2 Let’s Do A Science Project! If we just read about Science and DON’T DO Science, we will NOT have the learning experiences necessary to be successful in Science.Ask participants to answer the following question:Why do we do these investigations? What is the true benefit to children?Allow them time to discuss as groups and share the answers.
3 Why are we doing this???? Twenty-five percent (25%) of the FCAT Science test requires understanding of “the nature of science.”2.Through completing a science researchproject, is a powerful and authentic wayfor students to internalize thisknowledge and to practice the processskills of science.
4 Effective Student Investigations ObservingHypothesizingMeasuringClassifyingCollecting and Interpreting DataPredictingExperimentingInferringCommunicatingActivities that activelyinvolve students in theprocess skills…The scientific process includes all of the process skills!
5 Nature of Science Standards Met When Working on a Science Project! Define a problem, use appropriate reference materials to support scientific understanding, plan and carry out scientific investigations of various types such as: systematic observations, experiments requiring the identification of variables, collecting and organizing data, interpreting data in charts, tables, and graphics, analyze information, make predictions, and defend conclusions.Explain the difference between an experiment and other types of scientific investigation.Recognize and explain the need for repeated experimental trials.Identify a control group and explain its importance in an experiment.Recognize and explain the difference between personal opinion/interpretation and verified observation.Recognize and explain that science is grounded in empirical observations that are testable; explanation must always be linked with evidence.Recognize and explain that when scientific investigations are carried out, the evidence produced by those investigations should be replicable by others.Briefly review the standards that are covered when doing a science project. Remind participants that these standards require consistent review and practice. By repeatedly completing science investigations in different topics, students will cement their understanding and acquire mastery of these standards. The Nature of Science strand of standards is woven into all topics in science.
6 Ways to Support Your Child…A Guide for Parents: Begin your science project experience with a planning meeting. You and your child will want to review the Science Research Project Inquiry Guide and the Pinellas County Science Fair and Showcase Guide. Both are on the Bauder web site.
7 Some ideas to keep in mind are: This entire process should be fun. It is a great opportunity to spend time together doing something of educational value.Budget more time for the project than you think you will need...then double it.Topic selection should be at the child’s level. Please keep in mind that the ultimate project choice should remain with the child. The science book is a good source of science project ideas.
8 Start With A Diary! Remember that a science project is the diary! The board is simply the display.Record all information in the diary.Later, if you decide to display it for others, share it by creating a board!Hand out the project diaries to the participants. Remind them that these diaries are the real project. Suggest that students can use many resources as their diaries. A science notebook, a journal, a bare book, paper stapled together into a booklet, a flip book etc., can all be used as diaries. For our purposes, the pre-printed diaries will be used. Remind participants that they are available through the science department.***Important!! Although there is no place in the pre-printed diaries for students to record problems or a-has, they should still record these somewhere. This can be anything they encounter that they didn’t expect, problems they had with trials, or any other information they want to remember later. They should be encouraged to write this down on a piece of paper to attach to their journals later.
9 When I change ______, what happens to ______? Research Question A research question should be phrased properly. It should reflect student understanding of what they are testing.When I change ______, what happens to ______?Does ________ affect _________?When I change the height of the ramp, what happens to the distance the marble will roll in centimeters?Does the height of a ramp affect the distance a marble will roll in centimeters?As long as the question contains both variables, it is considered to be a good question. Teachers may ask about including details about the variables in the question such as “the height of the ramp, 2 cm., 4 cm., or 6 cm.,” or “the distance a marble will roll in centimeters.” Tell them that although details are useful, making sure the variables are in the question is most important. When including details, it is important not to weigh down the focus of the question. If the question becomes too wordy, it may take away from the understanding of the question.
10 Research Question Let’s write our research question. Allow the participants the opportunity to record topics in science they would like to study or question for a project.Then explain that for the purposes of this institute, we will be using marbles. (Again, they are easy to use, have few materials to gather, and require little set-up. Suggest that marble investigations are easy for teachers to use for learning about how to do the scientific process and science projects.Have the participants work in small groups or partners to generate ideas for manipulated variables. Some ideas could be: ramp height, size of marble (when marble mass is constant), different floor surfaces, different kinds of ramps, different ramp materials, length of the ramp, or different marble mass (when marble size is constant). Once participants generate the lists, share out and record on the board or chart paper. Discuss what materials are available and allow participants to form small groups and select a manipulated variable they will test in their investigation. Allow groups to select different manipulated variables based on the materials available. (Encourage them to do the same with their students!)Participants should then write a research question for their groups to investigate. Record this in project diaries.Ask for volunteers to share their research questions.
