Lesson 02: Scientific Method

Sturgeon Lesson Plan #2

Lesson Title: Annual Data Analysis of the Lake Sturgeon


This activity is designed to engage students in the process of science (scientific method) using raw data from the Lake Sturgeon Research website.  Students will develop a hypothesis, prediction, use existing data to answer support, or refute their hypothesis or if the data is inconclusive in regards to their hypothesis.


Students will be able to develop questions based on observations they made.
Students will be able to write a hypothesis as a statement that answers a question or offers an explanation for an observed phenomenon.
Students will be able to make a prediction (the results if the hypothesis is supported) based on their hypothesis.
Students will be able to identify and explain data that; supports their hypothesis, refutes their hypothesis, is inconclusive regarding their hypothesis.

Subjects: Biology or Life Science

Grade Level(s): 7-12

Content Standards:

B1.1D Identify patterns in data and relate them to theoretical models.

B1.1E Describe a reason for a given conclusion using evidence from an investigation.

B1.1f Predict what would happen if the variables, methods, or timing of an investigation were changed.

B1.1h Design and conduct a systematic scientific investigation that tests a hypothesis. Draw conclusions from data presented in charts or tables.


Materials/What you Will Need:

  • USFW Sturgeon (Bowen) Presentation and Michigan Natural Features Inventory of the Lake Sturgeon
  • Process of Science PP and/or additional background on the process of Science from the Understanding Science Website, www.understandingscience.org
  • Process of Science Worksheet
  • Data sets to be determined by the teacher.  Options: Lesson 5 Adult Lake Sturgeon Growth. Lesson 6 Adult Lake Sturgeon Capture Data.  Lesson 8 Spawning Site Transect Data.  Other data sets


Video may require Adobe Flash Player

General information about the Lake Sturgeon from the USFW Sturgeon (Bowen) Presentation and Michigan Natural Features Inventory of the Lake Sturgeon
Process of Science information PowerPoint and Understanding Science website


  1. Discuss the process of science with students as a review.  If this is an introduction to the process of science it is recommended that you use a short video from arklive.org.
  2. Give students a limited amount of time (10 minutes or less) to look at the teacher selected date and record questions they have on their process of science worksheet.
  3. Have students complete the worksheet with a partner.  They may need additional time to check information in the data set.
  4. Compile a list of questions on the whiteboard and give the students a few minutes to choose the question they’d like to pursue, while the teacher eliminates questions that time or the data will not support.
  5. Assign questions from the list to be answered by pairs of students or allow students to choose their own question and groups.
  6. Each group will need a process of science worksheet to guide the development of a hypothesis and prediction for their question.
  7. Allow time for students to analyze and compile data for their hypothesis.

Students present their initial question, hypothesis, data, additional questions that arose and conclusion for peer review and discussion.  The teacher should keep a running list of the additional question that arose during the analysis.  This is a good reminder of the circular nature of science.

Extended Learning Opportunities:

The process of science exercise can and should be repeated multiple times using different data sets or other phenomenon (video).

Assessment and Evaluation:

Lesson Sources:

Sturgeon Research, Understanding Science Website.

Data Sources:

Data sets to be determined by the teacher.  Options:
Adult Lake Sturgeon Growth
Adult Lake Sturgeon Capture Data
Spawning Site Transect Data

Supporting Resources:

Background – www.understandingscience.org
Student Handouts – Process of Science Worksheet
USFW Sturgeon (Bowen) Presentation (PDF)
Michigan Natural Features Inventory of the Lake Sturgeon (PDF)
Process of Science PowerPoint