This easy to use lesson encourages students to work collaboratively to explore their background knowledge about of characteristics scientific variables and hypotheses. This can work as an engage or explore activity in the 5E model or as a formative assessment for NGSS: SEP Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
In this set students are challenged to figure out statements or questions best fit into five categories: research question, hypothesis, manipulated variable, responding variable, and controlled variable.
I’ve included independent variable and dependent variable cards because I know that different textbooks used different terms for the variables. I include both in my decks because I want my students to have that flexibility in their vocabulary.
Card Sort 3 versions
- Full Color 48 cards, 6 to a page (8 pages) (PDF)
- Black and White Cards 48 cards, 6 to a page (8 pages) (PDF)
- Black and White Cards Mini Cards 48 cards, 12 to a page (4 pages) (PDF)
Modifications for lower students
Option A: Students can be given a deck with only four categories (hypothesis, manipulated variable, responding variable, and controlled variable) to sort, They can be given fewer sets of experiments to sort.
Option B: Print out the extra small cards (12 on a page) for them to cut and glue onto large construction paper
Modifications for higher students
Option A: Have students sort with the additional controlled variables for each experiment. This makes determining the variables a bit harder because it is harder to use the process of elimination to determine which one goes in each place.
Option B: Have students brainstorm additional controlled variables needed for each experiment’s design. Most experiments have many controlled variables to consider to show that the manipulated and responding variables are in a cause an effect relationship.