Classroom Activity: Experimental Design in Google Slides

When teaching the scientific method and experimental design to high school students, one of my favorite activities is one in which they work in groups to create a simple controlled experiment on a single slide. The instructions are simple – they have to create an experiment using images only, and it can address any question they want (scientific or non-scientific – they get really creative!). They present the slide to the class, and the class has to determine the question, hypothesis, control/experimental groups, independent/dependent variables, and 3 constants. Students are graded based on the ease with which we can determine the various experimental design elements from the slide.

Here are two examples that I created as models:

Plant Water Experimental Design

Zika Mosquitos Experimental Design

I use Google Slides for this since it is super easy for them to import Creative Commons licensed images using the “Insert Image” button and the search box that comes up, and it syncs nicely with Google Classroom. Students have a lot of fun coming up with questions and trying to find good images, and I circulate and critique their experiments as they work through the activity. Some examples of experimental questions that students have come up with include:

  • Effect of perfume application on the Beast’s love for Belle
  • Effect of car speed on the likelihood that Harambe will crash a sports car on an icy road
  • Effect of lemonade consumption on how much an audience will enjoy a performance by Lemonade Mouth

The links below provide the Google Slide template that I post on Google Classroom, the instructions for the activity, and the rubric I use to grade them. Enjoy!

Experimental Design in Google Slides – Activity Instructions

Experimental Design in Google Slides – Template Slide With Sample Experiments

Experimental Design in Google Slides – Rubric




About Peter Larson


I'm a recovering academic, current high school biology/zoology teacher, blogger, and science geek with diverse interests (and experience) in the areas of zoology, anatomy, evolutionary biology, developmental biology, and exercise science. I made the fairly unusual jump from higher ed (10 years, including tenure, as a college biology professor) to teaching high school biology at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy in Northwood, NH. In addition to being a dedicated teacher, I'm also an avid distance runner - I write about running at Runblogger.com. You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.