Lesson Plan: Oh My Gourd! Science Investigation

This lesson was originally create as a quest on Classcraft for my students (see our review here!). That is why the instructions are worded so that they sound a bit like an adventure. I am using this as a Grade 6 Classification Project, in our Biodiversity unit.

Curriculum Connections: Science

2. investigate the characteristics of living things, and classify diverse organisms according to specific characteristics

2.3 use scientific inquiry/research skills to compare the characteristics of organisms within the plant or animal kingdoms

2.4 use appropriate science vocabulary including classification, biodiversity, characteristics

For this project you will need: 

3 different gourds per group (I bought little ones)

Sticker labels

Measuring tapes

Scales

boxes (to hide samples)

I set up the room with the samples and the tools at the front. Then I had my students log into the quest and begin.

Introduction: You and your fellow colleagues have come across some wild flora growing in the woods by your laboratory. You decide to collect 3 different samples and head back to classify these growths and determine what they are.

Step One: You must collect at least three samples for your scientific study to be valid. ONE REPRESENTATIVE from your team must head into the woods (go see Ms. McIver) and collect three samples to investigate. Once you have your samples, as a group come up with ONE HYPOTHESIS about the classification of your samples (what are they?) with justification for your thinking.

Step Two: Before you can classify the vegetation that your representative gathered, you must collect data about each sample. Label your samples with your team name and sample number. See Ms. McIver for labels

Create ONE chart for your group.

It must include a space for data about each sample (Sample #1, Sample #2, Sample #3).

You must record:

– colour and appearance

– texture

-weight

– size/other measurements

YOU SHOULD INCLUDE ANY OTHER DATA YOU CAN THINK TO RECORD (exceeding expectations).

The introduction, Steps One and Two took 40 minutes. Here are some pictures of my students in action:

Step Three: Now that you have collected preliminary data about the flora, you must do research to categorize them, according to the Taxonomic Classifications of these types of vegetation. You must use RELIABLE sources to build ONE classification chart for your group. You must include ALL levels of the Taxonomic Classifications and where your samples fit.

Step Four: Now that you have located your samples in their Taxonomic Classifications and discovered what their scientific names are; you must compare and contrast your three samples. You must create ONE chart for your group to compare the similarities and differences of each of your samples. You must decide the most effective way to communicate the information you have found. How closely are your samples related? How different are they? What do their plants look like?

Step Four and Five take about 80 minutes. 

Step Six: Now that you have collected data, completed research and made some conclusions – you must share your findings with your scientific community! You must complete ONE REPORT for your group’s findings. You must format it as a Scientific Report, using formal language and including:

Title Page with group names

Hypothesis

Descriptions/Pictures of Samples

Data Collected

Taxonomic Classifications

Compare and Contrast

Your Conclusions from your Investigation

Bibliography

My students were given some class time to work on this, otherwise they had to finish it on their own time. They to follow our expectations for the Scientific Method and Scientific Reports. They were marked on our Scientific Method Rubric. 

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