If you have been following this blog, you realize by now that I am pretty stuck on redoing how I approach the science fair. After attending another great NSTA conference, I have decided that besides ditching the old and tired, not to mention non-existent scientific method, that I need to add a few more layers to my new approach.

Here is what I am thinking, probably not in the right order:

1) The Big Idea: How many of us have said go find a project you can do for science fair and bring me your hypothesis? I know I am guilty of that for sure! My plan now is to have a discussion with the students about phenomena and then tell them they have to find a phenomena they want to investigate through experimentation. Once they have their phenomena, the student will have to decide what exactly do they want to try to find out and what do they need to know in order to complete this task.

2) Science and Engineering Practices: This, to me, would be the next step. The students will start to describe what skills they will need to complete this investigation. They will discuss with me the skills necessary to adequately attempt to experimentally solve the question they have developed around said phenomena.

3) Cross-cutting concepts: The students here will start talk about the overarching ideas of what they will be looking for through their experimentation. Maybe they are trying to identify patterns or cause and effect or any of the seven main Cross-cutting concepts.

4) Disciplinary Core Ideas: This part will be where they finally determine the content that they will be investigating. Up to this point, we will not worry about is it biology, physics, chemistry or earth science. Even when we get to this point, we will start to talk about how each of those fields helps support the investigative process for their question.

5) Progress through the project: I will not be setting points where they give me their hypothesis, materials, procedure, data, conclusion and such. Instead, I am going to have check points where they will have to discuss with me where they are at in the process. I believe this will lead to an approach where the student is not focusing on a linear progression through the experiment and instead is looking at it as a iterative process.

What do you all think? This will be a whole new way of doing it. I am honestly not trying to just tweak the scientific method but help my students move to more of a true science investigation. Comments are welcome and encouraged.

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