11 Independent Variable (Manipulated Variable) The one thing (or object) you will change in the experimentMake sure that participants understand that there must be only one manipulated variable.An example to use in order to make this point is:If you were doing an investigation rolling marbles down a ramp with the question, “What is the effect of different size marbles, small or large, on the distance a marble will roll in centimeters?” and you used two different marbles which were different sizes AND different masses, then how would you know if it was the size or the mass that had the effect on the distance rolled? Therefore, if you were truly trying to test the different sizes of the marbles, you would need two different size marbles, made of the same material, but of equal mass as well. Then you would know that any effect was due totally to the size of the marble, its surface area, etc., and not a difference in mass!
12 Independent VariableWhat is the independent variable in your investigation?The independent variable is ________.
13 The dependent variable is ________. (Responding Variable)What will you measure in this investigation?The dependent variable is ________.Ask the participants to think about what is being measured in the investigation. Remind them that metric measurement is ALWAYS used in science projects. This is very important. Also tell them that when recording this variable, they should always add the detail which explains what measurement, centimeters, grams, liters, etc., will be used.For our purposes today, we will be measuring the distance the marbles roll in centimeters.
14 Materials This is the list of items that will be used in the investigation. Itshould be veryspecific and include thesize, quantity, anddescriptions of eachmaterial needed so thatsomeone else couldduplicate your project.Explain to participants that this is EXTREMELY important. If the specifics for each material needed is not supplied, then another person trying to do this investigation would not be able to set up the same exact investigation.
15 Materials ListNow, write a detailed materials list for your investigation!Tell participants that this list can be bulleted. They need to think about the design of their investigation before completing this investigation. Help the participants by making sure they are recording materials that you can get for them. After they finish this step, allow them to gather their materials and bring them back to their tables.Allow them to share how they had to think about their investigation design in order to determine what materials they would need.Also explain that the first step of their directions will be “Gather all materials.” Therefore, they should be ready to start the investigation when they have their materials.
16 Set-Up ConditionsAlso known as the “Constants” these are the things (materials & procedures) that will remain constant to ensure that the independent variable is the only thing being tested .This list should be extensive and participants need to know that this is something that they should lead students in completing. Discussion is also encouraged here. Students need to picture the investigation and may need to go back to this later as they begin to set up the investigation. They should consider all things that need to remain the same as they conduct all of the trials so that the only thing they change is their manipulated variable.For example, when rolling marbles down the ramp, if they are changing the mass of the marble, then the things they would have to keep constant would be:same length and height of the ramp (how long and high)same material the ramp is made of (specify the material the ramp was made of)same surface the car rolls on at the bottom of the ramp (specify what that material is)same marble each time (ten trials for the 5 gram marble and ten trials for the 10 gram marble)same way the marble is released each time (explain how)same start point on the ramp (explain where).Again, this is a location where the details are very important. Remind participants that students should add as much detail to this section as possible.
17 Set-Up Conditions Now, lets write our set-up conditions. Remember to add details!Tell participants that the details are very important because they help someone who is trying to replicate this investigation what to do.Remind them that they can come back and add more if they think of them during the actual investigation.Encourage them to discuss this with their group before starting.Have volunteers share their set-up conditions with the whole group.
18 Experiment Directions This is astep-by-step list of how you set up the investigation and what you did (or how each item in your material list will be used) and the exact order it was done.This list needs to be very clear and specific. Have the participants share any ideas or activities they have used in their classes to help students write directions. A popular lesson is the one where students write directions for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. After they write the directions, the teacher attempts to follow the directions. However, students quickly see that if their directions are followed exactly, the result will not be a sandwich!This part of the investigation should be carefully completed and written as specifically as possible. It can correspond with the actual DOING of the investigation. The group can write the directions as they do the investigation.
19 Now, write the directions for your experiment! 1. Gather all materials.The first step should always be “Gather all materials,” since that is what needs to be done first.Then the participants can start their investigation and write the directions at the same time. They should be advised that as teachers, they will need to do one or more “class” investigations to help students see how to design the investigation and decide what the directions should be. They can also provide materials lists and directions for students in the beginning until students begin to see how to do this on their own.You may wish to discuss that in later steps, they may wish to show students how to write shorter directions by saying “repeat steps __ through __” for nine more trials, etc., in order to shorten the number of steps.
