SCIENCE AS INQUIRY
Univ. of Denver
Dept. of Bio. Sci.
Denver Public Schools
National Science Standard A:
As a result of activities in grades 5-12, all students should develop:
Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
- Understandings about scientific inquiry
The National Science Standards emphasize the teaching of science using an
inquiry approach. However, process science is difficult to assess. The following
simple, inexpensive life science performance tasks provide useful data regarding a
student's progress toward proficiency of National Science Standard A-Inquiry.
Individual Task I
A company which sells seeds to garden stores had stored a number of radish
seeds in a metal shed during the summer. For several days in a row, the temperature
outside the shed was well over 100 degrees F. The seed company is afraid that the
temperature inside the shed may have gotten much hotter than 100 degrees.
Suppose that the company has hired you to give them advice about whether or not
the seeds are good.
Problem Definition (see rubric): What problem have you been hired to solve?
Experimental Design (see rubric): Describe an experiment that you could do to
figure out what effect being in the hot shed had on the company's seeds. Describe the
specific details of your experiment on a way that would allow someone else to repeat
Your teacher has some radish seeds from the shed as well as some that were
stored elsewhere. Using these seeds and the materials available in the lab, do the
experiment that you just designed. If you can't do your experiment because you don't
have the right materials, then change the experiment to use the materials that your
teacher has available. You have one week to complete the assignment.
Data Presentation (see rubric): Describe the results of your experiment.
Compare the results of your experiment with what you thought would happen. Did
the experiment turn out as you hypothesized or predicted it would? Explain why or
Conclusions (see rubric): Based on your results, what do you conclude about
the effects of heat on seed germination? What advice would you give the company
about their irradiated seeds?
Individual Task II
Were the Seeds From the Shed Damaged from Intense Heat?
The scientist who tested the seeds from the shed placed 50 of these seeds in five
petri dishes (10 seeds in each dish) on top of damp (not wet) paper toweling. Then
he covered the seeds with more damp paper toweling and placed the lid on the petri
dish. He repeated this procedure with seeds from a package of radish seeds (normal
seeds). He kept the paper toweling damp but not wet during the test period. He also
made sure that all the seeds were kept at a constant room temperature.
The scientist recorded the following data:
Radish seeds from the shed
"Fresh" seeds from the radish package:
- Day 1: No change
- Day 2: No change
- Day 3: No change
- Day 4: Two (2) seeds sprouted (germinated)
- Day 5: Two (2) more seeds germinated
- Day 6: One (1) more seed germinated
- Day 7: One (1) more seed germinated
- Day 8: Zero (0) seeds germinated
- Day 9: One (1) more seed germinated
- Day 10: Zero (0) seeds germinated
- Total number of seeds that germinated=7/50=14%
- Day 1: No change
- Day 2: No change
- Day 3: Five (5) seeds germinated (sprouted)
- Day 4: Seven (7) seeds sprouted (germinated)
- Day 5: Nineteen (19) more seeds germinated
- Day 6: Six (6) more seeds germinated
- Day 7: Three (3) more seeds germinated
- Day 8: One (1) seed germinated
- Day 9: Zero (0) seeds germinated
- Day 10: Zero (0) seeds germinated
- Total number of seeds that germinated=41/50=82%
- Graph the data.
- Write a conclusion based on that data.
Group Task III
Model Group Lab
Some radish seeds have been exposed to a source of radiation. How does
radiation affect the germination of seeds?
Perform an experiment to test this question (be sure to formulate a hypothesis).
Each pair of students prepares 4 petri dishes with wet paper toweling; they
should try to get the same amount of toweling in each dish and all 4 should be
Place 10 radish seeds in each dish as follows:
The dishes are covered, placed in the same environment, and checked each day;
water is added only if needed.
- Dish #1: 10 control seeds
- Dish #2: 10 control seeds
- Dish #3: 10 radiation-treated seeds*
- Dish #4: 10 radiation-treated seeds*
Parameters such as the percentage of germination and the length of the sprout
(root + stem) are measured after 3-4 days and recorded; data from all groups are
combined when the experiment is finished (approximately 10 days).
