Science Investigations!

We began our input today discussing what we though science was in 3 words….BLANK. How do you even answer that question? It is everything. My group decided on: DISCOVERY: ANALYSIS: INVESTIGATION. These are three things widely used throughout science – things science would not exist or be successful without.

We also learned that things such as, planning, data handling, estimating, predicting, hypothesising, observing, measuring, recording, and planning and carrying out investigations.I have quite a lot of experience with scientific investigations from doing two sciences all through high school. Having said this, it is not something I am particularly looking forward or am excited to teach in the classroom. Liz showed us ‘brainstorm’ or ‘planning’ sheets to help us plan our investigation. I had never seen or used these before so it was great to be able to use them myself for the first time. These sheets set out all the information that is needed for the investigation, and all the information that is needed to obtain, as well as asking for your investigation question and hypothesis. These will be great to use in the classroom as it ensures all pupils are on the right track and are given guidance on how to set out the information needed before and after an experiment. These sheets also enforce the idea of constants and variables, which are sometimes very hard to get your head around. Basically, you can have constants – which must stay the same throughout the whole experiment – and one variable – something you alter throughout the experiment.

For example my group were investigating the length of time different materials took to absorb water – our constant being the volume of water, our variable being the material used for absorption. We found that the thicker the material, the quicker it absorbed all of the water – which is what we predicted in our hypothesis before hand. I also learned today that a hypothesis is an educated guess!

What we thought we could do next time to make our investigation better would be to gather more evidence, so possibly carry out the experiments exactly the same a couple of more times, and then come up with an average which makes it a bit fairer. Luckily, our investigation worked for us, and we proceeded to display our results in the form of a graph.

I would really like to use the planning sheets in the classroom if i was to ever do scientific investigations. We used sticky notes to fill in our answers on the spaces today, but I would prefer to blow them on and the children could write on them themselves when needed. I think I would need to plan a series of lessons leading up to the actual investigation to ensure that the children were completely aware and comfortable with the range of scientific terms and problem solving that comes along with it. Things such as, drawing graphs, how to collect information, use a timer, set up the apparatus needed, understanding words such as hypothesis, and to to work their way through the planning sheets. Learning how to successfully carry out investigations from a young age provides a solid foundation for their use throughout high school, which will hopefully aid them in scientific subjects as well as increasing their scientific knowledge and developing scientific language.

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