Student Designed Investigations Part 3 – Collecting Data and Drawing Conclusions

Author(s): Linda Akiyama

Lesson Overview

Grade level(s):

Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5

Subjects(s):

Biology/Life Science

Big ideas(s):

Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations.

A living thing responds to changes in its environment.

Vocabulary words:

See vocabulary words taught in previous lessons of this unit, "What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?"

What you need:

Part 3 -A copy of each pair's "Investigation Plan Sheet" from the previous lesson, ""Student Designed Investigations Part 2

Materials that were listed in each pair's "Investigation Plan". Each pair should have their own basin labeled with their names and the living thing they are investigating. The basin should contain all materials needed to carry out the investigation.

A camera to take pictures of students carrying out the investigations. The pictures can be used as part of the poster presentation.

Grouping:

pairs

Setting:

class

Time needed:

60 - 90 minutes

Author Name(s): 
Linda Akiyama
Summary: 

This lesson is from the unit, "What is a Living Thing, and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?" The unit is designed to be taught prior to teaching the adopted FOSS curriculum on life sciences. In this unit students are given time to think about and discuss the fundamental question, "What is a Living Thing?" They are also introduced to a process for planning science investigations on the topic of how different living things interact with their environment. The unit ends with students deciding on a testable question, designing an investigation, doing the investigation, collecting data and drawing conclusions. Students then create poster presentations of  their investigation for a grade level science fair.

In this particular lesson, students work in pairs to carry out their investgations, collect data, and make inferences based on their data.

Prerequisites for students: 

A prerequisite to teaching this lesson is to teach the previous lessons in this unit.

UNIT: What is Life and How Does a Living Thing Respond to Its Environment?

Lessons:

1) What Do Living Things Have in Common?

2) Living or Non-living?

3) Introducing Cells

4) Introducing the Process of Investigation Science

5) Student Designed Investigations Part 1, Part 2, - A Living Thing Responds to Its Environment

Part 1 - Observation

Part 2 - Testable Questions, Predictions, Materials, and Procedures

 

Learning goals/objectives for students: 

Record data by using appropriate graphic representations (including charts, graphs, and labeled diagrams) and make inferences based on those data.

Getting ready: 

Refer to students' investigation plans to see what materials are needed by each group. Have enough basins for each group. Label each group's basin with their names and the living thing they are investigating. The basin should contain all materials needed to carry out the investigation.

Have a clock with a second hand available for investigtions that require keeping time.

Lesson Implementation / Outline

Introduction: 

NOTE: This is a lesson that is best done in half groups because so many different activities are going on at one time.

I have also done this activity as a center during language arts time. I go over steps 1-6 with the whole class as I introduce the center. Each day, it takes about 10-15 minutes to set up two pairs of students to carry out their investigation(steps 5-8). They carry out their investigations while the rest of the class does our usual language arts centers and I work in reading with different groups of children. By the end of the week, all science partners have collected data and recorded results. Then we meet as a whole group to discuss drawing conclusions and graphing or charting results.

Activity: 

1. Tell students that this is the day that they will carry out their investigations. Ask them what part of the investigation plan tells them what to do (procedure). Remind them to follow their procedure as they do their investigation. If they find a problem with a step in their procedure and have to change it, then they should also change it on their investigation plan.

2. Remind students that they want to try not to harm the living things.

3. Hand out investigation plans

4. Have students locate procedure. Remind students that they will write their data in their science journals or on a separate piece of paper.

5. Have one student from each pair get the materials. Have students check that they have everything that they need.

6. Have them read over the procedure outloud in a whispering voice to make sure that they understand what to do.

7. Have pairs carry out their investigations and record the results.

8. When finished students can draw  illustrations of their data to use for their science poster presentation.

Checking for student understanding: 

Monitor student progress while doing investigation. Ask questions and record student responses. Check that inferences follow logically from data.

Wrap-up / Closure: 

Gather the teams together. Have students read their testable question with their partner and decide if the data that they gathered helped them answer the question. If so, what evidence did they use to answer the question. If not, why not. Have each team share their conclusions with the class and allow other students to ask questions of a team as it shares.

Have students write down their conclusion, and whether or not the evidence supports their prediction. If there is time, have students think about how they could change their investigation to improve it.

Standards - Grade 3

Life Sciences: 
3. Adaptations in physical structure or behavior may improve an organism's chance for survival. As a basis for understanding this concept:
d. Students know when the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce; others die or move to new locations.
Investigation and Experimentation: 
5. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:
a. Repeat observations to improve accuracy and know that the results of similar scientific investigations seldom turn out exactly the same because of differences in the things being investigated, methods being used, or uncertainty in the observation.
b. Differentiate evidence from opinion and know that scientists do not rely on claims or conclusions unless they are backed by observations that can be confirmed.
c. Use numerical data in describing and comparing objects, events, and measurements.
d. Predict the outcome of a simple investigation and compare the result with the prediction.
e. Collect data in an investigation and analyze those data to develop a logical conclusion.

Standards - Grade 4

Life Sciences: 
3. Living organisms depend on one another and on their environment for survival. As a basis for understanding this concept:
b. Students know that in any particular environment, some kinds of plants and animals survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
Investigation and Experimentation: 
6. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:
a.Differentiate observation from inference (interpretation) and know scientists’ explanations come partly from what they observe and partly from how they interpret their observations.
b.Measure and estimate the weight, length, or volume of objects.
c.Formulate and justify predictions based on cause-and-effect relationships.
d.Conduct multiple trials to test a prediction and draw conclusions about the relationships between predictions and results.
e.Construct and interpret graphs from measurements.
f.Follow a set of written instructions for a scientific investigation.

Standards - Grade 5

Investigation and Experimentation: 
6. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:
b. Develop a testable question.
c. Plan and conduct a simple investigation based on a student-developed question and write instructions others can follow to carry out the procedure.
e. Identify a single independent variable in a scientific investigation and explain how this variable can be used to collect information to answer a question about the results of the experiment.
f. Select appropriate tools (e.g., thermometers, meter sticks, balances, and graduated cylinders) and make quantitative observations.
g. Record data by using appropriate graphic representations (including charts, graphs, and labeled diagrams) and make inferences based on those data.
h. Draw conclusions from scientific evidence and indicate whether further information is needed to support a specific conclusion.
i. Write a report of an investigation that includes conducting tests, collecting data or examining evidence, and drawing conclusions.