Processing Investigations – explaining and publishing Level 1


How to write procedures

The main rules in writing a procedure (method) are:

  1. Start with a list of equipment.

  2. Write steps as a numbered list.

  3. Write steps in the order that they are carried out.

  4. Commence each numbered point with an active verb. Sometimes an adverb such as carefully, slowly can be used with the active verb. Any qualification to the step can follow the first sentence that gives the clear direction.

  5. Use simple present tense for the verbs.

  6. Use an instructional style in second or third person that is, ‘we collected the equipment’ should read, ‘collect the large tub, stopwatch and aluminium foil’.

  7. Write the heading as a statement of the aim of the scientific investigation.

How to complete scientific diagrams in the procedure

A labelled diagram showing how the equipment is set-up is frequently used to support the communication of the procedure. The rules for constructing hand-drawn diagrams in science include:

  • draw in pencil as a single line with no shading or colouring

  • where there are straight lines, use a ruler

  • label parts with a clear line drawn to the relevant part

  • diagrams should be drawn to approximate scale

  • diagrams are drawn in two dimensions not three.

Primary students may have difficulty addressing all of these rules, but the main criterion is that they have communicated accurately. Students may be encouraged to take digital images of their equipment and then manipulate the image to add labels. A work sample from the Board of Studies Assessment Resources Centre web site shows a typical example of a primary student’s scientific diagram.