May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Introduction to the Scientific Method Lesson Plan

Posted: Saturday, September 1st, 2012

by Jeff Orlinsky

It is the start of a new year and you are looking for new way to start your class.  How about introducing the scientific method with this simple experiment? Your students will investigate how increasing salt solutions affect seed germination, and the results can be used to make connections to different topics in your class.

Grades: 7th – 12th Grade
Subjects: Biology / Life Sciences, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, English-Language Arts, Investigation and Experimentation, Life Sciences. Although this lesson would work in any science class, it is intended for a life science class.
Topics: Germination, salinization; Extensions:  osmosis, Human influences on the environment, plant growth.

Duration: 20 min Prep + 1 hour Activity + 1 hour Post

Setting: Classroom

Salt Lab Handout

Soil Salinization article

Materials

Zip-loc bags, paper towels

NaCl concentrations  – 0, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0 grams/100 mL H2O

Distilled water

Graduated cylinders, 25 mL

Seeds, i.e. radish, lettuce

Activity:

Introduce the topic of salinization of soils: soils and water contain minute quantities of dissolved minerals, and repeated watering and drying out of the soil increases the concentration of these minerals in the soil.  This is known as soil salinization.  Have students read the article, or parts of the article.

Preparation:  you can make the salt solutions ahead of time, or you can have the students make the salt solutions.  I have the students prepare the solutions, as this is my way of introducing metric systems and developing good measuring skills.  I group the students to lower my cost, and each group runs the control (no salt) plus one variable (salt solution).

Have the students place 10 seeds on a paper towel, fold the towel, and place it into a Ziploc bag. Next, the students add the solution to the Ziploc bag and close it securely.
Check the bags daily, and after the 4th day count the number of seeds that have germinated.

Have each group determine the percent of seeds that have germinated, and collect the data from the class, averaging counts where the different solutions were duplicated. In addition, have the students graph their data. In most cases, the results are very clear.  As part of the conclusion, have the students predict why the salt may be affecting the seed germination.

Throughout the year, I have my students return to this experiment, and I incorporate this experiment’s results into my lessons. For example, in my lessons on membranes and osmosis, I ask the students to review and update their conclusions.

Written by Jeff Orlinsky

Jeff Orlinsky

Jeff Orlinsky teaches science at Warren High School and is CSTA’s High School Director.

5 Responses

  1. What a great idea for a lab. I think I will use this in my ecology unit!

  2. I really like this lab too! It seems that the links for the handout and article are no longer active, any chance you could email them to me or repost them? Thanks so much!

  3. Thank you for your comment Connor, I have updated the links!.

  4. […] September’s e-CCS, I introduced a lab about salinization and seed germination and one of the concepts illustrated was […]

  5. […] Lab Activity: How Salt Affects Seed Germination […]

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LATEST POST

Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

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On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

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To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the NGSS Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

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Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.