Energy, Matter, and Organization: Writing a Scientific Conclusion – Day 1

Welcome to second semester!  It was nice to see everyone, and I look forward to a second half of the year equally as full of learning as the first half.  Today we turned our sights to the Conclusion section of a scientific lab report.  Writing a conclusion statement requires higher-level analysis and is a skill all students should master.  Additionally, the Biology End-of-Course Exam will test the ability of students to write a scientific conclusion statement.

After starting off the lesson with a nuts-and-bolts slide, students read through a fictional scientific experiment case study.  I had the opportunity to read through student lab reports from the Baggie Garden experiment this weekend, and there were a few common recurring items that required addressing.  The case study was written to include the following:

  • An incorrectly written research question
  • A hypothesis statement not directly connected with the research question
  • Many clearly defined controlled variables
  • A graph with data that conflicts with students’ experience from class

After reading through the case study, students publicly identified the research question (bottom of page 1), the hypothesis (first paragraph of page 2), and the experimental variables (manipulated, responding, and at least three controlled).  We will continue our work tomorrow, with students using their learning to write a conclusion statement.