Science Shorts: More Than One Way to Investigate by: Tracy L. Coskie and Kimberly J. Davis

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An exciting element of science fairs is that they give students the opportunity to explore various interests through scientific investigation. Many students, however, mistakenly think that all investigations are experiments. This lesson can help broaden students’ conceptions of science.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (2)
  • on Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:00 AM

This short, yet concise article give an easy example on how to teach students the difference between an experiment and a descriptive study. It involves a simple activity with water and food coloring. Ultimately students learn that an experiment involves testing a variable and a descriptive study involves simple observation.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:35 AM

This article focuses on the difference between experiments and descriptive studies, both essential to the work of scientists. Students perform both types of activities and use a T chart to distinguish the characteristics of both investigations. Their understand is then assessed by determining whether seven different situations are either experimental or descriptive studies. This is a short but useful introduction to both and a deeper understanding of the need for controlled variables in an experiment.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

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