A couple days ago I posted about my grade 6 class developing a model for scientific investigations, which we subsequently used as a template for our lab notebooks. Now that we have that under control (more or less!) we can start to focus on the process of designing an experiment.
I have opted to focus on four factors that guide experiment design:
1. The independent variable
2. The dependent variable
3. The controlled variables
4. A hypothesis
However, since the students have not done experiments in which they test multiple values for a variable, this is bit of a bootstrapping process. I opted to give the students written descriptions of simple experiments, asking them to identify 1-4 for each. However, despite my best efforts to engage them in the task, many did not even attempt to read for comprehension. I will need to follow up on this with our ESL support group.