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National Standards

Science as Inquiry

As a result of activities in grades K-12, all students should develop

1. Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

Grades K-4
* Ask a question about objects, organisms, and events in the environment.
* Plan and conduct a simple investigation.
* Employ simple equipment and tools to gather data and extend the senses.
* Use data to construct a reasonable explanation.
* Communicate investigations and explanations.

Grades 5-8

* Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations.
* Design and conduct a scientific investigation.
* Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.
* Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models.
* Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations.
* Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions.
* Communicate scientific procedures and explanations.
* Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.

Grades 9-12

* Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations.
* Design and conduct scientific investigations.
* Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications.
* Formulate and revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence.
* Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and models.
* Communicate and defend a scientific argument.

2. Understanding about scientific inquiry


Capture the gas. Build a roller coaster. Experiment with gooey recipes. Inquiring minds can learn about science through a variety of hands-on and minds-on techniques. Structured inquiry relies on an outline of procedures with activities designed for discovering relationships and making generalizations about the data. Guided inquiry allows students to develop procedures and methods for examining concepts about a specific problem. Open inquiry challenges students to create and solve science principles, interpret data, and draw conclusions. Resources on the Web can supplement the inquiry lessons in your classroom. Explore these sites for ideas and activities.

Adventures of Echo the Bat

Echo the bat helps students learn about the electromagnetic spectrum and remote sensing. The site uses photos, sketches and imagery to illustrate echolocation and electromagnetic waves. Follow Echo the bat through Arizona and do not miss the teacher's area for a multitude of lesson plans.

Amusement Park Physics

Go to Amusement Park Physics and design a roller coaster while simultaneously learning about science principles involved in creating a thrilling yet safe ride. Select the height of the first hill, the shape of the hill, the exit path, the height of the second hill, and if you should include a loop. After making your selections, test your coaster for safety and fun.

Cool Science for Curious Kids

Create a chrysalis and watch a butterfly hatch. Classify critters through an interactive quiz, create a 1-inch window of the world, or mix up some science you can eat. All of these cool activities and more can be found on the Howard Hughes Medical Institute site.

Droodles and Memory at Exploratorium

Test your memory by trying to remember the droodles named with made up words. On a virtual white board, draw what your remember. Then compare your drawings with the originals. This activity is only one segment of a larger exhibit on memory. How does a sheep's brain compare to a human brain? What is your earliest memory? Listen to recordings of those who tell stories about their earliest memories. Look at paintings an artist has drawn from memory and compare them to the photograph of the scene. Have your students ponder the secrets of memory at this engaging site.

Edheads—Simple Machines Activities

Engage your students in hard-to-teach applications using an interactive Web site. The site encourages the identification of over 50 different machines, from very simple to complex. Exploration begins in a typical cartoon house, where you find examples of simple machines in each room, such as a lever on a light switch. Discover complex machines in the tool shed. All of the activities are connected to national and state standards and promote critical-thinking skills. These are teacher-tested and student-approved by schools in central Ohio.You must signup to use the site at different membership levels. A single user is $30.00 per year.

exploreMarsnow

Move your mouse over the pictures to walk through the base of Mars. See how technology can create a base station that allows us to explore this neighboring planet. Take a tour of the base, including the bunks, galley, and wardroom, to see how scientists and astronauts would live on Mars. Visit the greenhouse and ride the robot rover. Review the mission overview and learn facts about Mars. Would you like to become part of the mission?

Fuel Cells and Energy (General Motors)

How might the automobile look if it were driven with hydrogen power? Would it have any impact on the environment? GM's technical fusion group explains how fuel cells impact a vehicle's design. Take an interactive tour of a hydrogen-powered car, tour a gallery of ideas, and play an interactive game.

Funderstanding Roller Coaster

Design a roller coaster using the simulator. Decide on the size for the two hills and determine the speed, mass, gravity, and friction required to construct a roller coaster that is safe. The simulator shows the results and allows for immediate revisions. Pop-up windows describe science concepts such as acceleration, centripetal force, energy, g-force, inertia, momentum, velocity, weight, work, and weightlessness, as well as information about Sir Isaac Newton. Students can see how these concepts apply to roller coaster construction. This is an award-winning science site..

Kitchen Chemistry

Collect clues from the kitchen to better understand acids and bases. Then, test various liquids with cabbage juice to determine whether or not that liquid is an acid or a base. Add baking soda to launch rockets. Younger students will enjoy the discovery process as they explore the nooks and crannies of the kitchen.

Science 4 Kids

This USDA government site is a series of stories for students ages 8-13. Learn how satellites determine where cows Moo-ve (roam) and why that is important, how food might be grown in space, why we study frozen carbon dioxide, and what exactly a SEM photo is. Explore the concept of GPS (Global Positioning Software) by answering these questions: Can you really lose a beehive? Would GPS help find it? How potent is vinegar? Read all about organic farming and why you might want to keep vinegar on hand. Create a photo box of a mite, learn about lichens, and taste some insect delicacies. This is just a sampling of the myriad of information on Science 4 Kids.

Science Glop Gloop

This site includes recipes for physics-defying goop that students can safely produce. Create flubber, glarch, and slime. Then, let the learning begin with a slime Olympics. Students will be intrigued with the names and properties of these interesting glops of gloop.

Science Vocabulary Hangman

Select a letter and name the word before Atom Man decays. Although there is a wealth of science terms included on this site, teachers can add their own vocabulary words. The clues are scientific in nature and help to reinforce knowledge. This site is for all ages.

Sodaplay

Two interactive tools are currently available at Sodaplay, which is a creative study of man vs. machine. The sodarace robots, created by both humans and artificial intelligences, race against each other over a variety of simulated terrains. The idea is to determine how human creativity measures up against the best machine intelligence. And then there's sodaconstructor, with its two modes of operation: construction and simulation. During the construction mode you create "muscles" with variables like gravity on or off. During the simulation phase, you observe how the "creature" moves based on your decisions during construction.

Web Weather for Kids

Want to become a weather forecaster? Enter the contest and predict the weather for a day. Among the activities at this site are making fog in a jar, creating a portable cloud, observing conduction, producing convection currents, and simulating a tornado. Learn the ingredients for weather. Play storm safety, cloud concentration, and cloud matching. Finally, read severe storm stories from around the world.

 

Science Processes of Inquiry

Once you have introduced your students to inquiry-based learning, you will want them to understand the processes of science inquiry. Create a packet of cards with the process on the front and the description or definition on the back. As students work through the various inquiry activities, they will be able to identify what science processes they used.

Science Process Skills

Inquiry Introduction Activity: Cat's Meow

In this experiment, students will hypothesize about the behavior of milk that has household detergent and food coloring added to it.

Cat's Meow Procedure Student Handout

Cat's Meow Results Student Handout

Originally Published Sep/Oct 2003

Updated March 14, 2015
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