Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.
After this lesson, students will be able to:
- define scientific observation.
- make scientific observations and generate scientific questions.
Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.
Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
- Begin the lesson by placing an object at the front of the room and asking students to volunteer an observation they can make of the object. These can range from anything physical (sight, sound, touch) or can be more creative. Spend some time doing this, as it will help students understand that observations come in all sorts of different forms.
- Begin the video lesson How Scientific Observations Lead to Scientific Questioning. Pause the video at 1:25. Discuss the following questions as a class:
- What is a scientific observation?
- What senses can we use to make scientific observations?
- Were any of the observations we made of the object earlier in the lesson scientific? Why?
- Resume and finish the video lesson. Discuss the following questions regarding the scientific process:
- What is the scientific process?
- Is the scientific process a rigid set of steps? Why or why not?
- If we observe something in the real world, how might we generate scientific questions?
- What do we do once we have generated scientific questions?
Generate Scientific Questions from Observations Activity
- Now that students have a basic understanding of scientific observations and questions, they will generate questions based on observations they make.
- Take your class outside. Ask them to bring a pencil and paper with them, or allow them to use devices to record thoughts and notes.
- Ask students to make scientific observations of something while they are walking. Be sure to stop for short periods of time so students can observe things up close for a bit. Encourage them to ask preliminary questions while they are outside.
- Back in the classroom, ask students to pick one of their scientific observations. They will generate a list of 2-5 scientific questions from their observation.
- Ask for volunteers to share their questions. Allow discussion to take place.
- As an exit ticket, students can complete the associated quiz.
- If you have the time and materials, you can take the activity in this lesson one step further by allowing students to design and carry out an experiment to explore their questions. If you do this, be sure to ask students to focus their questions on things that can be experimented on in the classroom (or outside if you have access to a location that would be conducive to this activity).
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