Stimulating inquiry thinking skills and strengthening laboratory skills

 

Kathryn Straubel

Fair Lawn HS, Fair Lawn, NJ

 

Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

Summer 2006

 

 

Target Audience:          9th and 10th grade biology and environmental science students

 

Objectives:                 - To develop a question/hypothesis from previous knowledge and a literature search

                                    - To plan and implement an experiment testing the hypothesis using scientific inquiry skills

                                    - To evaluate data and draw conclusions

                                    - To report on experiment through a written lab report

 

Overview:                 This project is intended to stimulate inquiry thinking skills as well as strengthen laboratory skills.  Students will work in groups to develop, run and report on an experiment using denitrifying bacteria.  The time frame is the second semester of the school year. In class support will be provided through computer lab time, library research presentation, small group meeting time and multiple visits from undergraduate lab student. Students will need to make appointments for after school time in the lab to test and run experiments with teacher supervision.  Multiple checkpoints will be made to assist students with time management.  Each checkpoint will be assessed and added to compile the total grade for the project.

 

Procedure:                  Month 1:         Reactor set up in classroom with bacteria from lab with assistance of undergraduate lab student

After midterms students will attend a session with the librarians on how to do a literature search and how to cite references correctly.

                                                            One background article about denitrifying bacteria will be read in class and discussed

                                                                    *Class lab experiment will be conducted using denitrifying bacteria to introduce methods and instruments used with the bacteria

                                                            Groups will be formed and discussions of possible research questions will begin

                                   

                                    Month 2:        Computer lab time provided for research (1 period)

*Groups will submit 3 research questions along with a reference list and a summary of each article

                                                            Once teacher approves a research question students work on devising protocol (1 period teacher supported; 1 period teacher and undergraduate

                                                            student supported)

                                                            *Final protocol must be submitted and approved

                                                            Necessary supplies ordered

                                   

                                    Month 3:         Appointments must be made to run experiments after school or during lunch periods; data gathered protocols fine tuned; replicates made.

                                                            Undergraduate student visits to assist with fine-tuning protocols

 

                                    Month 4:         Appointments must be made to run experiments after school or during lunch periods; data gathered protocols fine tuned; replicates made.

                                                            Undergraduate student visits to assist with fine-tuning protocols

 

                                    Month 5:        Sample written lab reports examined and discussed; parameters for each section listed (1 2 periods)

                                                            Analysis methods described and demonstrated:

                                                            Excel graphs, spreadsheets, statistics

                                                            Groups discuss appropriate analysis techniques and work on creating charts, etc. (1 2 periods)

                                                            *Analysis techniques submitted and evaluated

                                                            Groups work on written reports

 

                                    Month 6:         *Written lab reports submitted and evaluated

                                                            Groups discuss results with class

                                                           

                                                           

                                                            * = sections which will be graded

 

 

 

Standards:     

 

STANDARD 5.1 (SCIENTIFIC PROCESSES) ALL STUDENTS WILL DEVELOP PROBLEM-SOLVING, DECISION-MAKING AND INQUIRY SKILLS, REFLECTED BY FORMULATING USABLE QUESTIONS AND HYPOTHESES, PLANNING EXPERIMENTS, CONDUCTING SYSTEMATIC OBSERVATIONS, INTERPRETING AND ANALYZING DATA, DRAWING CONCLUSIONS, AND COMMUNICATING RESULTS.

 

STANDARD 5.4 (NATURE AND PROCESS OF TECHNOLOGY) ALL STUDENTS WILL UNDERSTAND THE INTERRELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AND DEVELOP A CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE NATURE AND PROCESS OF TECHNOLOGY.