MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection > MnSTEP Activities > Beginning Scientific Inquiry with Water Kits

Beginning Scientific Inquiry with Water Kits

Jaci Sullivan, Barton Open School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, based on the completion of the Foss Water kit
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Students will use their prior investigations with the Foss water kit to help create controlled scientific investigations. Groups will create a scientifically oriented question to further investigate water. They will create a posterboard to show the question, procedure, data, and conclusion of their inquiry. Students will present their inquiry investigations during a "poster walk."

Learning Goals

This activity promotes critical thinking, data analysis and synthesis of ideas. The skills of questioning, possibly equipment operations, observation, organization and presentation of data and cooperation with peers. The activity is designed for students to participate in a controlled scientific experiment.

They will collect, organize, analyze and present data from their investigation.

This requires students to ask questions that can be investigated; create a procedure or variation from an investigation they have tried in the Foss kit; organize data using graphs, pictures, tables etc; and come to a conclusion based on their data and evidence.

Concepts Concepts investigated may include one or more of following:

Key vocabulary words

Context for Use

This is an activity that can be done in an upper primary classroom-3/4, divided into smaller learning communities.

This activity would take about two weeks, one hour a day.

You will need-

According to Benchmarks for Science Literacy, 1B, 2, 3, Project 2061, students should know that "People can often learn about things around them by just observing those things carefully, but sometimes they can learn more by doing something to the things and noting what happens."

Students will create their investigations after completing investigations from the Foss water kit. This activity is easily adaptable to smaller groups who have done investigations before.

Resource Type: Activities:Classroom Activity, Lab Activity

Grade Level: Intermediate (3-5)

Subject: Chemistry:General Chemistry:Properties of Matter, Physics:Fluid Mechanics:Surface Tension,
Resource Type: ActivitiesClassroom Activity, Lab Activity
Grade Level: Intermediate (3-5)

Description and Teaching Materials

This activity is used to introduce inquiry investigation to students with familiar materials. They will be creating testable questions using materials that they have had previous experiences with. I am focusing on this activity happening as a culminating activity for the Foss water kit.

Introduce this activity by brainstorming what students have previously investigated with their Foss kits. Make a list. Ask "what are some questions that you still have? What are some investigations that you could change to answer new questions?"

Teaching Notes and Tips


Students' understanding will be assessed by the work shown on their poster and their journal entries on reflections.

If the investigations represented on the poster have all of the components on the check list- question, procedure, organized data, conclusion based on data and evidence, then they are representing the pieces that go into a scientific investigation.

This is an introduction to creating investigations.

The assessment is for the beginning understanding of scientific inquiry.


3.I.B.1, 2- scientific investigations
4.I.B.2- scientific investigations
4.I.B.3- evidence and logic
4.II.A.1- heating and cooling causes changes

References and Resources

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