Introducing the Scientific Method with Applied Digital Skills
For years I’ve taught students about the scientific method. This cornerstone in the science classroom comes easily for us science teachers, but for our students, it’s often difficult to grasp. When I introduce my students to the scientific method, we complete samplings, blind studies, and repetitions of labs. We make and test hypotheses and analyze data, yet some of my students still struggle to make a connection.
I’ve found that real life, relatable examples help bridge this gap for my students. This is where I pull in Google’s Applied Digital Skills. The lessons use interactive, real-life scenarios to make learning more accessible. Building connections between science and my students’ lives and relevant interests, proved to be very helpful in my class. Today, I’m introducing you to my favorite Applied Digital Skills lesson, “Pick a Box Office Hit,” and I will show how I use it to introduce the scientific method.
Building connections to the Scientific Method with the “Pick Box Office Hit” lesson.
Observation or Question: The Applied Digital Skills lessons have students begin by reviewing a few movie ideas and creating a Starter Project doc to outline their findings. This is an important step for students as it helps familiarize them with the data and gather their thoughts before making a defined hypothesis.
Tip: Encourage students research and work collaboratively in a shared doc by making comments, suggestions and contributing to their ideas and thoughts.
Hypothesis: Using everything they just reviewed and their understanding of the movie industry, students form a hypothesis regarding which movies they believe will be successful.
Visualize the data: Explore data for recent movies by examining their budgets, box office revenues, and relationships in the data. Using all the features of Sheets, data can be transformed into colorful charts, diagrams or plots. For students learning about data analysis, being able to “paint a picture” helps them make a visual connection to the spreadsheet of numerical data they just collected. Ask students to discuss which visual representations of the data tell the best story for their decision-making process.
Analyze and Test: Now it’s time to analyze the data for the movies they researched using formulas to calculate things like the average return on investment. Using this information, students can test their hypothesis.
Draw a conclusion to pitch a movie: Time to go back to the Starter Project doc where students collected their movie options and created hypotheses. Using their findings, students “produce” a movie that supports their hypotheses. In the end, students present their movies and illustrate their production decisions using charts or diagrams they create throughout the lesson.
Tip: In the lesson, there is an activity prior to this that engages kids in coding and website creation to produce A/B tests on their data. This activity can be simplified or removed based on the grade and skill level of your specific class.
This lesson was very helpful in teaching my students about the scientific method. It was amazing to see them build a meaningful connection to the content and stay engaged throughout the lesson.
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Amanda Alford is a 7th-grade science teacher from Indiana and a certified Applied Digital Skills Instructor. This email-course shares her step-by-step instructions for ways to use Google’s Applied Digital Skills Curriculum in the science classroom.