Student Extension

(60-120 minutes)

Academic Standards

Minnesota Science Standards:

  • evidence to support claims, other than saying “Everyone knows that,” or “I just know,” and question such reasons when given by others.
  • questions that can be answered when scientific knowledge is combined with knowledge gained from one's own observations or investigations.
  • that when a science investigation is done the way it was done before, even in a different place, a similar result is expected.
  • a record of observations, procedures and explanations, being careful to distinguish between actual observations and ideas about what was observed.
  • reasonable explanations based on evidence collected from observations or experiments.
  • that everybody can use evidence to learn about the natural world, identify patterns in nature, and develop tools.
  • and investigate a design solution and describe how it was used to solve an everyday problem.
  • Explain why evidence, clear communication, accurate record keeping, replication by others, and openness to scrutiny are essential parts of doing science.
  • a scientific question and plan an appropriate scientific investigation, such as systematic observations, field studies, open-­ended exploration or controlled experiments to answer the question.

MN Science Standards:

  •, display and interpret data using frequency tables, bar graphs, picture graphs and number line plots having a variety of scales. Use appropriate titles, labels and units.
  • tables, bar graphs, timelines and Venn diagrams to display data sets. The data may include fractions or decimals. Understand that spreadsheet tables and graphs can be used to display data.
  • and use the definitions of the mean, median and range of a set of data. Know how to use a spreadsheet to find the mean, median and range of a data set. Understand that the mean is a "leveling out" of data.
  • and analyze double-bar graphs and line graphs by applying understanding of whole numbers, fractions and decimals. Know how to create spreadsheet tables and graphs to display data.

MN Writing Standards:

  • 3/4/ informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

MN Speaking, Viewing, Listening, and Media Literacy Standards:

  • 3/4/ effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Lesson Objectives

The learner will be able to:

  • conduct research related to the student’s module.
  • conduct a scientific investigation.
  • choose the appropriate graph/table for the data that they are collecting.
  • examine collected data and present in grade-level appropriate graphical form.

Academic Language

  • Hypothesis
  • Data
  • Analysis
  • Variables
  • Control


Materials & Technology

Scientific Notebook

Documents & Handouts

Homework Task Cards


1 Scientist

Instructional Plan - Teacher & Student Talk/Action


A large group discussion and summary of content is led by the classroom teacher for students to produce words and phrases related to content material. The white board should be covered in words and phrases students produce including material from other subjects, Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, or Art, not only science.

Teacher: “To catch (Scientist Name) up on what we have been doing for the last few weeks I want to make a summary of what we've learned, the ideas we've discussed, and any words or phrases that relate to (focus of module.)”

Teacher writes student ideas/words on the board.

Students raise hands and tell the teacher words or ideas that relate to the module.

Teacher: “This summary seems to cover most of what we have learned. Now, I want you to look at the board and pick 1-2 words or phrases that connect the most with you. In your science journal write down those topics and quickly summarize why they have meaning. You will then share these connections with your table.”

Students write 1 or 2 words/ideas in their science notebook then write how each connects to their lives.

i.e. - Phrase: Scarce Resources

resources → agriculture → my family farms

Sentence starters:

  • __________is important to me because_____________.
  • The idea ___________ connects to __________ in my life.

Teacher: “Now that you have had some time to write, I want you to turn to a partner and share what you chose.”

Students choose a partner and share their ideas and connections.

Voting for Idea

The whole class will choose a word/phrase from the board by anonymous voting. Students will get 1 vote per 10 ideas on the board (i.e. 30 ideas, 3 votes per student)

Teacher: “We will use anonymous voting to choose one topic that connects most to you OR to someone at your table. I will review all words once and the second time we will vote. You will each have ____ votes.”

Students listen to word review.

Teacher: “The idea ______ got the most votes, so we will do an experiment focused on this idea.”

Students will vote for words/phrases.

