How Do We Use the Scientific Method to Perform an Experiment?


Jennifer Salemo

High School of Hospitality Management, Manhattan


Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

August 2007







Warm-up: (5 minutes)

Drop Alka-Seltzer tablets in water and ask students to make observations.

What is a more scientific word than bubbles? Gas


What do you know about gases? (Where do you see them and what are their properties?)



Development I

Demonstration (5 minutes)


1)      fill film canister ½ full with water

2)      Drop in ¼ a tablet of Alka-Seltzer

3)      Snap lid on tight and invert canister (lid is on table)

4)      Wait and record observations

After rocket launches ask student what “things” were involved, time, water, tablet, height, canister. Prompt them to look at what they wrote for observations.  Elicit that these “things” are called variables.  Ask student to recall which are independent and which are dependent?


Development II (20 minutes)

Each group will receive one Alka-Seltzer package, water, one film canister, stop watch or meter stick (depending on selected dependent variable)

Have students explore one of the independent variables and dependent variables in small groups.

            See lab sheet


Summary: (5 minutes) Discuss conclusions





NYC Science Performance Standards:


S5:  Scientific Thinking

S8: Scientific Investigation a-Demonstrates scientific competence by completing a controlled experiment. c-Demonstrates scientific competence by completing a design.

S6: Scientific Tools and Technologies e- Recognizes and limits sources of bias in data