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Asking Scientific Questions
This activity allows students to formulate and analyze scientific questions.
The activity begins with students observing different organisms or phenomena and developing questions based on their observations. They then sort their questions into those that can and cannot be answered using the methods of science. Students practice writing scientific questions, designing experiments to address scientific questions, developing questions that involve cause and effect, and understanding the importance of cause and effect questions in scientific research. At the end of the activity, students determine the research questions being asked from reading journal article titles and parts of a published paper or other reported results. Several possible extension activities are provided for continuing the investigation and research of phenomena.
Student Learning Targets
- Compare and contrast questions that can be analyzed using the methods of science and those that are outside of science.
- Develop novel, testable scientific questions that are inspired by student observations and interests.
- Explain the importance of cause-and-effect research in the processes of science.
- Analyze titles of scientific papers to identify the goals of the research study and, when appropriate, causes and effects in the study.
- Identify, evaluate, and predict the scientific questions that drove research, based on data or figures from the scientific literature.
cause and effect, scientific methodology, scientific process, scientific questions
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
SEP1, SEP3, SEP6, SEP8
AP Biology (2019)
Common Core (2010)
Vision and Change (2009)