Teaching the Scientific Method and Experimental Design: Notes, Activities, Worksheets, Labs

Plant Water Experimental DesignI have mixed feelings about teaching the scientific method as it is traditionally presented. Though I see value in using it as a model for how science is done, too often it is presented as a rigid set of steps that must be followed in order. The reality is that, in practice, scientists rarely follow the scientific method step by step. Rather, the steps might be shuffled, and some might be skipped or omitted. Some science is merely observational – describing patterns found in nature, and might not even involve a true hypothesis.

All this being said, I still do start each year with a unit on the scientific and experimental design. I find the latter to be particularly important, and most of my time is spent on teaching students about how to design experiments, how to analyze data, etc. Below are some of the materials I have used in my classes:

Notes: Scientific Method Notes Teacher Version | Scientific Method Student Guided Notes

Slides: Scientific Method and Experimental Design

Experimental Design Practice Worksheet

Experimental Design in Google Slides Activity

Inquiry Lab: Water Flea Cardiovascular Physiology – coming soon!

Fatigue and Heart Rate Experimental Design Lab

Kahoot! – Scientific Method and Experimental Design

Quizlet – Scientific Method and Experimental Design Terms

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+.