Student Designed Investigations Part 3 – Collecting Data and Drawing Conclusions
Grade level(s):Elementary School (K-5), Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5
Subjects(s):Biology/Life Science, FOSS-Related
Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations.
A living thing responds to changes in its environment.
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.
60 - 90 minutes
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.
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?
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
Record data by using appropriate graphic representations (including charts, graphs, and labeled diagrams) and make inferences based on those data.
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
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.
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.
Monitor student progress while doing investigation. Ask questions and record student responses. Check that inferences follow logically from data.
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.