Growing your Scientific Method Lesson Plan

sapling-154734_640Lesson Plan Title: Grow your scientific method.

Concept / Topic To Teach: The Scientific method

Standards Addressed:     The student demonstrates an understanding of the processes of science by

  1. [8] SA1.1 asking questions, predicting, observing, describing, measuring, classifying, making generalizations, inferring, and communicating*
  2. [8] SA1.2 collaborating to design and conduct repeatable investigations, in order to record, analyze (i.e., range, mean, median, mode), interpret data, and present findings (L)*


General Goal(s): The student will be able to design, carry out, a critique a scientific experiment.

Specific Objectives: The student will be able to distinguish between the meanings and uses of independent and dependent variables, controls/constants.   The student will be able to analyze and interpret their data and critique the experiment’s validity and accuracy by writing a detailed conclusion.


Required Materials: Fast plants foam sets, pipette, wick, soil, grow lights, individual materials requested by students

Links that may help:,,

Anticipatory Set (Lead-In): Introduce riddles as a form of problem solving and the scientific method.

Riddle presented on board.   Students will have a minute to write down a few yes or no questions pertaining to the riddle.   Be sure to ask students that already know the riddle to refrain from participating.


  • There is a cabin in the middle of the woods. A bunch of people are dead inside the cabin.   What happened?     (answer: a plane crashed in the woods)


Allow the students to ask some of the yes or no questions they thought up.   Create columns and track the questions asked and why they asked that particular question (what was the thought process behind the question).   There will be a question column and an idea column.


Guided Discussion – Do you remember the idea of scientific method?   What are the parts of the scientific method?   (observation, asking a question, collecting data, hypothesizing, experimenting, concluding)   What did we just do to solve the riddle?   The scientific process of problem-solving is slowing down the thinking process and naming it.   Scientific method is just trying your hardest to figure something out — using creativity, imagination, and trying to solve mysteries.   Make a flow chart of the riddle process and group synonyms or similar ideas through the class discussion (see attached sheet for board layout).     Point out, or elicit, the idea that we went through this process as a class, but we did it faster, skipping steps, and working out of order… Introduce the idea of scientific inquiry — a way to gather and sort information about a specific problem that can easily be communicated to other people.


Step-By-Step Procedures:


  1. Review of parts of an experiment — Give pairs a set of the experiment vocabulary cards. Have them pair them correctly together.     Once that is complete have that group pair with another group of 2 and compare the answers.   While they are doing this, hand out the study guide/homework assignment.   Review the answers together as a class.
  2. Do a group discussion expanding on independent and dependent variables. Use plenty of examples illustrating the if/then model and how the variables can be used to state a hypothesis.   Use examples from the ecology unit (plant life such as water, carbon dioxide, etc.) to elicit the idea of experimental errors.
  3. Assign classwork and homework stating experiments. In each experiment, have the student identify the independent and dependent variables, constants, and controls.
  4. Give the students sample problems and have them choose the most valid experiments (from a set of choices) that would scientifically help solve the problem.


Plan For Independent Practice:

  1. Have students design an experiment and identify:


What do you want to find out?


What do you think will happen?




Independent or Manipulated Variable:

Dependent or Responding Variable(s):


Design your experiment!   Write the steps for your experiment.   You will be working with your experiments once a week on block days for both observations and manipulations.

Safety Rules:

What safety rules do you need to follow during your experiment?


What type of quantitative information will you collect?

What type of qualitative information will you collect?

Design a data table to collect this information.   This will be entered into your Science Notebook.

  1. Have the teacher review each experiment and its components and provide feedback for each student to revise the experiment.
  2. Provide one day to set up the experiment.
  3. Allow students 6 consecutive Mondays to apply independent variables and to record data.


—  Closure (Reflect Anticipatory Set): Write a conclusion for your experiment.


 Examine the experiment and its reliability.   (Was it a good experiment with many constants and one control?)   Restate what you did in your experiment.What possible sources of mistakes are there?-                   experiment procedure design mistakes

–                   mistakes you may have made doing the experiments

–                   changes you would make to the experiment to make it better

Acceptance, rejection, or undetermined   My hypothesis that ____(restate your hypothesis here)____ was _________________________________________(correct, incorrect, or not answered)
 Summary of what the project shows us relating to data.    Make sure you refer to specific numbers and information in your data for this section. 

