Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

Maria Anita F. Garcia

High School for Leadership and Public Service


How to Design an Experiment

Name:_______________________________ Date:_____________________

Class:_______________________________ Teacher:_________________


Day 1

Background information:

Designing an experiment and carrying out the plan are what scientists do. Developing the ability to design an experiment is critical to understanding of the scientific process and in promoting critical thinking skills. This skill can be developed if students are allowed to work like scientists. In order to be successful in designing an experiment, understanding it is necessary. After developing basic understanding of the scientific methods, the next process is designing steps in performing investigation. Here are some of the sample problems that can be explored:

How do we investigate the properties of nylon? Explain the reason for the development of this polymer.

How do we construct a mobile of organic molecules that illustrates molecular symmetry?

How do we test several foods for the presence of protein?

[9-12 Content Standard A- Identify the questions/concepts that guide scientific inquiry]


1. Break into assigned teams consisting of four members. Assign each other the following roles.

Role Your name

Team leader or facilitator - ____________________

Secretary or note taker - ____________________

Material manager - ______________________

Observer/researcher- _____________________________

[Teaching Standard E- Nurture collaboration among students]


1. As a team address the following scientific processes when designing an experiment:

Develop your own problems dealing with organic chemistry - What do you want to find out?

Formulate your hypothesis to be tested-Based on previous knowledge and information, what educated guess do you want to test?

Design a procedure and list the materials needed- What procedure should be followed to test your hypothesis? What measurements and observations are necessary to determine whether your hypothesis is correct?

[ 9-12 Content Standard A- Identify the questions/concepts that guide scientific inquiry]

Make measurements, or observations or a model.

Collect and analyze the data - Review the recorded data, such as observations or measurements to determine what happened during the experiment. Compare the observations between the control and the experiment.

Draw a conclusion with respect to the hypothesis -Determine whether the data that was collected by the observations and measurement supports the hypothesis. Review the steps in organizing an experiment by arranging the events in a chain concept map. Work in-groups to develop and set up each of the steps involved.

1. Write an outline of your experimental design for teacher's evaluation. Your outline should include the following:

Sample Experiment [Teaching Standard B- Model skills of inquiry]

Problem: How many drops can fit on a penny before the liquid overflows ?

Hypothesis: Fifty to eighty drops can fit on a penny before the liquid overflows.

Materials: Penny, dropper, and water

Procedure: Organize groups, assign roles, classify objects distributed, discuss and describe the medicine dropper. What are its uses? Practice putting 1 drop on wax paper-describe what happened. Put a drop on the paper towel-describe what happened. Predict how many drops will fit on a penny before the water overflow. Write down the number. Test. Use three trials for this experiment. Were the prediction correct? What were the variables? Record results-- try two other variables and record. How do you get the drops off of the penny using the dropper?

Observations: Record the number of drops that can fit on a penny before the liquid overflows. The variables that affect the number of drops are the size of the hole of the eyedropper, shape of the surface of the coin and the force exerted when squeezing the eyedropper.


Trials Number of Drops
1 80
2 75
3 85

Draw Conclusion: Analyze the observations and accept or rejects the hypothesis. The average number of drops that can fit on a penny is 80 drops.

Day 2, 3 and 4 Teacher evaluates, approves or suggests to modify your experiment. Collect all materials needed for the experiment once approved. Read appropriate journal or literature related to your experiment. Write a journal entry on how is the literature related to your work. [Teaching Standard B- Focus and support inquiries while interacting with students]

Day 5 Perform the experiment. [9-12 Content Standard A- Design and conduct scientific investigations]

Day 6 Write the final report of your experiment. Your report must include:



Background information







Day 7

Present your experiment including your findings, data, conclusion to the class. Prepare any visual aids that will help your classmates understand better your experiment.


Outline of an Experimental Design- 20%

Performing the Experiment -20%

Final Report of the Experiment -20%

Oral Presentation -20%

Group Effort-20%

[Teaching Standard C- Use multiple methods to gather data about student understanding]


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