20 PredictionsThere are three ways an independent variable can affect the dependent variable.The dependent variable can increase.The dependent variable can decrease.There may be no effect on the dependent variable.Generally speaking, there are generally three ways an experiment can turn out: there can be an increase, decrease or no change in the responding variable (what you are measuring). Therefore, to make sure that students understand these possible outcomes, they should record all three of them.Using the example of the changing mass of the marble, we can predict that: (the predictions are in bold print)Increasing the mass of the marble will increase the distance it will roll.Increasing the mass of the marble will decrease the distance it will roll.Increasing the mass of the marble will have no effect on the distance it will roll.Some rewording of the manipulated variable may be needed when writing the predictions. Depending on the manipulated variable, the predictions may be easy to write, or more challenging.
21 PredictionsNow, write your three prediction statements.Add your independent variable to the blanks below._________________ will increase the distance the marble rolls.________________ willdecrease the distance the marble rolls.Direct groups to write their own predictions in their diaries. Have volunteers share with the whole group.3. _______________ willhave no effect on the distance themarble rolls.
22 Real World UsesThis is a description of the ways, places, or situations where the information from your experiment might be useful.Explain to participants that at times, this may be a stretch. However, the connections that students make between science and their everyday world, no matter how much of a stretch, are still very important. Students recognize science in the real world more than any other subject area. Therefore, this step encourages them to look around and apply what they are learning to what they see around them outside of school.
23 Data CollectionThis is an organized and complete account of everything that was measured and observed in the experiment (using metric units). There should at least 10 trials.Explain that a data table should be used whenever possible to help students see the organizational aspect of this step.
24 Trials 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Avg Independent Variable Students can draw their own data table or use the printed table provided (such as in the pre-printed diaries).The participants should begin their investigations at this point. You will facilitate this and when most participants have completed all trials, you should go onto the next slides.
25 GraphThis is a mathematical picture of the data, using (mean) averages to plot the data in the experiment.Make sure that participants understand that bar graphs are the most often used form of graph. Primary students may wish to use a pictograph. Sometimes a line graph is needed if you are measuring change or growth over time (such as the average height of plants over a month or the change in temperature over a 24 hour period).
26 Distance Marble Rolls Centimeters 140130120110100Dependent Variable ( Y )9080Distance Marble RollsCentimeters70605040Review the labels of a graph:Title (at the top to describe the overall data presented).The manipulated variable (x) goes along the bottom or horizontal axis and should be labeled.The responding variable (y) goes along the left side or vertical axis and should be labeled.Label each axis and include the unit of measure being used (example of responding variable: Distance marble rolled in centimeters.) (example of manipulated variable : Different mass marbles: 5 grams, 10 grams, 15 grams.)The interval of the scale should be appropriate for showing the data averages.Have participants create their graphs.302010Independent Variable ( X ) Graph the average of the trials.
27 Experiment ResultsUse the data and graphs (from the experiment) to explain what happened in the experiment.Have participants look back at their data tables and graphs.Remind them that these statements should describe what happened in the experiment. They should try to explain as much as possible about what happened. Answer these questions: What does your graph show? Did the manipulated variable affect your responding variable? If so, describe that effect. Try to use mathematical terms such as “twice as much, one third as much, or no significant difference.” Remember that there should be a SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE in the numbers in order for there to have been an effect. Averages that are too close do not demonstrate a real effect. Students should be guided to see that.Avoid words that cannot be measured such as “healthier, better and greener.”Avoid using the words, “I proved” since one investigation is not enough proof to be conclusive.
28 ExplanationThis statement explains whether your data supports your identified prediction. Did what you change (independent variable) affect what you measured (dependent variable)? Describe the affect. It is acceptable if your data does not support your prediction.
29 Presentation Board Organization IndependentVariableDependentSet UpConditionsReal WorldUsesResearch QuestionPredictionDataCollectionGraphsResultsExplanationDirections MaterialsThis slide can be used later as teachers put their projects together on their big boards.Remind them that the diary can be placed on the table in front of the board and the prediction and hypothesis can be put side-by-side, above the directions and materials.Diary