BuiltWithNOF
Science Investigations
circ0001 w1 vehicles on ramps in class w1 friction shoe w1

This section of the website has details of all sorts of different science investigations covering the main areas of ‘physical science’. For example:

              Properties of materials
              Forces
              Motion
              Heat
              Electricity
              Light
              Planetary motion

There are also some investigations relating to ‘chemical science’. For example:

              Solids, Liquids and Gases
              Changing materials
              Tooth decay simulation
              Volcano experiment
              Water
              Dissolving
              Dissolved gases
              Separation of mixtures

As yet I’m afraid I haven’t documented any investigations relating to ‘biological science’ eg. habitats, the animal kingdom, plant growth  etc.

 

The process of Investigating

Scientists find things out by carrying out an investigation.

Investigations always have a purpose and follow a plan.

The aim of the investigation is usually stated at the very beginning and may even be the title of the piece of work.

Examples:

‘An investigation to find out which type of flooring has the most grip.’

‘To find out which pair of magnets has the strongest attraction for one another.’

‘What makes a land yacht go faster?’

‘Which type of material is best for filtering dirty water?’

‘To find out which type of cloth is the best for making cycling shorts.’

‘To find out which type of material keeps the heat in best.’

‘Which is the gassiest drink cola or lemonade?’

‘Do boys or girls have the quickest reactions?’

An investigation follows a step by step process. Each step must be carried out carefully or the investigation may not be ‘valid’ and the answers it gives may be false!

The process can be written a follows:

  1. Statement of the aim of the investigation.
     
  2. Statement of what is being measured and what is being kept the same.
     
  3. Diagram of the practical activity (experiment).
     
  4. Step by step plan describing how to perform the experiment.
     
  5. Results suitably recorded eg. in a table with column headings and units.
     
  6. Discussion of results and concluding statement relating to the aim.
     
  7. Suggestions for improvements to the practical method and for further possible investigations which might provide useful information.

Ultimately we are trying to reach a stage in the understanding of the ‘process’ that allows the budding scientist to set off on an investigation even when the territory is unfamiliar. ie. pupils may not have studied a particular science topic but are expected to describe how an investigation might be performed or to study the results of an investigation and draw meaningful conclusions.

Investigations need not be complicated and quite often only simple equipment is needed. On the other hand there are some fabulous pieces of kit which enhance investigations and bring things up to date in terms of modern technology eg. dataloggers which are able to sense, record, store and display information graphically on computer.

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