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Scientific Inquiry Work Sample Preparation

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Keywords: Waves, science
Subject(s): Science, Physics
Grades 9 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Oregon Outreach, Inc, Portland, OR
Planned By: Katie Carpenter
Original Author: Jennifer Kyle, Portland
Materials needed:
Document camera
Wavesurfer software
Excel software
Word software
Slide whistles

Lesson Objectives:
Promote scientific inquiry by helping students design and carry out a laboratory experiment to determine how pitch and frequency are related.

Begin by showing the students the Oregon Department of Education Scientific Inquiry rubric and anchor paper with the document camera. Highlight the skills they will need to be proficient on their scientific inquiry work sample.

Open up Wavesurfer on the computer and give a basic tutorial of the skills they will need to calculate frequency of waves. By downloading some pure tones at different frequencies, show the students how to count 10 waveforms and determine how much time elapses during 10 waveforms. Open up Excel and create a spreadsheet to enter in the amount of time it takes for 10 waveforms then make a cell dividing that by 10 to determine the amount of time for 1 waveform. To determine frequency, take 1 and divide it by the amount of time it took to make 1 waveform. This shows students how to calculate the frequency of the wave after they have listened to the pitch. They can then infer that a higher pitch will have a higher frequency.

After this demonstration, the students can go to individual computers or take turns on the laptop to record the sound that comes from a slide whistle. The students should start out either with the slide all the way down the whistle or all the way up the whistle. This can be their baseline. Then the students should experiment with the length of the whistle, determining what length gives either a high or low frequency and pitch. They can then record their data in an Excel data table. After they have finished the experiment, they will do an inquiry write up that consists of problem, background, materials, procedure, data and analysis, and a conclusion. They will then revise their drafts and turn in the papers.

I will close the lesson debriefing what they have discovered. They can present their findings to the class for discussion. The students will be graded off the Oregon Department of Educationís scientific inquiry rubric.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Writing will be edited and graded on their lab report.
Discuss the lab findings with the students and have them see what the other students have found out in their research.
Materials: Mobile Labs, Word Processor, Spreadsheet
Other Items: 1 Document Camera, $500.00 each, total of $500.00
1 Projector, $2000.00 each, total of $2000.00
6 Laptops, $500.00 each, total of $3000.00