The Scientific Method Goes International

The Scientific Method Goes International

Submitted by: Dan Gardner
School: Maybeury Elementary

Summary

This lesson seeks to put a global spin on the investigation process and the students’ understanding of the scientific community that has created the concepts we study.  Scientific knowledge represents the current consensus among scientists as to what is the best explanation for phenomena in the natural world.  This consensus does not arise automatically, since scientists with different backgrounds from all over the world may interpret the same data differently. To build a consensus, scientists communicate their findings to other scientists and attempt to replicate each others findings.  In this lesson, students in different countries will perform the same experiment.  It will teach them the scientific method and the global science community in which they live.  They will  have an opportunity to explore with several types of technology (blogs, Google Docs, Skype) that can be useful for collaborating over great distances.

TIPC Ratings

The research portion of this lesson falls in the developing range.  Students were activity engaged in several different research stations in which they responded to the class assignment.  Although they were to come up with their own ideas about matter, the research stations were set with a variety of teacher selected resources  for their exploration.  Google Docs were new to the fourth grade students, so the teacher modeled appropriate use of this tool to collect data with their peers.  Students then analyzed the information from the research document to form their hypothesis.  Throughout the experiment, data was entered in a google spreadsheet, graphs were formed, and the students analyzed the data to state their conclusion.

This lesson scored in the ideal/target range for communication and collaboration.  The use of Skype, blogs, and Google Docs allowed the students to explore international communication and collaboration with their peers in London.  The students selected the tool necessary for each part of the project.  They worked in groups where students from Maybeury and from London were working together to complete the project.  The students were able to communicate regardless of time zone and physical distance.  The students also had an opportunity to reflect on the lesson through the use of the blog.

This lesson falls in the developing range because the students were solving a question that was posed by the teacher.  The students solved problems and answered questions around the scientific method.  Throughout the lesson, the students were to solve the posed problem with their peers in London through the use of a Google Document.  The students also problem solved “in person” through Skype.

 

This lesson scores in the developing range for creativity and innovation.  Since the teachers selected the experiment to be conducted, there was not a lot of room for student creativity and innovation.  The students worked on the class assignment that blends technology with some opportunity for the students to generate new ideas.  The students summarized and made predictions on the data that was collected in the Google Spreadsheet.

Student Artifact

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Contents:

  • Lesson Plan
  • Student Documents
  • Student Samples
  • Teacher Documents
  • Class Blog

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