Teacher: “Before we can actually start building the experiment, we need to ask a question. In your groups ask as many questions as possible that relate to

(idea chosen). Take 10 minutes to brainstorm and ask as many questions as possible - any question is OK, as long as it relates to ______. You may start.”

Students work in small groups to generate as many questions about the chosen idea as they can.

Teacher: “Now that is has been 10 minutes, each group should choose their 2 best questions to share with the class.”

Student groups select their 2 best/favorite questions and share with the class.

Teacher writes chosen questions on the board.

The Scientist should comment on the impressive questions that have been suggested on the board. They should work to make a statement of themes, grouping some questions together.

  • If the scientist cannot bridge questions/themes together, they should take a moment to directly address the feelings of frustration/disappointment that may exist in the classroom. “I know you may feel that your idea isn’t represented in the final idea we chose and that is tough. I too have felt this way when working in the lab. What I have found is that in these cases, the most important thing is that we have an experiment with a beginning, middle, and end. Then this means that you will be able to go back and do your experiment, using the skills that you have developed. And if you are interested in working with me further, here is how you can get ahold of me _____.” (Feel, felt, found, 2017)
  • The Scientist should prioritize choosing a question that will allow students to collect and analyze a lot of data (as aligned with goals for these grades).
  • The Scientist selects a question that is novel/relevant and explains that choice to the class. “These are all good questions: I have chosen the following question ____________, because __________.”

Experiential Design

Scientist: “As science partners we have a question. What are some methods or ways of answering a question like this? Do we need to ask the question in a different way? What are we really asking?”

Scientist should document ideas as students offer up methods of testing a question.

Students participate in discussion by sharing methods of answering the question. In the process they begin to build the experiment.

Scientist: “We've designed a method of answer our question, we can take the next step and form a classroom hypothesis. Who can give me the definition of what a hypothesis is? What are we testing?”

Students tell scientist what a hypothesis is (an idea you can test), and generate a basic hypothesis for this experiment.

Student Homework

The classroom teacher assigns homework related to their experiment. All 4 homework pieces have students reflect on the relevance of their experiment, what it means to those in the class, and to themselves.

Students are assigned to one of 4 Groups - each with 1 task

  • Group 1 - Hypothesis generation, with null hypothesis
  • Group 2 -1-3 sentences of why I care
  • Group 3 - 1-3 sentences of why YOU care
  • Group 4 - What is known about our topic?


  • Observation of students during experimental design and practice
  • Analysis of student data presentation and conclusions drawn from that analysis
  • Student Presentations
  • Module level evaluations should be listed here (including post talking drawings & student attitude surveys, as appropriate)

Additional Information

Reference Document:

The “Extensions Graphing Reference” document provides details for scientists, teachers, and volunteers about the grade-level appropriate tools to use (based on national and state standards) when collecting and presenting experimental data.

Purpose of Extensions at 3-5 Grade Levels:

  • Focus on data collection and data analysis over all other aspects of the experiment.
  • Creating a scientific protocol and carrying it out to answer a question that students care about.
  • Introducing the concept that students are contributing to what is now known in the scientific community.
  • Attempts should be made to increase experimental scientific novelty from grades 3 through 5.

Experimental Design Outside the Lesson (Teacher and Scientist Partnership Topics):

  • Generate a calendar for needs and timeline of experiment
  • Generate a resource list
  • Decide who is responsible for which resources
    • Best method is Scientist generating a summary of what occurred in class/group and the resources needed to complete the experiment. As partners, resources and time are discussed and arranged, including expectations of scientist/teacher for the entire experiment. If scientist is not needed in classroom the experiment will be led by teacher or completed by group.

Analysis of Data:

  • Led by Teacher or Scientist, determined by style of partnership. This can be active in partnership and Scientists led or led by the Teacher and shared with Scientist via email.

Sharing of Data:

  • Poster Session with the community where students will communicate their experiment to others.

InSciEd Out is a collaborative partnership committed to rebuilding pre-K through 12 grade science education. Our mission is to engage students and empower teachers through research-based, experiential classroom learning.

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