At the end of last year, we started a unit on Experimental Design. Students had to “save fred” a gummy worm from drowning by only using paperclips. Students had to write down their procedure and then have another group try and follow it word for word. After a few attempts and notes from peers, students created a final copy of their procedure.
As we started this school year, we reviewed what went on with “fred” and continued our unit. We next learned about a disease called Pellagra. We learned about how Dr. Goldberger created an experiement to test for the disease. We discussed the implications of testing on humans and the ethics of his experiment. As we continued our unit, the teacher created an experiment for students to try on their own that mimiced having a “headache” by drinking a certain kind of lemonade. What the students didn’t know what that there was a placebo involved. Results and discussions that followed were rich and varied. It was decided that we would perform the same experiment on the rest of the school. We got different and varied results that elicited even more rich discussion. This has been a great unit that the students have really enjoyed participating in.