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Ann Meyer New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math Manhattan August 2005

**M&M’s and the Scientific Method
**

Grade Levels: High School (can be adapted for Middle School students) Objective:

Introduce the scientific method including terminology Provide a fun activity for students to experience how the scientific method is used

**Stage and duration of activity: 50 minutes Handouts: Yes
**

M&M Group Activity Definition Sheet

Description of activity

Supplies: One regular sized bag of M&M’s for every 2 to 3 students One regular sized bag of M&M’s for demonstration One bag of peanut M&M’s and one large bag of M&M’s Introducing M&M Activity to Class The teacher holds up a bag of regular sized M&M’s. The teacher asks a question to begin the discussion--What things might we want to know about this bag of M&M’s? Students will respond with a variety of inquiries--How many M&M’s are in the bag? What color M&M’s are

In addition. the teacher asks every group to fill out a data table about the multiple bags of M&M’s—How many M&M’s are in the bag and How many of each color M&M are in the bag. A useful introductory question is--How many M&M’s are in the bag? Students guess the number of M&M’s. After asking many if not all of the class to respond with a hypothesis about how many M&M’s are in the bag. the teacher introduces scientific terminology. counts the number of M&M’s and writes ‘Data’ under which she writes the number counted in her bag. if any. Hand out directions (see Handout). the teacher asks—How do we determine which hypothesis. Allow students about 15 minutes to complete the activity. Activity Break students into groups of 2 or 3 students. the teacher introduces the concept of multiple trials. Using the framework of students’ guesses. students form small groups to complete the M&M activity. the teacher writes ‘Hypotheses’ on the board and lists the numbers volunteered by students underneath the word. is correct? Usually. The teacher opens the bag. Following the introduction.) . The teacher then introduces the concept of data collection to determine if one’s hypothesis is correct. during the discussion of answers to the question of how many M&M’s are in the bag. the teacher should write the definition of the new scientific term on the board and have students copy it onto their definition sheet. At this point. Follow-up The teacher brings the class back together and asks all of the groups about their questions and the answers that were found. the numbers put forth are hypotheses. By collecting the data from all of the groups. For instance. Read directions aloud while students follow along.in the bag? How many of each color M&M are in the bag? How much does one M&M weigh? How much does the bag weigh? The teacher chooses one question. (One discovers that the number of M&M’s per bag is not constant nor is the number of each color in the bag resulting in variation between M&M bags and the potential for calculations using the data. a student will ask the teacher to open the bag. At this point.

the teacher brings out a bag of peanut M&M’s and asks—Do we know anything about this bag of M&M’s based on our data? Additionally. To follow up the teacher asks—From our data. Often. Students may also graph the data in histograms and/or pie charts (color-coded graphs follow easily from the M&M colors). Extension Extending the concepts one step further. Number of Green M&M’s Number of Brown M&M’s Number of Yellow M&M’s Number of Orange M&M’s Number of Blue M&M’s . In addition to the average calculations. the teacher weighs an individual M&M. the average number of each color M&M per bag may be calculated. the teacher is able to address the idea of variance in data. the class determines the median and mode for the total number of M&M’s per bag and/or the number of each color of M&M per bag. the teacher may want to bring out a large bag of M&M’s and ask—Do we know anything about this bag of M&M’s based on our data? At which point the teacher introduces inference. Dividing the weight of the large bag by the weight of a single M&M determines the number of M&M’s in the large bag (disregarding the weight of the bag). If not. Also. what would be an accurate way to determine the number of M&M’s in a random bag I pick up at the grocery store? The average of the numbers provides an accurate description of the number of M&M’s in a randomly chosen bag. one group determines the weight of a single M&M during the group activity.Example Table for Board: Group Total Number # of M&M’s in bag 1 2 3 4 Data Analysis Using the data from the class.

that is. and technical and creative writing. the student: represents data and results in multiple ways. graphs. New York City Science Standards Standard S5 (a-f) The students demonstrates scientific inquiry and problem solving by using thoughtful questioning and reasoning strategies. Standard S7 (a-d) The student demonstrates effective scientific communication by clearly describing aspects of the natural word using accurate data.Standards: National Standards Teaching Standard A: Teachers of science plan an inquiry-based science program for their students. . or other appropriate media to convey depth of conceptual understanding in science. and artwork. all students should develop abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry. understandings about scientific inquiry Program Standard A: Teaching practices need to be consistent with the goals and curriculum framework. tables. and appropriate methods to investigate the natural world. Content Standard A: As a result of activities in grades 9-12. and graphs. diagrams. drawings. such as numbers. common sense and conceptual understanding from Science Standards 1-4.

