# 4.1 - Scientific Investigations

The student will demonstrate an understanding of scientific reasoning, logic, and the nature of science by planning and conducting investigations in which

a)  distinctions are made among observations, conclusions, inferences, and predictions;

•  differentiate among simple observations, conclusions, inferences, and predictions  Bloom's Level:  Analyze
•  correctly apply the terminology in oral and written work  Bloom's Level: Apply

b)  objects or events are classified and arranged according to characteristics or properties;

• analyze a set of 20 or fewer objects or pictures.   Bloom's Level:  Analyze
• sort objects into categories to organize the data (qualitative or quantitative)   Bloom's Level:  Analyze
• construct bar graphs and line graphs depicting the distribution of those data based on characteristics or properties  Bloom's Level: Create

c)  appropriate instruments are selected and used to measure length, mass, volume, and temperature in metric units;

• use millimeters, centimeters, meters, kilometers, grams, kilograms, milliliters, liters, and degrees Celsius in measurement  Bloom's Level: Apply
• choose the appropriate instruments, including centimeter rulers, meter sticks, scales, balances, graduated cylinders, beakers, and Celsius thermometers for making basic metric measures   Bloom's Level: Knowledge

d)  appropriate instruments are selected and used to measure elapsed time;

•  measure elapsed time using a stopwatch or a clock  Bloom's Level: Apply

e)  predictions and inferences are made, and conclusions are drawn based on data from a variety of sources;

• make predictions, inferences, and draw conclusions using a variety of sources such as picture graphs, bar graphs, and basic line graphs  Bloom's Level: Apply / Analyze

f)  independent and dependent variables are identified;

• analyze the variables in a simple experiment   Bloom's Level: Analyze
• identify the independent variable and the dependent variable    Bloom's Level:  Understand

g)  constants in an experimental situation are identified;

• decide which other variables must be held constant (not allowed to change) in order for the investigation to represent a fair test  Bloom's Level: Evaluate)

h)  hypotheses are developed as cause and effect relationships;

• create a plausible hypothesis, stated in terms of cause (if) and effect (then), from a set of basic observations that can be tested.   Bloom's Level: Create

i)  data are collected, recorded, analyzed, and displayed using bar and basic line graphs;

•  organize and analyze data from a simple experiment    Bloom's Level:  Apply / Analyze
•  construct bar and line graphs depicting the data   Bloom's Level: Create

j)  numerical data that are contradictory or unusual in experimental results are recognized;

• judge which, if any, data in a simple set of results (generally 10 or fewer number) appear to be contradictory or unusual  Bloom's Level:  Evaluate

k)  data are communicated with simple graphs, pictures, written statements, and numbers;

•  present results of a simple experiment using graphs, pictures, statements, and numbers   Bloom's Level: Apply

l)  models are constructed to clarify explanations, demonstrate relationships, and solve needs; and

• construct a physical model to clarify an explanation, demonstrate a relationship, or solve a need  Bloom's Level: Create

m)  current applications are used to reinforce science concepts.

### BIG IDEAS

Scientific investigations enhance the search for knowledge and understanding in science.

### UNDERSTANDING THE STANDARD

• The nature of science refers to the foundational concepts that govern the way scientists formulate explanations about the natural world. The nature of science includes the following concepts:
1. the natural world is understandable;
2. science is based on evidence, both observational and experimental;
3. science is a blend of logic and innovation;
4. scientific ideas are durable yet subject to change as new data are collected;
5. science is a complex social endeavor; and
6. scientists try to remain objective and engage in peer review to help avoid bias.
In grade four, an emphasis should be placed on concepts a, b, c, d, and e.
• Science assumes that the natural world is understandable. Scientific inquiry can provide explanations about nature. This expands students’thinking from just a knowledge of facts to understanding how facts are relevant to everyday life.
• Science demands evidence. Scientists develop their ideas based onevidence and they change their ideas when new evidence becomes available or the old evidence is viewed in a different way.
• Science uses both logic and innovation. Innovation has always been an important part of science. Scientists draw upon their creativity to visualize how nature works, using analogies, metaphors, and mathematics.
• Scientific ideas are durable yet subject to change as new data are collected. The main body of scientific knowledge is very stable and grows by being corrected slowly and having its boundaries extended gradually. Scientists themselves accept the notion that scientific knowledge is always open to improvement and can never be declared absolutely certain. New questions arise, new theories are proposed, new instruments are invented, and new techniques are developed.
• Science is a complex social endeavor. It is a complex social process for producing knowledge about the natural world. 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 aconsensus, scientists communicate their findings to other scientists and attempt to replicate one another’s findings. In order to model the work of professional scientists, it is essential for fourth-grade students to engage in frequent discussions with peers about their understanding of their investigations.
• An observation is what you see, feel, taste, hear, or smell.  Scientists construct knowledge from observations and inferences, not observations alone. To communicate an observation accurately, one must provide a clear description of exactly what is observed and nothing more. Those conducting investigations need to understand the difference between what is seen and what inferences, conclusions, or interpretations can be drawn from the observation.
• An inference is a tentative explanation based on background knowledge and available data.
• A scientific prediction tells what may happen in some future situation. It is based on the application of scientific principles and factual information.
• Accurate observations and evidence are necessary to draw realistic and plausible conclusions. A conclusion is a summary statement based on the results of an investigation.
• Conclusions are drawn by making judgments after considering all the information you have gathered. Conclusions are based on details and facts.
• Systematic investigations require standard measures (metric), consistent and reliable tools, and organized reporting of data. The way the data are displayed can make it easier to uncover important information. This can assist in making reliable scientific forecasts of future events.
• Elapsed time is the amount of time that has passed between two given times. (See Grade Four Mathematics Curriculum Framework, Standard 4.9, page 24.)
• An experiment is a fair test driven by a hypothesis. A fair test is one in which only one variable is compared.
• A hypothesis is a prediction about the relationship between variables. A hypothesis is an educated guess/prediction about what will happen based on what you already know and what you have already learned from your research. It must be worded so that it is “testable.”
• In order to conduct an experiment, one must recognize all of the potential variables or changes that can affect its outcome.
• An independent variable is the factor in an experiment that is altered by the experimenter. The independent variable is purposely changed or manipulated.
• A dependent variable is the factor in an experiment that changes as a result of the manipulation of the independent variable.
• The constants in an experiment are those things that are purposefully not changed and remain the same throughout the experiment.
• In science, it is important that experiments and the observations recorded are repeatable. There are two different types of data – qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative data deal with descriptions and data that can be observed, but not measured. Quantitative data are data that can be counted or measured and the results can be recorded using numbers. Quantitative data can be represented visually in graphs and charts. Quantitative data define whereas qualitative data describe. Quantitative data are more valuable in science because they allow direct comparisons between observations made by different people or at different times.
 Example of Qualitative vs. Quantitative DataMain Street Elementary School Science Club Qualitative Quantitative Friendly Like sciencePositive about school 10 fourth-grade students and 12 fifth-grade students14 girls, 8 boys92 percent participated in the division wide science fair last year

