Session 1: Epistemology
10 min discussion: Here’s a question, What is a question.
How do we know? voice inflection, etc.
5 min activity: How do we know what we know.
Offer a list of facts, and get ideas about how we know. e.g. We all exist. The sun will rise tomorrow. The earth revolves around the sun. We are made of atoms.
10 min writing activity: Making a question.
Take a statement of fact, add who what when why where how etc. to make it a question.
15 min writing activity: Writing Jeopardy
Pairs of teams each write answers to questions, then take turns trying to guess the questions.
5 min full discussion: Good and bad questions.
What makes a good question? What makes a bad question?
Good questions contain a path for their answering and have answers that can be found or tested. Bad questions are too broad or vague, or ask the unanswerable.
10 min activity: What Questions can’t be answered.
List and collect questions that can’t, for whatever reason, be answered. e.g. What is the sound of one hand clapping? What did George Washington’s breath smell like. What is the biggest turd ever made?
10 min activity: What about questions you wouldn’t want to know the answer to?
List and collect questions we don’t want to know about. e.g. How am I going to die? How does the world’s worst breath smell? What does my sister really think about me?
10 min discussion: What makes good questions good?
They are open ended, they are concise, they lead to answer paths: what ifs as opposed to hows.
15 min activity: Write a good question.
Collect topics, group into panels to each ask 4 good questions.
10 min final discussion: Choose the best questions.
Describe the next workshop and gather the questions, then as a group, vote on the ones most people want to have answered.
Back pocket: What do you know. What have you heard but can’t believe. What do you believe but have heard was wrong. What do you think everyone else thinks they know but that you think is wrong? How are your parents and teachers full of it?
Session 2: Research
15 min discussion: Review of previous session.
Presentation of sample questions collected by the group.
5 min activity: Team up.
Split up the list among various teams.
15 min activity: Make team names and flags.
Students will vote to name their team, then work together with craft materials to create a team flag.
10 min discussion: Good Google!
Use projector to demonstrate various google features: Image search, Google a day, Boolean search strings: +/-, and/or. Wonderful Wikipedia.
20 min activity: Controversies.
Each team picks from a list of controversies, or suggest their own.
e.g. MSG/Aspartame/tap water/?? is bad for you. Chem Trails? Sugar causes hyperactivity. Creativity is from the left brain and reason from the right brain.
Teams divide into two sections who each research the same question independently. Compare answers and vote. Analyze effect on team affiliation on results.
10 min discussion: Valid vs. reliable.
How can we tell who is right. Consider various controversies.
15 min activity: Answering our questions.
Return to list of student questions form the first session. Can any may be answered by research? Teams try to find answers and narrow questions via research.
15 min discussion: Scientific method:
Describe rigorous process: Question. Assumptions. Hypothesis. Testing. Records. Results. Conclusions.
Model based inquiry.
Existence of biases. Use of double blind studies. Limiting and controlling variables. Identify remaining research questions.
15 min activity: Break down questions.
Groups separate elements of questions into discreet elements that can be tested.
20 min discussion: Design experiments.
Select from the potential questions that have not been answered, and identify what variables can be tested, how these tests can be made, and what materials will be needed to do them. Create an experimental plan for next session.
Session 3: Experiment
Note: Materials and processes needed will have been pre-determined by staff in analysis of previous work to allow students to do an experiment to answer a question from the previous sessions.
5 min activity: Watch Mythbuster video.
10 min discussion: What did Jamie and Adam do?
Decode the scientific method form what was done in the video.
10 min: Divide into teams.
Specific roles and will be divided among the teams:
Lab Book team will record the conditions and results in a Lab notebook.
Videographers will record images and sound.
Principal investigators will oversee and make crucial decisions.
Lab techs teams:
30 min activity: Set up experiment.
Distribute gear, demonstrate use, and set up.
15 min activity: Run first round of testing.
10 min discussion: Analyze results.
15 min activity: Adjust parameters and retest.
The whole session will be devoted to following through on the experimental plan and duplication repeating and modifying it as many times as possible while rotating team members.
20 min discussion: Final analysis and Conclusion.
Group discussion of results and conclusions. Suggestions for further improvement of the experiment and new questions it may have brought up.
A video of the testing should be cut each week, posted and provided for download by the students.
© Nesdon Booth 2013