poses questions and hypotheses for scientific investigation
plans an investigation individually or collaboratively to obtain primary or secondary data and information
participates in investigations individually or collaboratively to collect primary or secondary data and information
collects and represents qualitative or quantitative data and information using media as appropriate
identifies how primary or secondary data is used in scientific investigations
uses patterns and trends in data to make observations and draw conclusions
Related Stage 6 outcomes INS11/12-1, INS11/12-2, INS11/12-3, INS11/12-4, INS11-8, INS11-9
Students recognise and make observations and use these to make predictions. They pose questions, and plan and conduct investigations to develop their knowledge and understanding of the world around them. They also explore data they have collected to identify patterns and trends and use these to make observations and draw conclusions.
In this module, students participate in scientific investigations, collecting and representing data in order to answer questions and test hypotheses.
- Inquiry question: What types of observations do people make in their everyday lives?
- identify that people make observations using their senses: what they can see, hear, feel or smell
- recognise that observations people make in their everyday lives can be made more specific by using descriptions or measurements, for example:
- when making an observation about electrical energy, eg the tumble dryer uses a lot of energy → the tumble dryer uses more energy than the dishwasher → the tumble dryer uses 1.5 kilowatts per hour (kWh) more per use than the dishwasher
- when making an observation about the weather, eg it is hot today → today is the hottest day of the month → the temperature is 35 degrees Celsius today
- when making an observation about animal care, eg feeding the dog costs money → it costs more to feed the dog than the cat → or, it costs 25 per cent more each week to feed the dog than the cat
- when making an observation about mixing ingredients in cooking, eg to make salad dressing, use oil and vinegar → to make salad dressing, combine a small amount of vinegar and a large amount of oil → to make salad dressing, combine vinegar and oil in a ratio of 1:2
- make observations using descriptions, including numbers, measurements and statistics, for example:
- electricity bill is higher in winter when the tumble dryer is used
- average temperature this winter was higher than last winter
- plant in the sunlight grew faster than the plant in the shade
- pH level of the moisturiser is 4.8
- recognise that qualitative data is data that is observed and described but not measured
- recognise that quantitative data is data that is observed and can be measured, and involves numbers
- identify that observations are a way of gaining information before beginning an investigation, for example:
- observing that a magnet sticks to the fridge and investigating what other metals a magnet will stick to
- observing the amount and types of litter in a local waterway
- observing that the pot plants in the house always grow towards the window and designing an investigation to find out if plants grow towards the light
- observing the amount of foam produced by different household detergents
- identify ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples use observations to assist them in everyday life, for example:
- observing the night sky to identify when to move to a new place to find food
- observing the flowering of a particular plant to predict hunting, fishing and gathering
- identifying that the black wattle flowering signals that it is time to catch blackfish
Role of Observations
- Inquiry question: How are observations made in a scientific investigation?
- make observations from investigations, including observations that can be measured, for example:
- the rate at which objects of varying mass fall when dropped
- the location of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on a map
- comparisons between similar bone structures in fossils and modern-day organisms, eg comparing jaws of modern-day herbivores and carnivores to fossil jaws
- the position of animals on a rock platform
- shape, colour and size of plant and animal cells
- chemicals and their reactions, eg the chemical reaction between magnesium and acid
- communicate observations in a variety of ways, for example:
- visual representations
- digital representations
- apply conventions when collecting and recording observations, for example:
- including a heading with tables and graphs
- labelling axes on a graph
- recognise that some observations can be used to make predictions, for example:
- heavier objects fall faster when dropped
- more earthquakes occur in Japan than in Australia
- plant cells are larger than animal cells
- if magnesium reacts with acid then all metals will react with acid
Observations as Evidence
- Inquiry question: How do we know the observations from scientific investigations are accurate?
- recognise that all investigations must be conducted safely
- identify risks involved in an investigation, for example:
- acid could splash in a person’s eye and cause damage
- describe ways to minimise the risks in an investigation, for example:
- wearing safety glasses
- demonstrate safe practices when participating in an investigation
- recognise that all investigations must be conducted in an environmentally friendly manner, for example:
- toxic chemicals must be disposed of correctly
- there should be minimal disturbance of the environment in fieldwork situations
- recognise the role of variables in a scientific investigation
- identify variables to be measured, changed or maintained in a scientific investigation
- investigate how variables in a scientific investigation can be maintained
- compare observations made in everyday life with primary data gathered in a scientific investigation
Conclusions Promote Further Observations
- Inquiry question: How do results from a scientific investigation instigate further scientific investigations?
- pose questions for testing that lead to further investigations, for example:
- Where is a load placed in a wheelbarrow to make it easier to lift?
- Will changing the shape of an object affect how fast it moves through water?
- Are all metals attracted to a magnet?
- Do all metals conduct electricity?
- Are bones of fossils, other than teeth, similar to modern-day animals?
- Do plants grow towards the light?
- Are fewer bacteria found on a person’s hands after they wash them?
- Are bacteria also made up of cells?
- Does sugar dissolve more quickly in hot or cold water?
- Will using more concentrated acid make a reaction with metal go faster?
- recognise other questions and hypotheses arising from an investigation that may need to be tested