Falling Post It

Level of Inquiry: Guided

Goals:

1.    Students will improve their ability to design and conduct science experiments. (INQ3)

2.    Students will be able to identify and use the concepts of dependent variables, independent variables, and controlled variables. (INQ4) (“Fair Test”)

Materials: Post its, stopwatch?, meter stick, rulers? and masking tape.

Give pairs of students a few minutes to drop post-its.  Ask them to:

1.    Observe carefully

2.    Think of things related to falling that they already know

3.     Begin thinking of questions they might have

Teacher leads a discussion of the following (one at a time) and records on chart paper or on the board:

1.    What did you observe?

3.    What questions do you have?

Teacher asks pairs of students to take a minute or two to discuss and identify a question that they would like to attempt to answer.

-----------------------------

-Give students sets of two different color small post its.

-In groups (or as a class) discuss properties that could change about falling post its:

Color, mass/weight, shape, size, height dropped, orientation, etc.. Write each property on a light colored post it and place on top of paper:

-Then properties to observe/measure, place these dark colored post its on the bottom:

Time, “drift” (distance from center), how many times flip over, sound, etc…

-The good experiment uses one post it from the top (cause, independent variable), and one post it from the bottom (effect, dependent variable).

Students can pick their own, or as a group, or as a class.

The rest of the experiment uses the transfer of the post its from page to page to help students organize their procedure, collect data, make a graph, find trends, and organize and write conclusions.

This model can be used throughout the year to help structure experiments.

Pages can be omitted (such as writing out a full procedure, conclusion, or drawing a graph) as needed or appropriate

Our Scientific Investigation of

___________________________________________________

Names:       ___________________________                Date: _______________

___________________________

What is a question that you would like to answer?

Things we can change (or vary) on purpose  (Independent Variable) List

Write descriptions of things you can change (or vary) on

purpose.  Write one thing in each box.

Other things we can measure or observe (Dependent Variable) List

Write descriptions of other things you can measure or observe.

Write one thing per box.

What is the question you and your partner would like to answer?  (You may have changed your mind about the question since the last time you wrote it)

Choosing Variables

We will intentionally change

(Choose one variable from the Independent Variable list)

We will measure as the result

(Choose one variable from the Dependent Variable list)

We will NOT change any these factors so that we can conduct a fair test (controlled variables)

#### Asking a Question and Making a Prediction

When I change:       (INDEPENDENT VARIABLE)

what will happen to:       (DEPENDENT VARIABLE) ?

Write out the question you will investigate:

We think that as we change the _______________________________________

Independent variable

the ________________________________________________________________

dependent variable

will change.

We think this will happen because ____________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

The Design of Our Experiment

Scientists write a complete description of their experiments so that they can repeat the experiment and so that others can read their report and try it for themselves.

The INDEPENDENT VARIABLE:

The DEPENDENT VARIABLE:

(What we will measure or observe)

List of Materials We Will Use

What we will do (steps of our investigation):

1.    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2.    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3.    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

4.    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5.    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

6.    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Number of times we will repeat the steps

(to help us see if we are being consistent):                  ___________

Data Collection

When we changed _____________________________,

we measured how it affected ___________________.

Sample data collection chart:

 What happened (Dependent Variable)  (include units of measure if appropriate) What we changed on purpose (Independent Variable)  (include units of measure if appropriate Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Average Of Trials Control Group Experimental Group Experimental Group Experimental Group

Graph of the Data

All graphs have a title.

Sample Graph

What happened?

(dependent variable)

Include units of

measure as needed

What we changed

on purpose

(independent variable)

Include units of

measure as needed

Are There Patterns in the Data?

When we purposely changed

(independent variable)

we observed that

(dependent variable)

changed in the following way:

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

We know this because _______________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

Conclusion

Write a paragraph that summarizes your experiment.  You should include statements about each of the following in this order:

1.    Write the question you decided to investigate.

How ___________________ affects __________________________.

2.    Write a sentence or two explaining what you did.

We changed _________________ to measure ______________  in this way:

3.    Write a sentence or two describing what you found out by doing the experiment.  Be sure to describe the data and patterns you found.

4.    Write an answer to your question and describe how you know.  Also explain whether or not your hypothesis was correct.

 Word Bank   You should be sure to use these words in your conclusion:   Independent variable Dependent variable Fair test Hypothesis Data Pattern Valid

5.    Explain why your results are valid and reliable.

The Next Thing I Want To Know

When scientists conduct experiments, new questions usually come into their mind.  Did it happen with you?

The next thing that I want to know is: