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Scientific Observation


This lesson was created for a 9 th grade integrated biology/English classroom with a focus on outdoor learning. In this lesson, students will practice their scientific observation skills and reflect on their experience in this out door observation activity.  In the lesson, students explore the way scientists make and share observations through the use of challenging texts, collaborative drawing, and application through reflective blogging.  First, students read a poem that illustrates the importance of sharing observations with others to get a complete picture of a problem.  Next, students practice this collaboration by combining their collective observations from a previous activity about making observations.  In this combining activity, they create a mural/poster that describes an environment, but must include the various observations of many students on the same poster.  Next, students read historical letters written by Charles Darwin, which challenges them to decipher Old English writing/language, but then emphasizes how Darwin shared his thoughts and observations with other scientists throughout his work.  This was also a time to review the concepts of qualitative and quantitative observations, as students pick out which of Darwin's observations fit which category.  Finally students blog about how our current project in class could benefit from the thoughts and input of various stakeholders.

Note: Before beginning this unit, decide on where students will house their blog posts to allow for feedback from peers. Keep in mind the time students might need to spend developing and working with the blog before actually posting to it. A Google Classroom discussion post may work as well or even better.

Learning Targets: 
Differentiate between qualitative and quantitative observations.
Describe the need for observations to be communicated between and among researchers.
Acknowledge that ALL observations should be recorded and communicated, in case they become important later.
Integrate one’s observations with those of others to create a rich explanation of a phenomenon.
Content Area: 
Resource Type: 
Creative Commons Licence
Next Generation and Michigan Science
Next Generation and Michigan Science: