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Different Kinds of Scientific Enquiry

In this worksheet, students will answer questions about the meaning of key vocabulary used in basic scientific enquiry.

'Different Kinds of Scientific Enquiry' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Properties and Changes of Materials

Curriculum subtopic:  Comparing and Grouping Properties of Materials

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Scientist asking a question

 

Scientists try to answer questions, for example:

 

Why are planets spherical?

 

Earth

 

What happens to heartbeat during exercise? 

 

Girl playing tennis

 

Which is the best material for a football?

 

Football

 

There are many different ways of answering these questions or enquiries. 

Scientists carry out fair tests. They consider all the things which they could change, for example: the material used to make a football, but keep all the other things the same, for example: the size of the football, the material it is filled with etc...

These are called FACTORS or VARIABLES. Only ONE factor or variable can be changed at a time, to keep a test FAIR.


Got that?  Let's have a look at fair tests, then.

Scientists always start their investigations with...

a cup of coffee

a question

an answer

Chris and Steph want to investigate melting ice. They think of some questions.

 

Which THREE of these questions can Steph and Chris investigate?

How does temperature affect melting?

How does the size of the cubes affect melting?

How does ice melt on the moon?

How does the liquid the ice is made from affect melting?

The students must think about the variables in this investigation. Variable means... 

the things we can change

the question

the time

Steph decides that they will investigate this question:

 

"How does the liquid the ice is made from affect how it melts?"

 

They freeze water, orange juice, coca cola and lemonade.

Which TWO variables must they keep the same?

where the liquids are frozen

the size of the ice moulds

the shape of the ice moulds

who freezes the liquids

How many variables or factors do they change to make the test fair

1

2

5

Steph and Chris predict the outcome of their experiment.

 

In science, a PREDICTION means... 

looking at the results

saying what we think will happen

asking the teacher what will happen

To find out how long the frozen liquids take to melt, Steph and Chris must MEASURE the time taken.

 

Match up the measuring equipment with what is being measured.

Column A

Column B

mass
stopwatch
distance
ruler
temperature
thermometer
time
balance

Match up these UNITS OF MEASURE.

Column A

Column B

degrees centigrate
time
kilograms
temperature
metres
mass
minutes / seconds
distance

Steph is investigating how gases expand to fill their container. Chris sprays an aerosol can at one side of the classroom and, after a while, Steph smells it at the other side.

 

Steph says: "When we use our senses in science, it's called..."

smelling

tasting

observing

looking

Chris has been investigating which materials conduct electricity. He has two groups - materials which allow electricity to flow and those which do not. 

 

Chris says: "In science, when we arrange materials into sets or groups it is called..."

measuring

exploring

classifying

  • Question 1

Scientists always start their investigations with...

CORRECT ANSWER
a question
EDDIE SAYS
Scientists, and YOU are a scientist, always start with a QUESTION!
  • Question 2

Chris and Steph want to investigate melting ice. They think of some questions.

 

Which THREE of these questions can Steph and Chris investigate?

CORRECT ANSWER
How does temperature affect melting?
How does the size of the cubes affect melting?
How does the liquid the ice is made from affect melting?
EDDIE SAYS
We can change the variables, temperature, size and colour. It would be brilliant if we could melt ice on the moon, but this is not a question we can investigate!
  • Question 3

The students must think about the variables in this investigation. Variable means... 

CORRECT ANSWER
the things we can change
EDDIE SAYS
Variables are the things we can change for example, the size of the cubes.
  • Question 4

Steph decides that they will investigate this question:

 

"How does the liquid the ice is made from affect how it melts?"

 

They freeze water, orange juice, coca cola and lemonade.

Which TWO variables must they keep the same?

CORRECT ANSWER
the size of the ice moulds
the shape of the ice moulds
EDDIE SAYS
Liquids freeze at different temperatures. The students must keep the size and shape of the ice moulds the same to make the test fair. Who, and where the liquids are frozen will not affect the fair test.
  • Question 5

How many variables or factors do they change to make the test fair

CORRECT ANSWER
1
EDDIE SAYS
Fair test means that only ONE variable is changed. That's really important: if you change more than one variable, and the results of the test show a difference, you won't know which of your changes caused the result to be different.
  • Question 6

Steph and Chris predict the outcome of their experiment.

 

In science, a PREDICTION means... 

CORRECT ANSWER
saying what we think will happen
EDDIE SAYS
Scientists use their knowledge and understanding to say what they think might happen. They don't KNOW, as they haven't carried out the investigation yet. The prediction is based on what they already know and they are using that to make an educated guess about what they reckon will happen.
  • Question 7

To find out how long the frozen liquids take to melt, Steph and Chris must MEASURE the time taken.

 

Match up the measuring equipment with what is being measured.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

mass
balance
distance
ruler
temperature
thermometer
time
stopwatch
EDDIE SAYS
So, a stopwatch measures the time (probably in seconds, as they're more accurate), a balance takes a measure of the mass of the substance. Then the ruler's there to measure the distance (probably in mm) and finally they couldn't do the test without a thermometer to measure the temperature.
  • Question 8

Match up these UNITS OF MEASURE.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

degrees centigrate
temperature
kilograms
mass
metres
distance
minutes / seconds
time
EDDIE SAYS
Choosing the right units for your test is really important. For example, scientists usually use seconds as a measure of time, rather than minutes, because seconds are more accurate.
  • Question 9

Steph is investigating how gases expand to fill their container. Chris sprays an aerosol can at one side of the classroom and, after a while, Steph smells it at the other side.

 

Steph says: "When we use our senses in science, it's called..."

CORRECT ANSWER
observing
EDDIE SAYS
In science, OBSERVATION means using our senses to answer a question.
  • Question 10

Chris has been investigating which materials conduct electricity. He has two groups - materials which allow electricity to flow and those which do not. 

 

Chris says: "In science, when we arrange materials into sets or groups it is called..."

CORRECT ANSWER
classifying
EDDIE SAYS
Classifying means putting objects or events into groups with common properties. Another example is animals with six legs, or no legs, or wings.
---- OR ----

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