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Plan Your Investigation 2

In this worksheet, students will be able to explore the key considerations when planning an experiment.

'Plan Your Investigation 2' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Exam-Style Questions: SATs Science

Curriculum subtopic:   Exam-Style Questions: Planning

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Here at EdPlace we're committed to helping you get better and better at all sorts of things and this time it's .... Planning your Scientific Investigations!

 

Experimenting

 

When there's something new to try, whether it's a new computer game or sporting activity we often want to get stuck in right away...

But then, you get stuck! 

 

This happens when we haven't thought through what it is we want to find out and how we're going to do it

 

Planning is vital!  Not only does it save lots of wasted time but we'll have a much better chance at ending up with a reliable answer.

 

Remember, an investigation or experiment is always trying to answer a question. 

If you don't know what the question is, you definitely shouldn't think about starting!

 

So, use this worksheet to help you on your journey to becoming an ace investigator

 

So, what's going on......?

 

Well, Kirsty and Erin were eating their break-time apples in the school playground.

 

Girl eating apple

 

At the end of morning break, Erin noticed that her apple core had turned brown while Kirsty's hadn't. 

They wondered why there was a difference and decided to plan an investigation to try to find out the reason that only one of the apple cores had turned brown.

 

So, walk along the planning journey with Erin and Kirsty and let's see where it takes you....

Many scientific investigations start like this: someone notices something and wonders what's going on.

Later that day the two friends got together to talk about what they had seen and what might be going on. 

 

Erin suggested that it was because she had finished her apple first, while Kirsty said that maybe it was because they'd had different sorts of apples. 

 

They wondered whether eating it in different ways could make a difference.

 

What do we call all of these?

 

Hypotheses

Ideas

Measurements

Conclusions

Once they had come up with several possibilities for what had caused the differences between their apples, the young scientists decided that they should investigate whether the difference in browning was caused by the fact that they were eating different kinds of apple. 

 

Erin's apple had had a red outer skin while Kirsty's was mainly green.

 

Apple core

 

Their _ Y _ _ T _ _ S _ _  was that the different types of apples caused the difference in the rate of browning.

The girls talked about different ways in which they could test whether the browning was caused by the type of apple.

 

Which of the following scientific methods would you choose?  Pick two answers.

Collect several apples, pears and pineapples to test for browning

Look in the supermarket to see whether any apples have gone brown

Collect six different sorts of apples to test

See how many apples they can eat during break-time

Take four varieties of apple, cut them in half and watch

Kirsty and Erin decided to collect five different varieties of apple, cut each one into quarters and leave them on a plate for 15 minutes to see what happened.

 

Apples

 

Erin said that she thought that the red apples would turn brown before the green ones.

Collect several apples, pears and pineapples to test for browning

Look in the supermarket to see whether any apples have gone brown

Collect six different sorts of apples to test

See how many apples they can eat during break-time

Take four varieties of apple, cut them in half and watch

Next, they discussed what equipment they would need in order to carry out their investigation.

 

Pick three items you think they will need.

Knife

Ruler

Weighing balance

Timer

Plates

Safety goggles

In science, we can measure all sorts of things.

 

What should the young scientists be measuring in this case?

 

Length

Mass

Time

Temperature

In planning any scientific investigation, even something as simple as apple browning, it's important to go through the steps in the right order.

 

Put the following five operations in the order in which they should be carried out (1 for first and so on to 5).

Column A

Column B

1
Ideas
2
Hypothesis
3
Observation
4
Method
5
Prediction

Variables are going to be part of any investigation - they are things that change and that affect what's happening. 

Temperature is a variable that determines how comfortable you are in an environment.

 

Which of the following variables do you think might affect Erin and Kirsty's investigation, whether or not they are measuring it (note the word think - you don't know the answer, so base your choice on what you've learned so far!)

 

Time

Temperature

Rainfall

Mass of apple

Wind speed

Colour of apple

Type of apple

Before cracking on with actually carrying out their investigation, the two young scientists discussed how to make sure they were conducting a 'fair test'.

 

Place the following actions into the correct heading according to whether it's part of a fair test or not.

 Fair TestNot A Fair Test
Slice each apple into 4 pieces
Slice red apples and take a bite out of green ones
Time each apple for 15 minutes
Time each apple for 1 break-time
Put red apples indoors and green ones outdoors
Put all apples in the same place
  • Question 1

Many scientific investigations start like this: someone notices something and wonders what's going on.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
There's a clue in the grammar! "We call this AN..." means the answer must start with a vowel. But you probably knew it anyway! Observations (when you notice something) are the starting points for pretty much all investigations: why did this apple turn brown first, why's that toy car faster than this one, why does my pencil break when I sharpen it, why are exams in the summer when it's hot?! It's an observation that triggers the need to find out ... why??
  • Question 2

Later that day the two friends got together to talk about what they had seen and what might be going on. 

 

Erin suggested that it was because she had finished her apple first, while Kirsty said that maybe it was because they'd had different sorts of apples. 

 

They wondered whether eating it in different ways could make a difference.

 

What do we call all of these?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Ideas
EDDIE SAYS
At this point Erin and Kirsty are simply tossing ideas about, thinking about what was different about their apples, how they ate them and so on. It's from these ideas that they'll be able to choose something to base their investigation upon.
  • Question 3

Once they had come up with several possibilities for what had caused the differences between their apples, the young scientists decided that they should investigate whether the difference in browning was caused by the fact that they were eating different kinds of apple. 

