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Carrying Out Your Investigations 1

In this worksheet, students will be looking at various aspects of carrying out investigations in order to concolidate their understanding of how to plan and run investigations and experiments.

'Carrying Out Your Investigations 1' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Exam-Style Questions: SATs Science

Curriculum subtopic:   Exam-Style Questions: Carrying Out

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

By now you'll know that the team at EdPlace are working hard to help you become Ace Investigators.

 

Investigator

 

No - not that sort of investigator! 

 

A Scientific Investigator!

 

So now you know how to plan an investigation properly, and you'll understand that the success of your experiment is down to how well you planned it.

 

So, here we are at the "Carrying Out" stage!  It's fun to get stuck into, but a potential for disaster if it hasn't been thought through and planned properly.

 

In this first activity, we're going to look at different aspects of how to carry out your investigations, the good and the bad, what works and what doesn't.

 

So, Ace Scientific Investigators... let's crack on with the fun stuff!

Mrs. Bates's class has been looking at where creepy-crawlies (that's ARTHROPODS, to you and me!) like to live. 

 

They've found woodlice living under rocks and also under a pile of logs.

 

Woodlouse

 

Here's a typical British woodlouse.

 

The class has come up with the idea that woodlice prefer dark and damp conditions and they want to test this idea out.

 

The proper scientific word for an idea that you want to test is a -Y----E---. 

 

Fill in your answer in the box.

 

With Mrs. Bates's help, the class has made a plan to try to find out what sort of conditions woodlice prefer:

 

LIGHT or DARK          DRY or DAMP

 

The young scientists will be divided into four groups, each group testing one of the above pair of choices.

 

Eva says it's not fair as she wanted in the same group as Misha. 

Does that mean that this investigation is not a Fair Test?

 

YES - it's unfair as Eva should be in Misha's group.

NO - it's unfair as the groups will have different numbers of students.

NO - a fair test is about changing one variable and keeping the others the same

The plan that the class decided on for investigating whether woodlice prefer light or dark conditions goes like this:

 

- Place 5 woodlice in a clear plastic dish and put the lid on.
- Cover one half of the dish with black paper.
- Shine a light on to the dish.
- Start the timer.
- Every minute count how many woodlice you can see
- After 10 minutes, stop.

 

Here is a list of the equipment that Josh's group wrote down.

 

Clear plastic dish
Lid
Black paper
Light
Timer
Pencil
Recording sheet

 

What have they missed out?

 

Similarly, for those looking at whether woodlice prefer damp or dry conditions, the instructions go like this:

 

- Place some damp paper towel in the bottom of a clear plastic dish so that it covers half the dish.
- Place 5 woodlice into the dish.
- Put the lid on.
- Start the timer.
- Every minute count how many woodlice you can see in each half of the dish.
- After 10 minutes, stop.

 

 

Amelia's group decided on this list of equipment:

 

Timer
Lamp
Clear plastic dish
Lid
Paper towel
Water
5 Woodlice
Pencil
Paper

 

What have they included in the list that they don't need?

 

Before they got cracking with their investigation, Olivia put her hand up and asked Mrs. Bates, "Wouldn't it be better to have 10 woodlice and time them for 30 minutes?"

 

Hand up

 

Mrs. Bates agreed with Olivia that, scientifically-speaking, it would be better. 

Which of the following reasons do you think make it more sensible to use 5 woodlice and time them for 10 minutes?

The woodlice might die if left for too long.

The plastic dish might melt under the hot lamp.

The young scientists would get bored.

The woodlice would probably settle in one place after 10 minutes.

Different groups mean more results anyway.

It's wrong to put more woodlice under stress for longer than necessary.

Here's a reminder of the Dark/Light groups' instructions:

 

  1. Place 5 woodlice in a clear plastic dish and put the lid on.
  2. Cover one half of the dish with black paper.
  3. Shine a light on to the dish.
  4. Start the timer.
  5. Every minute count how many woodlice you can see.
  6. After 10 minutes, stop.

 

As soon as Craig's group started their timer, they spotted a problem: "How can we tell how many woodlice are in the dark under the black paper - we can't see them any more!"

 

The answer's obvious, isn't it? 

After one minute they could see 2 woodlice in the light side of the dish. 

How many were in the dark?

These Dark/Light groups' plans involved shining a light on to a dish of woodlice to create regions of bright light and darkness. 

 

However, the light may create another change that the group weren't expecting that could affect the woodlice.

 

Can you think what it might be?

 

The light will be too bright.

The dish may get hot.

It's a different type of light to normal sunlight.

The light will reflect off the lid of the dish.

Laura's group was one of the groups studying whether woodlice preferred damp or dry conditions.

 

Once they had started the timer, some of the woodlice disappeared under the damp paper towel. 

 

Why might this make the test unfair?

It's too damp under the paper.

They can no longer be seen and counted.

They're in the dark.

It's cooler underneath the paper.

After the 10 minutes were up, the group with Craig in had these results:

 

MINUTES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
NO. OF WOODLICE IN LIGHT 2 3 2 1 1 0 1 0 0 0
NO. OF WOODLICE IN DARK 4 1 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5

 

The group have made mistakes in four of their results. 

 

Can you spot which 'minutes' have mistakes in?

 

1/2/3/4

1/2/4/5

1/2/4/6

2/4/5/6

At the end of this investigation, before the class deal with their results, what do you recommend they do?

 

Ask to go to the toilet.

Put all their equipment away.

Release the woodlice where they were collected.

Go back to their seats in class.

  • Question 1

Mrs. Bates's class has been looking at where creepy-crawlies (that's ARTHROPODS, to you and me!) like to live. 

 

They've found woodlice living under rocks and also under a pile of logs.

 

Woodlouse

 

Here's a typical British woodlouse.

 

The class has come up with the idea that woodlice prefer dark and damp conditions and they want to test this idea out.

 

The proper scientific word for an idea that you want to test is a -Y----E---. 

 

Fill in your answer in the box.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Hypothesis
EDDIE SAYS
We carry out an experiment or investigation in order to answer a question. You may have noticed that you feel happier on sunny days, so you might have an idea that it's the extra light that's making you feel better about your day. It's only an idea, but it's the HYPOTHESIS that you start with in your investigation. OK?
  • Question 2

With Mrs. Bates's help, the class has made a plan to try to find out what sort of conditions woodlice prefer:

 

LIGHT or DARK          DRY or DAMP

 

The young scientists will be divided into four groups, each group testing one of the above pair of choices.

 

Eva says it's not fair as she wanted in the same group as Misha. 

Does that mean that this investigation is not a Fair Test?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
NO - a fair test is about changing one variable and keeping the others the same
EDDIE SAYS
The correct answer is that a Fair Test makes sure that only ONE of the variables is changed that affect the investigation, keeping the others the same. Let's say that you thought seedlings grew better in the warm than in the cold. Then you put one dish of seedlings in the fridge (cold) and another dish on the windowsill above the radiator (warm). Can you spot a problem? It's not a fair test as the cold dish is in the dark and the warm dish is in the light. If the seedlings grew differently, was it temperature or light that caused it? You won't know.
  • Question 3

The plan that the class decided on for investigating whether woodlice prefer light or dark conditions goes like this:

 

- Place 5 woodlice in a clear plastic dish and put the lid on.
- Cover one half of the dish with black paper.
- Shine a light on to the dish.
- Start the timer.
- Every minute count how many woodlice you can see
- After 10 minutes, stop.

 

Here is a list of the equipment that Josh's group wrote down.

 

Clear plastic dish
Lid
Black paper
Light
Timer
Pencil
Recording sheet

 

What have they missed out?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
woodlouse
woodlice
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get that? They can't very well do an investigation into woodlice preferences without any ... woodlice!
  • Question 4

Similarly, for those looking at whether woodlice prefer damp or dry conditions, the instructions go like this:

 

- Place some damp paper towel in the bottom of a clear plastic dish so that it covers half the dish.
- Place 5 woodlice into the dish.
- Put the lid on.
- Start the timer.
- Every minute count how many woodlice you can see in each half of the dish.
- After 10 minutes, stop.

 

 

Amelia's group decided on this list of equipment:

 

Timer
Lamp
Clear plastic dish
Lid
Paper towel
Water
5 Woodlice
Pencil
Paper

 

What have they included in the list that they don't need?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
lamp
light
EDDIE SAYS
Since they are testing whether woodlice prefer it to be dry or damp, a lamp to shine on the dish is unnecessary.
  • Question 5

Before they got cracking with their investigation, Olivia put her hand up and asked Mrs. Bates, "Wouldn't it be better to have 10 woodlice and time them for 30 minutes?"

 

Hand up

 

Mrs. Bates agreed with Olivia that, scientifically-speaking, it would be better. 

Which of the following reasons do you think make it more sensible to use 5 woodlice and time them for 10 minutes?

CORRECT ANSWER
The woodlice might die if left for too long.
The young scientists would get bored.
The woodlice would probably settle in one place after 10 minutes.
Different groups mean more results anyway.
It's wrong to put more woodlice under stress for longer than necessary.
EDDIE SAYS
That needs some thinking about! They're all possible, although it's unlikely that the class would be allowed a lamp that's hot enough to melt plastic! In science, more data = better answers. However, in school science classes, it's easy to get bored if things go on too long, so more groups pooling their results give more data anyway. It's also true that when we take living organisms out of their natural habitat, we should not keep them under stressful conditions for longer than necessary. Make sense?
  • Question 6

Here's a reminder of the Dark/Light groups' instructions:

 

  1. Place 5 woodlice in a clear plastic dish and put the lid on.
  2. Cover one half of the dish with black paper.
  3. Shine a light on to the dish.
  4. Start the timer.
  5. Every minute count how many woodlice you can see.
  6. After 10 minutes, stop.

 

As soon as Craig's group started their timer, they spotted a problem: "How can we tell how many woodlice are in the dark under the black paper - we can't see them any more!"

 

The answer's obvious, isn't it? 

After one minute they could see 2 woodlice in the light side of the dish. 

How many were in the dark?

CORRECT ANSWER
3
three
EDDIE SAYS
Sometimes, people can miss the obvious! 5 woodlice started the experiment. 2 are in the light, so that means 3 are in the dark.
  • Question 7

These Dark/Light groups' plans involved shining a light on to a dish of woodlice to create regions of bright light and darkness. 

 

However, the light may create another change that the group weren't expecting that could affect the woodlice.

 

Can you think what it might be?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The dish may get hot.
EDDIE SAYS
The problem here is to do with keeping the test 'fair' - that is, changing only one variable (light/dark). If the lamp makes the light side warmer, that may affect how the woodlice behave. It's possible that the light is too bright and it'll certainly be different to daylight, but it's how it affects each woodlouse's decision of where to go that's important. Phew - that needed some thought!
  • Question 8

Laura's group was one of the groups studying whether woodlice preferred damp or dry conditions.

 

Once they had started the timer, some of the woodlice disappeared under the damp paper towel. 

 

Why might this make the test unfair?

CORRECT ANSWER
They're in the dark.
EDDIE SAYS
Whilst any of these MIGHT be true, the factor that could muck up their data is the fact that underneath the paper towel the woodlice will be in darkness. What caused them to be there - the fact that it was damp or the fact that it was dark? Investigations are rarely as simple as you expect them to be. "Expect the Unexpected!"
  • Question 9

After the 10 minutes were up, the group with Craig in had these results:

 

MINUTES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
NO. OF WOODLICE IN LIGHT 2 3 2 1 1 0 1 0 0 0
NO. OF WOODLICE IN DARK 4 1 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5

 

The group have made mistakes in four of their results. 

 

Can you spot which 'minutes' have mistakes in?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
1/2/4/6
EDDIE SAYS
It's easy to make mistakes, but you'd think they would have spotted this, wouldn't you? They have 5 woodlice to keep track of, so all their boxes must add up to 5 every minute. Boxes 2/4/6 have only 4 woodlice in and box 1 has 6 woodlice! Mrs. Bates won't be impressed.
  • Question 10

At the end of this investigation, before the class deal with their results, what do you recommend they do?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Release the woodlice where they were collected.
EDDIE SAYS
All of these seem perfectly sensible suggestions. But remember, the class have been dealing with living creatures; their welfare is our responsibility. The first thing they should do is to put them back into their natural habitat, away from the stressful 'test' conditions they've been under. Hope they said "thank you " to the woodlice for being so helpful!
---- OR ----

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