Conducting Investigations Level 1


Tips for conducting investigations

Conducting investigations is the domain in which scientific investigations are physically carried out; where observations and/or measurements are made and recorded. In Teaching Phase 1, Practising, of MyScience students perform verification and guided inquiry investigations by following the same hands-on procedure and the class then jointly analyses the results to draw conclusions from the collected data. Emphasis should be on the skills of accurately measuring or observing and recording. By the end of primary school MyScience students should be independently planning investigations so that, within a class, several different investigations may occur simultaneously – with students working in groups of twos or threes. Many teachers find the use of scientist mentors invaluable when conducting open student-driven investigations. Aspects of resource, equipment and time management, group roles, safety and classroom management are often major considerations in this domain.

Some teachers find role badges effective to support classroom management. If a group member is designated as the ‘communicator’ then only he/she can communicate with the teacher or other groups. The group must meet first, discuss the issue and if they want further clarification, only the communicator can proceed to the other groups or teacher. This means that a teacher may deal with a query a maximum of seven times rather than twenty eight. Other teachers have students wear coloured adhesive dots to indicate roles. The teacher writes the description of the role that matches the colour on the board. This allows some flexibility of roles depending on the investigation or activity.

The TaLe web site has a resource called Student Research Project that is written for high school students, but many primary teachers may find the sections on planning and collecting data useful. In planning there is advice about risk assessment and an activity in which students scroll over a laboratory scene to identify hazards. Under ‘collecting’ useful sections include ‘observation’ and ‘more data’ for advice about quantitative and qualitative data and use of photographs and recordings.