 

Erin's apple had had a red outer skin while Kirsty's was mainly green.

 

Apple core

 

Their _ Y _ _ T _ _ S _ _  was that the different types of apples caused the difference in the rate of browning.

CORRECT ANSWER
Hypothesis
EDDIE SAYS
So, the girls came up with some ideas and then decided on one to test. They also made a HYPOTHESIS that the cause of the change was due to the different sorts of apples. That means that having discussed possible causes, this is the one they reckon is the most likely and the one that they're going to test. That's the meaning of a hypothesis: "I believe that the change is caused by....".
  • Question 4

The girls talked about different ways in which they could test whether the browning was caused by the type of apple.

 

Which of the following scientific methods would you choose?  Pick two answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
Collect six different sorts of apples to test
Take four varieties of apple, cut them in half and watch
EDDIE SAYS
Since they are basing their investigation on different varieties of apples being the cause, there's no point in looking at other fruit like pears. While there might be one or two damaged apples in the supermarket, it would take quite a few visits to log the different sorts and, anyway, it's hard to control the differences. Seeing how many apples they can eat isn't going to help them find out much about apple browning, but testing different sorts is the way to go. So, on to deciding what to ACTUALLY do next!
  • Question 5

Kirsty and Erin decided to collect five different varieties of apple, cut each one into quarters and leave them on a plate for 15 minutes to see what happened.

 

Apples

 

Erin said that she thought that the red apples would turn brown before the green ones.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Once you've come up with a hypothesis as to WHY you think there's a difference (in apple browning, here), next you're going to make a PREDICTION on what you THINK is going to happen. You base your prediction on any knowledge you have gained so far. Here, Erin had noticed her red apple had turned brown before Kirsty's green one. That's pretty much all she's got to go on when making her prediction. Yes?
  • Question 6

Next, they discussed what equipment they would need in order to carry out their investigation.

 

Pick three items you think they will need.

CORRECT ANSWER
Knife
Timer
Plates
EDDIE SAYS
So, what are they doing? Cutting apples into quarters and leaving them for 15 minutes to see which ones (if any) go brown. Sounds like a knife and a timer are going to be needed! Plates to sit them on and separate them from each other (and to act as a cutting surface) will also help. No need to measure a length or a weight. Safety goggles - they're only dealing with apples, so there isn't any danger to their eyes (and hopefully, knife-throwing isn't going to be part of the action!).
  • Question 7

In science, we can measure all sorts of things.

 

What should the young scientists be measuring in this case?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Time
EDDIE SAYS
If you're thinking along the same lines as Kirsty and Erin, you'll know that they're seeing which types of apples turn brown fastest. That's time. It's possible that a variable like temperature might affect the browning process, but they're not measuring that. They're seeing which ones turn brown first.
  • Question 8

In planning any scientific investigation, even something as simple as apple browning, it's important to go through the steps in the right order.

 

Put the following five operations in the order in which they should be carried out (1 for first and so on to 5).

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

1
Observation
2
Ideas
3
Hypothesis
4
Method
5
Prediction
EDDIE SAYS
If you've done loads of investigations, and if you've been following along with Kirsty and Erin, this was probably quite easy. An investigation is sparked by an OBSERVATION. Then you come up with some IDEAS about what's going on. You decide on a HYPOTHESIS to explain what you're seeing and a METHOD for testing that hypothesis. Finally, you're going to make a PREDICTION about what you THINK is going to happen.
  • Question 9

Variables are going to be part of any investigation - they are things that change and that affect what's happening. 

Temperature is a variable that determines how comfortable you are in an environment.

 

Which of the following variables do you think might affect Erin and Kirsty's investigation, whether or not they are measuring it (note the word think - you don't know the answer, so base your choice on what you've learned so far!)

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Time
Temperature
Colour of apple
Type of apple
EDDIE SAYS
To be honest, any of these variables could affect the rate at which apples brown but it's unlikely that rainfall or wind speed are going to affect it. It's possible that the mass of the apple could affect it but it's much more likely that that type/colour of the apple will have an effect. The time the apples are left and the temperature they're in are also likely to be variables that need to be controlled in their investigation.
  • Question 10

Before cracking on with actually carrying out their investigation, the two young scientists discussed how to make sure they were conducting a 'fair test'.

 

Place the following actions into the correct heading according to whether it's part of a fair test or not.

CORRECT ANSWER
 Fair TestNot A Fair Test
Slice each apple into 4 pieces
Slice red apples and take a bite out of green ones
Time each apple for 15 minutes
Time each apple for 1 break-time
Put red apples indoors and green ones outdoors
Put all apples in the same place
EDDIE SAYS
The idea of a 'fair test' is that each item under investigation has the same chance of being affected by a variable. Take where the apples are placed: if the girls put the red ones indoors and the green ones outdoors and the red ones went brown first - what caused it? The type of apple or the fact that they were indoors (and maybe warmer/drier?). With a fair test, you keep everything the same except for the thing you're testing. Here it's the type of apple under investigation, so they need to keep everything else the same. By the way, how long is a break-time - is there a standard length at any school?!
---- OR ----

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