In this multi-day lesson plan, which is adaptable for grade 6 through 12, students use BrainPOP resources to identify and explore the steps in the scientific method. Students then practice following the steps in the scientific method during interactive, online game play. Through both game play and experimentation, students will also explore how the scientific method can be useful to test hypotheses and solve real-world problems.
This lesson can be done in two days. Steps 1-6 of the Lesson Procedure are to be done on the first day. Steps 7-10 are to be done on the second day.
- Identify the steps in the scientific method
- Practice following the steps in the scientific method during interactive game play
- Explain and explore how the scientific method can be useful to test hypotheses and solve real-world problems
Preparation:Preview the Generation Cures Microbes Game to familiarize yourself with game play. The background story is designed to capture student interest and show the need for the scientific method: Caduceus is a healer apprentice sent to do research to stop the spread of a plague through his town. The objective of the game is for students to figure out how the game works by observing, making a hypothesis, testing out their ideas, etc. Eventually students will learn that they need to look through a microscope at microbes that have different shapes and colors, and click on matching pairs. The game teaches students how to search for a disease marker (different microbes in blood cells), just like the researchers at Children's Hospital Boston do in their labs. More information about the game can be found on the Generation Cures website.
If students run out of dye before finding all of the matching microbes, the level ends, and no points are awarded. They can try the level again as many times as needed to complete the task. There's no time limit, but the faster they complete each task, the higher their score will be. They can play multiple times to earn more points and improve their high score.
To be successful in the game, students should have a basic understanding of the scientific method. They will also need to be familiar with the vocabulary terms microbes and bacteria. You can use the BrainPOP topics Cells and Bacteria to help students build background knowledge.
- Day 1: As a warm-up, give students several minutes to complete the Activity page when they first enter the classroom.
- Review the activity and the steps in the scientific method. Encourage students to number the different steps they unscrambled and review the order of the scientific method. How is the process of the scientific method useful? How might researchers use it to help them find cures for diseases?
- Explain that students will be playing a game to explore how the scientific method can be used in a practical situation. Tell the class that they will need to observe how the game works and figure out how to best accomplish their tasks.
- Pair students up so they can explore the Microbes Game. Allow at least 20 minutes for them to play.
- Bring the entire class back together for a discussion. How did the game relate to the scientific method? What would happen if one of the steps was skipped or completed out of order?
- Have students complete the Graphic Organizer for homework.
- Day 2: Distribute copies of the Vocabulary page for students to use in note-taking. Show the BrainPOP movie The Scientific Method. You may wish to play the movie through twice with closed-captioning, and pause during the second viewing to allow students to write definitions of each step.
- Review the Graphic Organizer that students completed for homework. Have volunteers share their hypothesis and the experiments they suggested for each situation. What other experiments can they think of related to the game they played yesterday? How else could Caduceus have tested out his hypothesis?
- Allow time for students to play the Microbes Game independently. Have them note their score and time for each round of game play. Also pose several questions for students to reflect on in writing, such as: How did playing this game help you understand the scientific method? Would you recommend this game to other students? Why or why not? What would you do to improve this game and make it more helpful for students who are learning about the scientific method?
- Assess student understanding by having them take the scientific method Quiz.
Extension Activity:Encourage students to apply their knowledge of the scientific method to their own experiments! Use the BrainPOP movie Science Projects to help students understand how to formulate their own questions and hypotheses, and create experiments to test them out. What real-life problems would students like to solve? Empower students to be scientists and improve their world!
Be sure to check out the other Science Games and Health Games featured in GameUp!
Bacteria (Activity Page Answer Key)
Scientific Method (Activity Page Answer Key)