What is a Scientist? - Lesson Plan

Instructor: Joanne Abramson

Joanne has taught middle school and high school science for more than ten years and has a master's degree in education.

Scientists study everything around us. Through a short video and a hands-on activity, this lesson plan will help you teach students how scientists observe the world, measure what they discover, and communicate their results.

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • list the senses we use to observe
  • name tools we use to measure
  • describe different ways that we communicate
  • provide examples of how scientists observe, measure, and communicate

Length

  • 1 - 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.MD.A.2

Measure and estimate liquid volumes and masses of objects using standard units of grams (g), kilograms (kg), and liters (l).

  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.MD.B.3

Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories.

  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.MD.B.4

Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units-- whole numbers, halves, or quarters.

Key Terms

  • Biologist
  • Geologist
  • Zoologist
  • Experiment
  • Observe
  • Measure
  • Communicate

Materials

  • Worksheet as is outlined in the Instructions
  • Fish tanks, translucent buckets, or other large, clear containers
  • Several brands of regular and diet soda
  • Paper towels
  • Rulers
  • Digital scales
  • Lined paper
  • Graph paper
  • Pencils

Instructions

  • Before class, create a worksheet to accompany the video.
    • The first section should contain clip-art to represent the terms 'biologist,' 'geologist,' 'zoologist,' and 'experiment.' Create a matching game where students draw a line and match the picture with the written term.
    • The second section should contain the following terms written out: 'observe,' 'measure,' 'communicate.' Include an area for students to draw their own visual representations of the terms.
    • The final section should include clip-art of a stopwatch, an ant under a magnifying class and a child talking. Students will number these pictures in order based on what they view in the video lesson. Finally, students will label the pictures with the terms 'observe,' 'measure,' and 'communicate.'
  • To begin the lesson, ask students to think of a time when they went outside and simply watched something happening. Did they watch a dog running in the park? Other children playing? The clouds moving in the sky? Invite students to share their stories.
  • Thank students for their input and tell them that they may not have realized it, but they were acting like scientists! One of the very first things scientists do is watch, or observe, the world around them. Explain that in today's lesson they will learn more about what scientists do.
  • Distribute the worksheets you created and start the video What Does a Scientist Do? Lesson for Kids. Pause at 00:45.
  • Have students complete the first section of the worksheet by drawing a line to match the terms 'biologist,' geologist,' 'zoologist,' and 'experiment' with their pictures. Either review the answers with the class or allow students to check in with others to ensure that they completed the activity correctly.
  • Continue watching the video, this time pausing at 1:37.
  • Have students complete the second section of the worksheet by drawing a picture to represent the terms 'observe,' 'measure,' and 'communicate.' As students are working, walk around the room to check for understanding and offer assistance.
  • Return to the video and watch it to the end.
  • Have students complete the third section of the worksheet by numbering the pictures of the stopwatch, the ant and the child talking in the order that they appeared in the video. Finally, have students label the pictures with the terms 'observe,' 'measure,' and communicate. Allow students time to check in with others to see if their answers are correct.
  • As a class, review the information in the video by completing the lesson quiz.

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