What our Science Experiments lesson plan includes
Lesson Objectives and Overview: Science Experiments explores the step-by-step process that scientists use as they conduct experiments. Students will be able to identify and explain the steps of the scientific method. They will also follow the steps as they conduct their own simple experiment. This lesson is for students in 5th grade and 6th grade.
Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The nature of the activity requires you to decide what experiment you want your students to do. Gather the necessary materials you need based on what you decide.
Options for Lesson
In the “Options for Lesson” section, you will find quite a few ideas or suggestion of things to add to the lesson. One idea is to have students work alone or in groups for the activity rather than in pairs. Plan a “Science Experiment Day” at the school, and have your students conduct experiments for the visitors. Another option is to show videos of experiments and have the students identify and match the scientific method steps they observe. One more idea is to invite a scientist to class to speak with students about experiments and the scientific method.
The paragraph on this page provides a little more information or guidance on what to expect from the lesson. It explains the importance of helping students understand the concepts behind experiments. You can use the blank lines to record any thoughts or ideas you have as you prepare.
SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES
The Science Experiments lesson plan contains three content pages. Many of the different things we do to learn about something can be called experiments. An experiment is a procedure we follow to make a discovery, test something, or demonstrate a fact. Scientists often use experiments to learn new things.
- Making a Discovery: When explorers long ago traveled across the ocean to America, they made a discovery. They did not know what they would find in the New World. Similarly, scientists discover new medicines to treat diseases. Discovering things is a way of experimenting.
- Testing Something: A cook might test recipes by adding different amounts of ingredients. Therefore, the cook is experimenting. A scientist may help a car company build safer cars when testing the strength of seatbelts. Testing things is experimenting.
- Demonstrating a Fact: Everyone knows if we drop something, it will fall to the ground. This is because of the force of gravity. Scientists may drop different things to demonstrate gravity, proving that the concept is true. Demonstrating a scientific fact is experimenting.
There are many kinds of scientists who conduct experiments. In class, students might do experiments, too. Often, they perform such tests in science class. However, even in art class, we might mix different colors of paint to create a new color. This is a form of experimentation just like the other examples.
Conducting Scientific Experiments
Anyone can do an experiment. The lesson presents this scenario. If a basketball team keeps missing shots, the coach can do an experiment to learn why. The coach sets up an experiment to learn how the players hold the ball. He learns that they are holding the ball incorrectly and then teaches them a better way to hold the ball. The team then misses fewer shots. Experimenting solved the problem.
Of course, not all experiments are the same. However, every experiment has some basic steps to follow. Experiments are often challenging and sometimes take work and research. But they can be fun, especially science experiments. We must follow the basic steps when planning and conducting an experiment.
Whether a scientist is a zoologist, biologist, oceanographer, or another kind of scientist, they follow the basic steps when they conduct their experiments. Students can review the basic steps of a science experiment using the table on the second content page. Each step on the table exemplifies what it would look like in a specific scenario about the strength of paper towels.
All experiments will follow the basic scientific method steps. The only changes will include the type of experiment someone conducted, the supplies they used, or how often the experiment may be repeated. Every experiment will include variables, the things that can be changed or controlled throughout the test. In the paper towel experiment, the only changing variables were the paper towel brand and the amount of weights added to the paper towels. The weights had to change to test which paper towel was stronger.
In addition, once an experiment is over, further discussion can take place about the hypothesis and the results. For example, maybe there is a different reason the cost of Brand B is higher than Brand A, even though the paper towel is not as strong. Maybe the roll contains more paper towels, so it costs more money to buy.
The best experiments will often lead to more questions about the things we want to learn, to more experiments, and usually to more research. Real scientists follow these steps for their experiments. When they conduct one experiment, it may lead to several other experiments with small changes.
SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS
The Science Experiments lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Each one will help students solidify their grasp of the material they learned throughout the lesson. You can refer to the classroom procedure guidelines to know when to hand out each worksheet.
CONDUCT AN EXPERIMENT ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
Students will work with a partner during the activity portion of the lesson. You will first assign each pair of students an experiment to conduct. The students will collaborate as they answer the prompts on the worksheet page while they do the experiment.
SCIENTIFIC METHOD PRACTICE WORKSHEET
For the practice worksheet, students will first look at the eight steps of the scientific method. They must order them from first to last using the numbers 1 through 8. The next section requires students to mark whether statements are true (T) or false (F). In total, there are 12 statements in this section.
SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
The homework assignment requires students to read through five example experiments. They must decide whether each one relates to making a discovery (M), testing something (T), or demonstrating a fact (D). Then they will work with a parent or other family member to design experiments based on the hypotheses that the page lists. If they need to, they can use additional sheets of paper to write out the designs.
Worksheet Answer Keys
There are answer keys at the end of the lesson document for both the practice and homework worksheets. Correct answers are in red to make it easy to compare them to students’ responses. Given the nature of the second part of the homework assignment, answers will vary. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.