further experiment for pH experiment", plan those further experiments.
  • In your plans, you must include the following:
    • Research Question - A question you want to find an answer for through your experiment
    • The variables - you can find out what these are here.
    • Prediction/Hypothesis - try and make a guess as to what you think will happen, with reasons.
    • Materials list - a list of materials that you need for the experiment.
    • Method - a step-by-step guide to how the experiment will be done.
  • When you are ready, email these plans to Ms Lai at flai@ichk.edu.hk and ask if they are feasible and if we have the materials you need at school.
  • You must also ask for permission to do these either under the supervision of a Science teacher or by yourselves (Ms Lai will decide on this in the email reply).
  • The next step is to pick ONE of the two experiments and do it!
Doing one of your designed experiments!
Experiment
  • Have the materials you need for your experiments ready.
  • Perform your experiments and write down your observations and results in the same google doc you created at the start of this unit.
  • Give this section a subtitle of "Observations and Results".
Presenting your results, drawing conclusions
Graphing, Drawing conclusions

Task 1:

  • Do you think your results can be presented in a more meaningful way? Such as by drawing a graph? Here is a link to the different types of graphs you may want to draw. You can also speak to your Science teacher about this.
  • If you think you can draw a graph, decide on a graph type with your partner and draw it by hand.
  • Take a picture of it and put it into your google doc, after your "Observations and Results" section.
  • Give this section a subtitle of "Graphs".

Task 2:

Under another subtitle of Analysis and Conclusions, write a paragraph or 2 on the following:

  • Can you see any trends or patterns on your graph?
  • Why do you think there is or isn't a trend or pattern. Try and think of some Scientific reasoning for these.
  • Do these match with your prediction?
  • Can you write a one-sentence conclusion at the end of this seciton? E.g. "In conclusion, putting a tomato into soda water does not have the same effect as putting a raisin in..."

Evaluation - the goods and bads
Evaluating
  • Under a final sub-heading of Evaluation, write a paragraph on the following:
    • What went well in your experiment?
    • What improvements could you have if you were to do it again? Why?
    • How do you think the results from your experiments could be useful in our daily lives?
    • Can you think of another further experiment you could do?
Final Task!
Outcome

Now that you have become a Scientist yourself, your final task for the unit is to, with your partner, come up with 8 steps that you think a Scientist has to go through when he/she wants to perform an experiment to answer a question that they may have in mind. So the first step would be:

  1. Asking a question (the Research question)
  2. .....
  3. .....
  4. .....
  5. .....
  6. .....
  7. .....
  8. .....

You are to come up with the rest...Put these onto the final page of your google doc and title it "The Scientific Method".

Now download your google doc as a PDF and submit it to this unit.

Congratulations you have completed this free learning unit!

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