Before Strategy/Engage: 30 minutes
1. The teacher should ask students to number their notebook paper from one to seven. Then, the teacher should ask students to brainstorm a list of the steps in the scientific method. Give the students approximately three minutes to complete their brainstorm.
2. After allowing students three minutes to complete their brainstorm, the teacher should allow students to discuss their list with a classmate for about two minutes. The teacher should encourage students to check their list, and add to it or make any necessary changes.
3. Next, the teacher should ask for student volunteers to share their list and use the students’ responses to create a class list of the steps in the scientific method using chart paper or the interactive whiteboard.
4. For the next portion of the lesson, students will need access to an internet capable device. Depending on availability, students can partner to share a device or each student can complete the activity independently.
5. Students should read the article “Using the Scientific Method to Solve Mysteries” from Arizona State University. After students read the article, they should revisit their brainstorm from the beginning of class and be sure that they have listed all of the steps of the scientific method in the correct order.
6. Next, students should navigate to the online interactive activity “Science Detectives Training Room Escape” from Arizona State University. This activity will follow the “escape room” game format while demonstrating the steps of the scientific method. The game has multiple options that are randomly selected, so each student is unlikely to have the same experience and the game can be played multiple times.
Note: The game provides an option to print or save a score report after the game is completed. The teacher can also view the report on the students’ screens. This can be used as a formative assessment.
During Strategy/Explore & Explain: 60 minutes
1. The teacher should look up pictures of the peppered moth that show the different color variations of the species (such as the pictures on this article: “Peppered Moth Evolution”). After students view the pictures, they should complete the Observation and Hypothesis rows on the Scientific Method Graphic Organizer: The Peppered Moth.
2. Next, the teacher should divide students into groups of approximately four students each to complete the experiment. The teacher should give each group the materials needed to perform the experiment: one dark-colored piece of construction paper, one light-colored piece of construction paper, forceps, and the wild rice blend. The teacher should assign each student a role within the group: set up commander, timer, rice collector, and recorder.
3. The student assigned to be the setup commander should crumple and re-flatten the light-colored construction paper, then spread out the 15 dark-colored rice grains and the 15 light-colored rice grains on the construction paper.
4. The students assigned to be the timer should set the stopwatch or timer for ten seconds. After the timer has begun, the student assigned to be the rice collector should attempt to collect as many rice grains as possible during the ten seconds. The student can create a pile of collected rice grains to the side of the paper.
5. The student assigned to be the recorder should record the number of each color rice grains that are remaining on the sheet of paper on the Rice Experiment Data Record for Generation 1.
6. The setup commander should clear the rice off the paper and set up the experiment again as described in step 3. The students should repeat steps 4 and 5 for Generations 2 and 3.
7. The students should repeat steps 3-5 using the dark-colored piece of construction paper.
8. Lastly, the students should work together to calculate the percentage of each rice color in the entire “population” using the data collected during the experiment.
9. The students should work with their group members to identify the control variable(s), as well as the independent and dependent variables from the experiment on the Scientific Method Graphic Organizer: The Peppered Moth.
After Strategy/Explain & Elaborate: 60 minutes
1. For the next portion of the lesson, the students will need access to an internet capable device or the teacher can make copies of the article for each student (“The Peppered Moth: A Seasoned Survivor” from Arizona State University). The students should navigate to the website and read the article about the peppered moth. As the students read, they should complete the “Conclusion” row of the Scientific Method Graphic Organizer: The Peppered Moth.
2. Next, the students should navigate to the “Picking Off the Peppered Moth” online interactive game. The students should read the information, then play the game. The students should record the results of the game on the Picking Off the Peppered Moth Data Record handout. Students will play in the light-colored forest twice, record their results for each game, then average the results. Then, students will play in the dark-colored forest twice, record their results for each game, then average the results.
3. After the students play the game, they should add to the “Conclusion” row of the Scientific Method Graphic Organizer: The Peppered Moth.
4. The teacher should introduce the Scientific Communication Checklist to students to explain how their final writing piece will be assessed.
5. Students will write a response to the prompt on the second page of the Scientific Method Graphic Organizer: The Peppered Moth.