Scientific Enquiry

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The Task for this Session

Design a scientific enquiry – or in other words, a lesson in which your student will do an investigation.

The aim of this investigation is to test ideas about why things float or sink. Your lesson should use everyday resources that you plan and collect in advance. Make sure everything is safe to handle and safe to put in the water. Plan lots of opportunities for making and talking about observations. Plan ways to encourage your student to use the word too.

Observing in Science

In science, observing is not just ‘looking around’. It’s looking with purpose. We are using our senses (usually our sense of sight) to ‘observe’ the world around us in order to come with ideas about how the world works – and then test them.

So suppose you’re looking at a plastic lid floating on water – and you come up with the idea that shapes with air inside seem to float better than solid objects. Great – here’s a factor that you think affects how well an object floats. To test your idea you can find lots more solid shapes and shapes with air inside – and then observe whether they float or sink to test your idea.

In science, we don’t just want a couple of observations – we want lots of observations – because the more we have, the more confident we can be that our idea is thoroughly tested. And in science, we try to make our observations systematically. That means we use strategies like changing one thing at a time when we run an investigation.

We might study an object of interest at regular intervals or from several different angles. We also ask other people to observe too – because if more people observe what we observed, that also helps us to feel more confident about our conclusion.


SESSION PLANNING TOOL

This link will take you to a survey that will help you to decide on your learning goals for children and also plan a teaching session.

We recommend you use the tool many times. You can choose which sections you answer each time and print / save your answers at the end of each visit.

Session Planning Tool


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