Planning Investigations Level 1

Plan an investigation

How do I help students to plan their investigation?

Watch two students explain the best thing about doing a science investigation.

Watch a parent give her perspective.

Planning is essential for students to conduct successful scientific investigation. After the class theme has been expanded and topics for investigation explored a testable question must be finalised. This adds greatly to the ownership and motivation of students, but can be difficult to achieve. Mentors support this process. Students will also need to learn about what constitutes a ‘fair test’ and how to plan an investigation based on controlling the variables — ensuring that the scientific investigation will achieve valid results. Sources of error and the need for replication or repetition need to be considered to achieve reliable results. Planning involves the students listing equipment and a procedure for the investigation. Finally, safety checks for any chemicals used have to be carried out by the teacher.

Watch this experienced teacher discuss some of the practicalities of choosing testable questions.

View this PowerPoint presentation about Planning Investigations (.pptx 409kB).

Clarify your understanding of the sequence of activities that you undertake when planning and conducting a MyScience investigation.

Reinforce your ideas about why you should conduct investigations by completing this Plus/Minus/Interesting table.

Clarify your understanding about processes in planning an open investigation in this cloze passage activity.

Read more on the benefits of working scientifically in the Mark Hackling article on Working Scientifically.