Richard Therrien


K-12 Science Supervisor

New Haven Schools

54 Meadow Street, 3rd Floor

New Haven, CT 06519


Phone: 203-946-7933


Fax:      203-946-8664

















 New Haven Public Schools




Assessing Experiments                 SEP 18th


8:00 – 8:15   Welcome, Orientation, Breakfast


8:30 – 9:45  


-Fill out teacher info form


Whole Group, Table discussion: What makes a good experiment, designing experiments,

common vocabulary

math/science connection.


10:00 – 12:00          Break out by grade. Practice embedded task/lab:

seventh grade: matter (staying afloat)  A305

eighth grade: bridges                                A301

ninth grade: plastics                                  A308

tenth grade: enzymes                                A304

eleventh + grade: matter (cold packs) A307


12:00-1:00 lunch


1:00- 2:20     break out groups, design/examine assessment questions, discussion on scaffolding to teach skills needed for assessment. Examination of holistic rubric.


2:35-3:00  group share, draft of initial quarterly assessment.



            Teacher Info Form (Turn IN)

            Open Ended Experimentation Notes

            Draft New Haven Science Standards

            Workshop Evaluation (Turn IN )

            Science Professional Development Draft Schedule

            Lab Report Rubric Scoring

            Open Ended Questions Scoring

            Grade Level Tasks, Scoring, Example Assessments


NEW HAVEN SCIENCE!                        


















       RICHARD THERRIEN             













       TODAY’S GOAL:


     Using science embedded tasks, teachers will

-examine learning goals for experiments.

-review common vocabulary and methods

-conduct instruction in hands-on embedded task experiments

-design embedded task follow-up assessments

-be able to use holistic rubrics to score student work on embedded task follow ups.




Core Scientific Inquiry, Literacy and Numeracy

How is scientific knowledge created and communicated?




·       Scientific inquiry is a thoughtful and coordinated attempt to search out, describe, explain and predict natural phenomena.

·       Scientific inquiry progresses through a continuous process of questioning, data collection, analysis and interpretation.

·       Scientific inquiry requires the sharing of findings and ideas for critical review by colleagues and other scientists.



·       Scientific literacy includes the ability to read, write, discuss and present coherent ideas about science.

·       Scientific literacy includes the ability to search  for and assess the relevance and credibility of scientific information found in various print and electronic media.



·       Scientific numeracy includes the ability to use mathematical operations and procedures to calculate, analyze and present scientific data and ideas.


INQ1.  Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigation.

INQ2.      Read, interpret and examine the credibility and validity of scientific claims in different sources of information.

INQ3.      Formulate a testable hypothesis and demonstrate logical connections between the scientific concepts guiding the hypothesis and the design of the experiment.

INQ4.      Design and conduct appropriate types of scientific investigations to answer different questions.

INQ5.      Identify independent and dependent variables, including those that are kept constant and those used as controls.

INQ6.      Use appropriate tools and techniques to make observations and gather data.

INQ7.      Assess the reliability of the data that was generated in the investigation.

INQ8.      Use mathematical operations to analyze and interpret data, and present relationships between variables in appropriate forms.

INQ9.      Articulate conclusions and explanations based on the results of the research, and assess their validity based on the design of the investigation.

INQ10.   Communicate about science in different formats, using relevant science vocabulary, supporting evidence and clear logic.















       What makes a good experiment?






       What are the parts to a good experiment?







       What is the scientific method?









            PROPOSAL: Consistent approach to terminology to designing good experiments.


SCIENTIFIC METHOD: No one "right" number of steps!

Includes the idea of

finding out something to investigate (the "problem"),


coming up with a theory or hypothesis based on observations: how one property (chemical, physical, environmental, biological) affects another.


designing a good experiment to test the idea, and making a prediction.


conducting the experiment.


organizing and analyzing the results.


drawing a conclusion and stating the validity.





       One property        affects    another property

       (factor, stimuli, characteristic, measurement, observation, etc..), both can be observed/measured.


       CAUSE                and        EFFECT


       Independent         and        Dependent

       Variable                                     Variable


       "Control"                                    "Responding"

       "Manipulated"                            Measured Result

       Input                                                  Output


       All other properties remain the same, they are "controlled".



       A "VALID" experiment is one that assures that the result output (dependent variable) is due to the input (independent variable), not to any other factor.


       It also has a starting point to compare to, the "control"
An experiment
is a controlled procedure designed to test a hypothesis. There are several parts to any good scientific experiment.