Upon completion of the experiment and examination of the class data, students
should be asked to write a conclusion.
*There are two variations. In the simpler variation, seeds have been treated
with high doses of gamma rays. This tends to inhibit germination and thus usually
provides "clear-cut" results; we can also supply seeds treated with low doses of gamma
rays. Here, the differences are more subtle and often require observation of the
germinated seeds and some "statistical" analysis of the results to interpret.
P7-17-9146 page 242 Carolina
Individual Task IV
Acid Water and Seeds
You are a member of a team of scientists in a biology laboratory. You have been
investigating the effects of several factors on seed germination (i.e., sprouting).
Recently, someone on the team discovered a potential problem with some of the
experiments. She found that the water that you have been using on the seeds was
sometimes very acidic.
Your job is to find out if the acidic water (not tap water) that was being used
could have affected the results of any of the experiments. you will need to design and
conduct an experiment which will evaluate the problem. you will need to report your
results to the other members of your team. in your report, you will also need to give
them advice about the problem.
In order to do this experiment, you will need some materials. The materials
available are listed below. Your teacher will specify the amount of time you will have
to complete the experiment and will indicate any other rules that apply to this exercise.
If you do not have a pH meter, use the "generalized" recipe that follows:
- Radish seeds
- Petri dishes
- Paper towels
- Tape and pens or pencils for labels
- Watering solutions of known acidity (i.e., pH)
Vinegar has a pH of 3, and distilled water has a pH of 7.
White Vinegar |
Problem Definition (see rubric): State the problem that your are going to
Experimental Design (see rubric): Describe the experiment you will conduct to
investigate the problem. Identify the hypothesis or prediction that your experiment
will be testing. List all of the steps that you will do. your list should provide enough
details so that someone else could accurately repeat your experiment.
You should now set up and conduct your experiment. You will have 10 days
to complete your experiment.
Results (see rubric): Once you have finished the experiment, describe the
results of your experiment. Compare the results of your experiment with what you
expected to happen. Did the experiment turn out as you hypothesized or predicted
it would? Explain why or why not.
Conclusions (see rubric): Based upon the results of your experiment, what do
you conclude about the effects of acidic water on seed germination? What
recommendations would you make to your team members about past and future
experiments on seed germination?
Scoring Rubric: Science Performance Task
Modified from Conn. CAPT rubric
DIMENSION SCORE PRE POST
A.||The problem is stated clearly. Clear identification of variables.
B.||The problem is stated adequately. Adequate identification of variables.||2
||The problem is poorly stated. Poor identification of variables.||1
D.||The statement of the problem is very limited or missing altogether. No identification of variables. || 0
A.||The experimental design matches the stated problem. Variables are controlled. The procedures are clear. Complete and replicable. A control is included when appropriate.||3
B.||The experimental design generally matches the stated problem. Attempt at controlling variables is made. Procedures are generally complete. Minor modifications or clarifications may be needed. ||2
C.||The experimental design matches the stated problem to some extent. Little attempt to control variables. Procedures are incomplete. Major modifications or clarifications may be needed. ||1
D.||The experimental design matches the stated problem, is very incomplete or missing. There is no attempt to control variables. ||0
A.||Data are well organized and presented in an appropriate manner. ||3
B.||Data are organized and presented in an appropriate manner. Minor errors or omissions may be present. ||2
C.||Data are poorly organized or presented in an inappropriate manner. Major omissions or errors may be present. ||1
D.||Data are very poorly organized or presented in an inappropriate manner or missing altogether.||0
A.||Conclusions are related to the stated problem and fully supported by data.||3
B.||Conclusions are generally related to the stated problem and supported by data. Minor errors in the interpretation of results may be present.
C.||Conclusions are related to the stated problem and supported by data to a limited extent. Major errors in interpretation of results may be present.
D.||Conclusions are not related to the stated problem, not supported by data or are missing.
Total Pts. _________ _________ _________
_______ Excellent (10-12 points) _______ Marginal (4-6 points)
_______ Proficient (7-9 points) _______ Unsatisfactory (0-3 points)