Scientific Method - "The Big Ahah"

Lorna J. Holliday Horace Mann School
8050 South Chappel
Chicago IL 60617
(312) 535-6640


This lesson is intended for intermediate and upper students. The students will
be able to use the scientific method, understand it's importance to good
scientific experimentation and provide justification for it's use.

Materials Needed:

These materials are for an entire class set up in 10 groups of three.
10 eyedroppers 10 data collection worksheets
10 cups 10 observation worksheets
10 coins (different) water
10 paper/plastic bags paper towels
10 sheets graph paper 2 overhead markers (different colors)
overhead projector
Prepare 10 bags, each bag contains 1 eyedropper, 1 cup, 1 coin


Part 1 (20 mins)
-Group students - three students per group
-Inform groups to isolate themselves for more accurate results
-Assign jobs to group members
-person #1 is the participant
-person #2 is the observer
-person #3 is the data collector
-Students remove items from their bag
-Distribute worksheet and graph paper
-Explain job responsibilities
-participant fill eyedropper and places coin on surface
-observer records everything he/she sees
-data collector keeps track of results
-Have each cup filled with water
-Give instructions
-participant drops water on coin until the water rolls off the edge
-observer monitors all activities and decides when the water rolls off
-data collector records the exact number of drops required to cause
the water to roll off
-each participant gets three (3) attempts
-observer records techniques
-data collector records each count
-Students are to switch rolls after each participant has had three attempts

Part 2 (20 mins)
-Review graphing Skills
-types of graphs
-labeling graphs
-x and y axis
-each group will graph their collected data
-graphed data (combined will be put on the overhead) will be discussed
-discrepancy in data

Part 3 (10 mins)
-Problem? Why is our data so scattered?
-brainstorming possibilities for discrepancy in data (provide
assistance if needed)
-discuss results
-introduce the word variables

Part 4 (20 mins)
-Pulling it all together! How do we set up this experiment so that we insure
our results are accurate?
hypothesis - the "burning question"
materials - a list of the specific items you intend to use (also give
quantities) in the experiment
procedure - the step by step directions you use to execute the
results - the detailed observations you make during your experiment
(note taking skills)
conclusion - based on your results, the answer to your "burning

Part 5 (20 mins)
-Now in the groups, the students will generate the experiment using the
scientific method

Performance Assessment:

The completion of the observation and the data collection worksheets, the graph,
the write up of the experiment and a reflection piece, would constitute
excellent assessment tools. Each assessment should have a teacher generated


This lesson is very good for initiating the preparation for Science Fair
projects, and encourages the students to think through the experiment before
they begin their work.
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