HYPOTHESIS: The educated guess, or conclude part of observe, organize, and conclude. Usually it is stated as how one physical property affects another physical property. Example: I think that

the amount of light causes plant growth. (Light affects height)


PREDICTION:  This is what you think is going to happen in your particular experiment, based on the hypothesis. A hypothesis can usually be tested in many ways, so it is important to predict for your specific experiment. A prediction usually indicates how you are going to MEASURE each of the properties

Example: I think that a plant growing in dark will be shorter than one in the light.


INDEPENDENT VARIABLE: This is the factor, or variable that you change. This is the physical property that you have direct control over to change. It should be the ONLY difference between the two groups for it to be a good experiment. It is the CAUSE property mentioned in the hypothesis.

Example: the amount of light.


DEPENDENT VARIABLE: This is the factor, or property that you measure for, or the result. It could be different between the groups, or it could be the same. You don't know the value of this variable until the end of the experiment. This is the EFFECT property mentioned in the hypothesis.

Example: how high the plant grows


CONTROL: All other variables should be the SAME in all groups, or they should be CONTROLLED.


  A CONTROL GROUP is the group that is used as the basis for comparison. It could be: the BEFORE part of a before and after experiment (mixing two chemicals to see a color change, the control group is the setup before they were mixed). It could be: the "normal”, or it could be the group in which the value of the independent variable is zero.


EXPERIMENTAL GROUP(S): The experimental group differs from the control group in just ONE factor or variable. This is the group that is usually mentioned in the prediction. It can also be the "after" part of a before and after experiment. It is the actual physical set of objects that you have changed or are doing something to.

Example: a plant set in a room with only a small light bulb.


CONCLUSION: after organizing the results of the observations made in the experiment, you check to see whether you are right by stating whether your predictions came true, and what you found out about the hypothesis



A good experiment, besides having careful observations, and using instruments, will always have a control group to compare to, even though it is not always clear which is the control or "normal" group, and which is the experimental group. But it is also very important to have groups in which only ONE property or variable is changed at a time, so that you can be sure that the property is the cause of whatever effect you are measuring.




            OPEN ENDED ACTIVITIES ( CAPT), ask students to design good experiments, with a cause and effect. (or to determine which cause has the greatest effect, and what the trend there is).



            YOUR TASK:




            How do you introduce the important points of experimental design in your science class?






            What are some good ways to teach the scientific method and parts of good experiments throughout the year?








            What other resources are needed or steps should the system take to help infuse this common theme throughout the science curriculum?





OPEN ENDED LAB ACTIVITIES (examples) • about water (temperature, oxygen) affect the movement of fish?

• (mass, height, angle, composition) affects the (depth, width, shape) of craters?

• (concentration, catalyst, surface area, temperature) affects reaction rates?

• about populations (density, competition, food supply) affects growth?

• about air (purity, volume, flow) affects respiration rates?

• about salts (type, concentration, temperature) affects solubility?

• about an environment (temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, light, wind speed) affects some other factor?

• about a planet (rotation rate, inclination angle, distance, eccentricity) affects the seasons (temperature, duration, severity)?

• about a magnet (strength, composition, distance) affects its magnetic field?

• about a person (gender, height, weight, genes) affects some other factor?

• about an object (composition, volume, shape, height) affects its resonant frequency?

• about water (composition, salinity, movement) affects how things float the ocean?

• about the room (air, light, sound volume, temperature, light color, radiation) affects how a plant grows (height, color, cell structure)

Brief Description of Experiment:






Materials Used:








Independent variable(s):


Dependent variable:


Control Group:


Experimental Group(s):



Conclusion Paragraph:



Drawing of Experiment:

















            HOW    _______________ AFFECTS       __________________


-How would we help students be able to construct their hypothesis as cause/effect.


-What are the key parts to this experiment?


-After doing the experiment:


            What scaffolding do students need? (Prior experiments, experience)


            What skills do they need?


            Which inquiry/numeracy/literacy standards for our grade does this address?


            What extensions can we make?


-What are the key elements of a good lab report? Rubric for scoring lab?






            How would we assess students on the skills we identified?


            By critiquing another experiment, what are appropriate questions?



            Examine sample questions:


            Devise 5-10 other open ended questions/ multiple choice questions that address the inquiry/numeracy/literacy skills.



            Examine the open ended rubric.


            What does a 0, 1, 2, 3 look like for each question?


            How do we assess students