We do this lab in our Introduction unit because students are making data tables and understanding the scientific method at the same time. collect and organize data. MN. Scientific Method Lab 1. Students will be asked to hypothesize. Cold Spring. Each group will need one piece of gum . D) E) F) 2. READ directions carefully before starting the lab. and differentiate between qualitative and quantitative data... use scientific measurement. 2 1 1 2 Reject Form Analyze or Accept a gathered your data hypothesis conclusion Materials paper string stick and B small meter different pieces pieces long of meter bubble of piece gun labeled wax of A 3. ROCORI High School. A) Observe and ask questions that lead to a problem B) Form a hypothesis C) Test the hypothesis with a controlled experiment my making observations and gathering data.instead of using lecture. Subject: Resource Grade Level: High School (9-12) Type: Activities:Lab Biology Activity Description and Teaching Materials At the beginning of the scientific method unit I use the lab to introduce and cover the process. Learning Goals Students will be able to use the scientific method to solve problems and collect data-based observations. In doing the investigation students will know how to use SI units and differentiate qualitative and quantitative data.Scientific Method Lab Using Bubble Gum Brad Bauer. Context for Use This lab is an inexpensive yet fun way to learn the scientific method instead of just doing notes. Based on the original lab designed by Sarah Crandall of Sartell High School. Summary In this lab students will learn the steps of the scientific method by identifying each step and applying each through a fun activity that compares variables between 2 types of bubble gum. The purpose of this lab is to use the Scientific Method to solve a problem.

_________________________________________________________________________ _____ _________________________________________________________________________ _____ Procedure: 1. The person with brand B does not begin chewing until all the tests on brand A are completed.____________________________ 3. Repeat the process for trials 2 and 3. 4. Find the average bubble size for brand A (add all the distances up and divide by 3) and put in the data chart. The person with brand A will chew their piece of gum for 3 minutes. 5. 3. Put the string on the meter stick to measure the distance in centimeters (cm).____________________________ 1. 2.labeled A and one labeled B. Blow a bubble. Repeat steps 1-5 with brand B gum.___________________________ Problem: Which piece of bubble gum will blows the biggest bubble? Hypothesis: Predict which piece of gum blow the biggest bubble and why. your partner will measure the diameter (distance across) the bubble. Observations Gum A Gum B 1. Record the measurement in a data table. Make 3 observations about each brand of gum. 6.____________________________ 2.___________________________ 3. Data Table: Design a data collection table to fit the data you will be investigating .__________________________ 2. Using a string.

Data Record the Repeat Table: Create a measurement #1-4 data table to in the for fit the data chart. begin to walk slowly backwards. 4. The third person in the group should hold the meter stick and measure the distance in centimeters the gum stretched before breaking. Hold the gum (brand A) by using the piece of wax paper. brand data you will ONLY DO B be ONE TRIAL gum. 3. gathering . 5.Conclusion: Forming a theory What brand of gum is the best at blowing bubbles and why? Support your answer with observations and your data. The person with brand A will roll their gum into a ball. Hold the gum near your chest. size? question. _________________________________________________________________________ _____ PART 2 Combine Problem: Hypothesis: with How Make another does an group gum to complete this relate answer part to the of the lab. strechability guess that would bubble above educated _________________________________________________________________________ _____ Procedure: 1. 2. Another person in the group would hold the same piece of gum with another piece of wax paper.

_________________________________________________________________________ ___ 3. list 5 variables that may affect the outcome of this experiment. _________________________________ . 1. _________________________________________________________________________ ___ 4. _________________________________________________________________________ ___ 2. _________________________________________________________________________ ___ Explain how the data you collected can be described as both qualitative and quantitative _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ __________ Were SI units used in this lab? Explain.Conclusion: COMPARE DATA FROM BOTH GROUPS IN PART 1 AND PART 2 How does gum stretchability relate to bubble size? _________________________________________________________________________ _____ _________________________________________________________________________ _____ With your lab partner. _________________________________________________________________________ ___ 5.

.. _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ _______________Complete lab (Rich Text File 6kB Aug11 09) Teaching Notes and Tips You need space to do part II of the lab.. Standards 1. Now.I. each time I do the lab I let students make tables and test other variables. Assessment Students hand in the lab when completed and we have a classroom discussion about the results and what they learned. But the stretched gum cleans up easily and the wax paper makes it possible for kids not to touch other students gum. on the first quiz I put questions about the lab.____________________________________________________________________ List any questions you still have about the scientific method.B. Depending on the age level and responsibility level of the students you can let each group come up with variables to test about the 2 types of gum. If you have carpet.1-4 Scientific Experiment (scientific inquiry) References and Resources . Also.but this depends on the students I am working with. When I have done the lab in the past we used to give students data tables and lead them the entire way through. you may want to do part II outside.

A Comparative Study in Knowledge Management Among Physical Education Teachers in Public Education Directorates in Baghdad

by The Swedish Journal of Scientific Research (SJSR) ISSN: 2001-9211

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