Remember, you are comparing the control plant to the plants you experimented on.   If you changed more than one variable, you will need to speak about each independent variable that effected your plants.

–                   Does the data show a relationship between the independent and dependent variable?

–                   Is there an observable pattern in your data?

–                   Is there a large difference between your groups?


****If you answer no to all of these questions

you still need to write that in your

conclusion.   Maybe this is a reason to

redesign your experiment.


 Further experimentation   If you decided your experiment was reliable, what do the results mean for plant life and agriculture?What would be the next experiment to solve the problem or take it one step further?


—  Assessment Based On Objectives:


criteria mastery3 points understanding2 points needs improvement1 point
Problem Clearly states aproblem that can be solved using the scientific method and   with the materials available. Written in a complete sentence. States a problemthat may not beable to be solved

using the materials

available. Not written in a complete sentence.


Does not clearly state a problem.   Does not use materials available in class.   Nowhere close to a complete sentence.
hypothesis Makes a prediction ofhow one variable willaffect another variable

that answers the

problem. Written in a complete sentence.

Makes a predictionrelated to the problem but does not identify how one variable will affect the other(s). Not written in a complete sentence.  Makes an attempt at a hypothesis but it does notrelate to the problem or address any variables. Nowhere close to a complete sentence. 







Explains each step clearly and in orderso that the experimentcould be repeated exactly the same.   Measurement amounts and procedures are clear. Identifies and uses a control in the experiment. Numbered and written in a complete sentence.


Explains each step but not in order or notclearly.   The experiment would be difficult to repeat exactly the same because there are not exact measurements or procedures.   Uses a control. Numbered or written in a complete sentence.  Doesn’t identify any constants. Has no order of steps in their experiment.   Does not include a dependent or independent variable. Not numbered and not written in a complete sentence. 
Data Has data completed for all days.   Data includes the date, independent variable, height, number of leaves, and color. Has data completed for all days.   Data is missing 1-2 of the following; the date, independent variable, height, number of leaves, and color. Does not have data collected for all days. Data is missing 3 or more of the following; the date, indep. variable, height, # of leaves, and color.
Graphs Includes title, labeled x and y axis, key to determine which plant is which, graphed all plants. Missing 1-2 of the following: title, labeled x and y-axis, key to determine which plant is which. Missing 3 or more of the following: title, labeled x and y-axis, key to determine which plant is which.
Conclusion:Examine the experiment   Restated the experiment and discussed why it was a good or bad experiment.   Addressed any mistakes or problems. If no useful data was collected they thought about other ways to test the same hypothesis. Restated the experiment or discussed why it was a good or bad experiment Addressed any mistakes or problems. Restated the experiment or discussed why it was a good or bad experiment Did not address any mistakes or problems.
Conclusion:Relate to Hypothesis Related the experiment to their hypothesis and accepted, rejected or decided their hypothesis could not be answered. Related the experiment to their hypothesis but not in detail. Did not relate the experiment to their hypothesis.
Conclusion:Summarized results Summarized the results of the data and used specific data to support all statements. Summarized the results of the data but did not use specific data to support 1-3 statements. Did not summarize the results of the data.
Conclusion:Further Experimentation Decided what the experiment means to plants and thought of an experiment to further test the hypothesis (or other hypotheses). Decided what the experiment means to plants or thought of an experiment to further test the hypothesis (or other hypotheses). Did not relate data to plant life or think of another experiment to test related to their first experiment.
Total Score out of 27


—  Adaptations (For Students With Learning Disabilities):

This depends totally on the disability. Options include; provide data tables, provide a predesigned experiment and have the student decipher the variables, constants, controls, hypothesis, and question being answered.

—  Extensions (For Gifted Students):

Compare their experiment and design with other similar experiments that are addressing the same problem or question.   Do further research for future experimentation.

—  Possible Connections To Other Subjects:

English writing skills.   Math graphing skills.


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