5.1 - 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)  items such as rocks, minerals, and organisms are identified using various classification keys;

• Use classification keys to identify rocks, minerals, and organisms   Bloom's Level:  Apply/ Analyze

b)  estimates are made and accurate measurements of length, mass, volume, and temperature are made in metric units using proper tools;

• select and use the appropriate instruments, including centimeter rulers, meter sticks, graduated cylinders, balances, stopwatches, and thermometers for making basic measurements.   Bloom's Level:  Analyze/ Apply
• make reasonable estimations of length, mass, and volume    Bloom's Level:  Analyze
• measure length, mass, volume, and temperature using metric measures (includes millimeters, centimeters, meters, kilometers, grams, kilograms, milliliters, liters and degrees Celsius.  Bloom's Level:  Apply

c)  estimates are made and accurate measurements of elapsed time are made using proper tools;

• make reasonable estimations of elapsed time  Bloom's Level:  Analyze

d)  hypotheses are formed from testable questions;

• use a testable question to form a hypothesis as cause and effect ("if...then...") statement  Bloom's Level:   Apply

e)  independent and dependent variables are identified;

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

f)  constants in an experimental situation are identified;

• identify the constants in an experiment    Bloom's Level:  Remember

g)  data are collected, recorded, analyzed, and communicated using proper graphical representations and metric measurements;

• collect, record, analyze, and report data, using charts and tables, and translate numerical data into bar or line graphs  Bloom's Level:  Understand, Analyze, Create)

h)  predictions are made using patterns from data collected, and simple graphical data are generated;

• make predictions based on trends in data (requires the recognition of patterns and trends and determination of what those trends may represent)   Bloom's Level:  Apply/ Analyze

i)  inferences are made and conclusions are drawn;

• make inferences and draw conclusions    Bloom's Level:  Apply/Analyze
• distinguish between inferences and conclusions   Bloom's Level:  Analyze

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

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

k)  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. a)  the natural world is understandable;
2. b)  science is based on evidence, both observational and experimental;
3. c)  science is a blend of logic and innovation;
4. d)  scientific ideas are durable yet subject to change as new data are collected;
5. e)  science is a complex social endeavor; and
6. f)  scientists try to remain objective and engage in peer review to help avoid bias.
In grade five, 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 on evidence 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 a consensus, 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 fifth-grade students to engage in frequent discussions with peers about their understanding of their investigations.
• Systematic investigations require standard measures and consistent and reliable tools. Metric measures are a standard way to make measurements and are recognized around the world.
• A classification key is an important tool used to help identify objects and organisms. It consists of a branching set of choices organized in levels, with most levels of the key having two choices. Each level provides more specific descriptors, eventually leading to identification.
• 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.” The hypothesis can be written as an “If…, then….” statement, such as “If all light is blocked from a plant for two weeks, then the plant will die.”
• 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 kept the same throughout the experiment.
• When conducting experiments, data are collected, recorded, analyzed, and communicated using proper graphical representations and metric measurements.
• Systematic investigations require organized reporting of data. The way the data are displayed can make it easier to see important patterns, trends, and relationships. Bar graphs and line graphs are useful tools for reporting discrete data and continuous data, respectively.
• A scientific prediction is a forecast about what may happen in some future situation. It is based on the application of factual information and principles and recognition of trends and patterns.
• Estimation is a useful tool for making approximate measures and giving general descriptions. In order to make reliable estimates, one must have experience using the particular unit.
• An inference is a tentative explanation based on background knowledge and available data.
• A conclusion is a summary statement based on the results of an investigation. Scientific conclusions are based on verifiable observations (science is empirical).
• Scientific modeling is the process of generating abstract, conceptual, graphical and/or mathematical models. It is an approximation or simulation of a real system that omits all but the most essential variables of the system. In order to create a model, a scientist must first make some assumptions about the essential structure and relationships of objects and/or events in the real world. These assumptions are about what is necessary or important to explain the phenomena.
• It is important for students to apply the science content that they have learned to current issues and applications.

ESSENTIALS

Essential Questions:

·  How do scientists decide whether a topic is worth investigating?

·  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?

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

• use classification keys to identify rocks, minerals, and organisms.
• select and use the appropriate instruments, including centimeter rulers, meter sticks, graduated cylinders, balances, stopwatches, and thermometers for making basic measurements.
• make reasonable estimations of length, mass, volume, and elapsed time.
• measure length, mass, volume, and temperature using metric measures. This includes millimeters, centimeters, meters, kilometers, grams, kilograms, milliliters, liters, and degrees Celsius.
• use a testable question to form a hypothesis as cause and effect (e.g.,“if…, then…”) statement.
• analyze the variables in a simple experiment and identify the independent and dependent variables, and the constants.
• collect, record, analyze, and report data, using charts and tables, and translate numerical data into bar or line graphs.
• make predictions based on trends in data. This requires the recognition of patterns and trends and determination of what those trends may represent.
• make inferences and draw conclusions.
• distinguish between inferences and conclusions.
• construct a physical model to clarify an explanation, demonstrate a relationship, or solve a need.

KEY VOCABULARY

classification key- used to identify organisms and objects.  It consists of a branching set of choices organized in levels, with most levels of the key having two choices.  Each level provides more specific descriptors , eventually leading to identification

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

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

data- information collected in an experiment; the way data is displayed can make it easier to see important patterns, trends, and relationships.  Bar and line graphs are ways data can be displayed and compared.

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

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

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

Updated: May 20, 2016