• It is important for students to apply the science content they have learned to current events and applications.

### ESSENTIALS

Essential Questions:

·  How do scientists decide whether a topic is worthy of investigation?

·  How do scientists determine the criteria needed to conduct meaningful investigations?

·  How and why do you select variables when planning an investigation?

·  How can you effectively communicate findings and conclusions from a scientific investigation?

·  How do scientists use tools in an investigation?

In order to meet this standard, it is expected that students will

• differentiate among simple observations, conclusions, inferences, and predictions, and correctly apply the terminology in oral and written work.
• analyze a set of 20 or fewer objects or pictures. Sort them into categories to organize the data (qualitative or quantitative); and construct bar graphs and line graphs depicting the distribution of those data based on characteristics or properties.
• use millimeters, centimeters, meters, kilometers, grams, kilograms, milliliters, liters, and degrees Celsius in measurement.
• choose the appropriate instruments, including centimeter rulers, meter sticks, scales, balances, graduated cylinders, beakers, and Celsius thermometers, for making basic metric measures.
• measure elapsed time using a stopwatch or a clock.
• make predictions, inferences, and draw conclusions using a variety of sources such as picture graphs, bar graphs, and basic line graphs.
• analyze the variables in a simple experiment. Identify the independent variable and the dependent variable. Decide which other variable(s) must be held constant (not allowed to change) in order for the investigation to represent a fair test.
• create a plausible hypothesis, stated in terms of cause (if) and effect (then), from a set of basic observations that can be tested. Hypotheses can be stated in terms such as: “If the water temperature is increased, then the amount of sugar that can be dissolved in it will increase.”
• organize and analyze data from a simple experiment. Construct bar graphs and line graphs depicting the data.
• judge which, if any, data in a simple set of results (generally 10 or fewer in number) appear to be contradictory or unusual.
• present results of a simple experiment using graphs, pictures, statements, and numbers.
• construct a physical model to clarify an explanation, demonstrate a relationship, or solve a need.

### KEY VOCABULARY

conclusion - is a summary statement based on the results of an investigation; based on verifiable observations.

constant - those things that are purposely kept the same throughout the experiment.

dependent variable - factor in an experiment that changes as a result of the manipulation of the independent variable.

elapsed time - the amount of time that has passed between two given times

experimental design - the process of planning an experiment

hypothesis - an "educated guess"/prediction about what will happen based on WHAT you already KNOW and what you have already LEARNED from your research.  It must be worded so that it is "testable."  Can be written as an "IF....,then..." statement.

independent variable - the factor the experimenter changes; what is purposely changed or manipulated

inference - a tentative explanation based on background knowledge and available data

materials- list of items needed for an experiment/investigation

metric measurement tools - cm ruler, meter stick, graduated cylinders, beakers, scales, balances, and Celsius thermometers (tools listed in VASOL gr 4)

observation - what you see, feel, taste, hear or smell; to communicate an observation accurately, one must provide a clear description of exactly what is observed and nothing more

prediction - a "forecast" about what may happen in some future situation; it is based on the application of factual information and trends and patterns...not a random guess

procedure - steps followed during an experiment/investigation

qualitative data - deal with descriptions and data that can be observed, not measured

quantitative data - are data that can be counted or measured and the results can be recorded using numbers; can be represented in graphs and charts

results - the effect or outcome of an experiment; displayed in charts, tables, graphs, observations, data tables

Updated: May 20, 2016