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Scientific Method and Principles
Unit Plan

Suggested Academic Level: 11-12th grade regular track, honors track, or 100-level college course

Anticipated Time Required: 10 class periods or about 450 minutes, including unit test.

Previous Unit: Introduction to Environmental Science

Next Unit: Species and Populations Interactions

Vocabulary: Environmental science, interdisciplinary, renewable resources, nonrenewable resources, pollution, biodegradable, nondegradable, biodiversity, environmental ethics, anthropocentrist, pragmatic resource conservationist, aesthetic nature preservationist, Tragedy of the Commons, developed countries, developing countries, ecological footprint, sustainability.

Objectives:

  1. Differentiate between science and pseudoscience.
  2. Apply questions from Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit to examples of pseudoscience.
  3. Explain each of the steps of the scientific method.
  4. Define the parts of a controlled experiment.
  5. Identify the variable, control group, and experimental group in a given experiment.
  6. Create a bar graph, line graph, or pie graph when presented with a data set. 
  7. Explain how bias is minimized research with blind and double-blind studies.
  8. Identify and label the parts of an atom.
  9. Explain the use of the pH scale in measuring acids and bases.
Lesson Title Description Time Resources
Introduction

Discuss Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit. 

Show video clip from Skeptic Magazine.

Apply to the example of the Nirubu collision theory.
25 minutes

Powerpoint Lecture

Michael Shermer Baloney Detection Kit Video Clip

Journal Writing Prompt on Nibiru (Planet X)
Pseudoscience vs.
True Science

Explain the concept of pseudoscience.  Discuss multiple examples. 

Show the “Eyes of Nye” episode on Pseudoscience.
35 minutes

Eyes of Nye – Pseudoscience DVD and Worksheet

Scientific Method

Explain the steps of the scientific method. Define each of the parts of an experiment.

Complete the “Spontaneous Generation and the Scientific Method” worksheet set.

Show the “Who Gets Wetter?” segment from first episode of the first season of Mythbusters.
75 minutes

Spontaneous Generation and the Scientific Method Worksheet

Mythbusters Season 1 DVD

Mythbusters: Who Gets Wetter? Worksheet
Data Collection Complete the data collection activity worksheet. 30 minutes

Data Analysis and Graphing Worksheet

Minimizing Bias in Scientific Design

Define bias.  Explain different experimental designs that seek to minimize bias.

Show the Nova episode entitled “Secrets of the Psychics”.  Students complete worksheet to accompany video.
60 minutes

Nova Secrets of the Psychics Video and Worksheet

Basic Chemistry

Explain the concept of the atom as the basic building block of matter.  Define each of the parts of an atom. 

Show the Bill Nye the Science Guy episode on Atoms. 

Complete the Chemthink online tutorial and question set on the Particulate Nature of Matter.
60 minutes

Bill Nye Atoms Video

Chemthink Particulate Nature of Matter Worksheet
Acids, Bases, and pH

Define acids and bases as measured by the pH scale.

Students complete the acid rain and pH visualization lab.
60 minutes Acid Rain and pH Visualization Lab
Chapter Review Students work on and review for the upcoming exam using the study guide. 30 minutes Study Guide


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