Top tips: Big Question activities
Working together to plan an investigation will really get your class thinking like scientists!
How long does it take for a leaf to rot? Is an example of a The Big Question activity
How to run Big Question activities
Planning an investigation will really get your class thinking like scientists. Explain that you will be working as a class to answer a big question. Present it to the class. Ask what the pupils already know, or think they know, about the question you’ve presented. Here’s an example from the activity How long does it take for a leaf to rot?
Discuss as a class the different ways you can approach the question. To help the class break down the question, here are some prompts:
- Does it matter where the leaf has fallen?
- Do animals affect how long it takes a leaf to rot?
- How will temperature affect how long it takes a leaf to rot?
- Does the type of leaf matter or the tree that the leaf comes from?
How will they – as a group – explore the question? Prompt pupils to explain their ideas, qualify them with what they already know and refine them based on views expressed by other people. Which type of scientific enquiry would lend itself best to the investigation:
- Observation over time
- Pattern seeking
- Identifying, classifying and grouping
- Comparative and fair testing
- Research using secondary sources
Ask the class to imagine they had to present their investigation at your school assembly or to their family, how would they show their action plan? Discuss as a class the various ways this could work. Why not let the pupils carry out their investigation?
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