Lesson Plans > Module 2 > Lesson 2:

Learning to Conduct a Scientific Investigation: Developing Scientific Questions
(Field Trip Preparation)

Prep time: 15 minutes   Class time: 2 periods


In preparation for the field trip, the students need to understand how to conduct a scientific investigation. The emphasis of this lesson is how to develop scientific questions and how these questions guide scientific investigations.

Learning Goals

The student will be able to:

  1. Know that scientists ask questions and use them to guide their investigation.


Misconceptions to tackle

  1. Scientists ask questions but students do not understand the role of those questions in guiding investigations.



This lesson fits into the organized set of nature of science and scientific inquiry module 1 lessons designed to explicitly cover the tenets of the nature of science, as described in the state and national standards, as well as the practice of science.


Day 1

  • Discuss scientific questioning and using background research to develop questions.
  • Discuss gathering data and its role in answering scientific questions.
  • Discuss how observations are forms of data.
  • Introduce the Habitat Tracker website.
  • Divide students into groups by habitats (10 habitats available).
  • Hand out the appropriate readings of each habitat to the groups or have students navigate to readings for their assigned habitats on the Habitat Tracker website (located on the left hand menu bar for each habitat under “Readings”), allowing students to conduct background research on the animals.
  • STUDENTS classwork: read about habitats (hand outs or online readings), watch videos, etc. from website.
  • Look at data gathered by others on the Habitat Tracker website.
  • Use analysis tool to see what other students have observed.
  • STUDENTS: Think about questions that they want to ask. What kinds of questions can be answered using the data? Which questions cannot be answered using the data?
  • Introduce the Habitat Tracker iPad Application.
  • Each group should develop and write down a scientific question they want to gather data for on the field trip experience.

Example Questions

Day 2

  • Allow 10 minutes to finalize each group’s scientific question they developed for their fieldtrip
  • TEACHER: Have students turn in the questions and read over them taking time to discuss with each group any issues with their question, etc.
  • STUDENTS: While teacher is meeting with groups about their questions, write in the Habitat Tracker journal on the website addressing the following information:
    1. What they learned about their animal from the readings
    2. The question they developed
    3. What they expect to accomplish at the museum field trip
    4. What they hope to learn from gathering data during the field trip
  • Discuss any last minute reminders about the field trip.


  • Journal Entry
  • Completed Questions

Exit Ticket

Have students answer “What is the role of questions to a scientist?”

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