Designing a Scientific Study

“Designing a Scientific Study” is a lesson plan created by 2000 HOST Teacher Deanna Smith-Turnage


  • To define a question, then undertake a scientific study to answer the question.

Location and Time


Time requiredInitial set-up time is approximately 1 hour

Teacher Preparation

Before the project, spend some class time reviewing the scientific process.  What is supposed to happen during this process?  What are some assumptions we make in using this process?  


  1. Define a question to explore. This question is usually general in nature.
  2. From the question, derive a hypothesis that is more specific.
  3. Once you have derived an hypothesis, design an experiment to answer your question.
  4. Use all resources at your disposal to design your experiment: read books, ask questions, explore the web.
  5. Predict the outcome. Talk about what you expect will happen in the experiment and why. Try to reach a consensus in your prediction, then write it down. Explain why you think that this is what will happen or why you disagree with other suggestions being proposed.
  6. Collect materials needed for the experiment. Figure out everything you need to do the experiment.
  7. Conduct the experiment. Start a journal. Record the date and the way in which you set up the experiment. Record all data and changes that occur. Determine if you need to create charts or forms for systematic recording of data.
  8. Interpret the results. When the experiment is completed, review your data and interpret it. What does it mean? Did your observations match your predictions? Was your initial prediction valid, or would you change it now? If not, why? How do you explain your observation?


  1. Students will hand in an experiment design report.
  2. Students will write an interpretation of the results.

Teacher Materials

  • pen/pencil
  • notepad