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Making and Recording Observations

Making and Recording Observations

TEKS Objective

Collect information by detailed observations and accurate measuring.

Essential Understanding

The student uses scientific methods during laboratory and outdoor investigations.

Science Background

How the Scientific Method Works: HowStuffWorks (website) - Short discussion of how scientists use all of their senses to gather information about the world around them.

How the Scientific Method Works
by William Harris, HowStuffWorks,

Research Methods, Description: Visionlearning (website) - Learn how scientists use detailed descriptions of their observations to identify patterns in natural systems and events.

Research Methods, Description
by Anne E. Egger and Anthony Carpi, Visionlearning,

Signature Lesson

What Makes Water Special? (Properties of Water): BioEd Online (website and video) - Students make detailed observations and collect information that allows them to compare the characteristics of two different clear liquids.

What Makes Water Special? (Properties of Water)
BioEd Online,

View Accompanying Video Here
BioEd Online,

Supporting Lessons

Test the Power of Baking Powder: (website) - Collect information by making detailed observations and measuring differences among four batches of cornbread that are identical except for variations in the amount of a single ingredient: baking powder.

Test the Power of Baking Powder
by Melissa Koosmann,

Ick Can Stick! Make Milk Glue: (website) - Students accurately measure ingredients to make their own glue, and then observe its properties.

Ick Can Stick! Make Milk Glue
by Alicia Danyali,

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Butterflies in Space: BioEd Online (PDF) - Make detailed observations and accurate measurements while collecting information to compare the growth and behaviors of butterfly larva in classroom habitats to those flown in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station.

Butterflies in Space
BioEd Online,

Science Notebooks in K12 Classrooms: North Cascades and Olympic Science Partnership (website) - Learn how to use science notebooks to help students develop, practice and organize their science observations and understandings.

Science Notebooks in K12 Classrooms
North Cascades and Olympic Science Partnership, Science Notebooks,

Assessment Ideas

Assessment: North Cascades and Olympic Science Partnership (website) - Use the rubrics provided to assess the quality of students’ scientific drawings, daily observations and use of their science notebooks.

North Cascades and Olympic Science Partnership, Science Notebooks,

Literature Connections

What’s the Plan? Designing Your Experiment. Hyde, Natalie (ISBN-13: 978-0778751540)

Solving Science Questions: A Book About the Scientific Process. Chappell, Rachel M. (ISBN-13: 978-1600445422)

Related Science TEKS

(5.1A) Science Safety
The student is expected to demonstrate safe practices and the use of safety equipment as described in the Texas Safety Standards during classroom and outdoor investigations.

(5.2A) Design/conduct Experiment with One Variable
The student is expected describe, plan, and implement simple experimental investigations testing one variable.

(5.2B) Ask Questions, Formulate a Hypothesis
The student is expected to ask well-defined questions, formulate testable hypotheses, and select and use appropriate equipment and technology.

(5.2D) Analyze Evidence and Explain
The student is expected to analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct observable and indirect inferred evidence.

(5.2E) Value of Repeated Experiments
The student is expected to demonstrate that repeated investigations may increase the reliability of results.

(5.2F) Communicate Conclusions
The student is expected to communicate valid conclusions in both written and verbal forms.

(5.2G) Graphs, Tables, Charts
The student is expected to construct appropriate simple graphs, tables, maps, and charts using technology, including computers, to organize, examine, and evaluate information.

(5.8D) Physical Characteristics of Sun, Earth and Moon
The student is expected to identify and compare the physical characteristics of the Sun, Earth, and Moon.

Related Math TEKS

5.12B The student is expected to use experimental results to make predictions.

5.13CThe student is expected to graph a given set of data using an appropriate graphical representation such as a picture or line graph.

5.14B   The student is expected to solve problems that incorporate understanding the problem, making a plan, carrying out the plan, and evaluating the solution for reasonableness.

Additional Resources

Naturalist Journals: BioEd Online (website) - Teacher guide covering the uses and benefits of naturalist journals, which for centuries have helped scientists organize sketches, pictures and written observations.

Naturalist Journals
BioEd Online,

Elementary School Design Packet: NASA eClips (PDF) - Introduction to a formal process for designing and testing a product or experiment intended to solve a specific scientific problem.

Elementary School Design Packet

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