Using the Scientific Method, Outdoors!

Program Length, Season and Appropriate Grade Levels

  • This program lasts 8-9 hours, spread out over two complete school days. (Consecutive day sessions are best, but visits can be separated by as much as a week.)
  • Time for on-site lunch each day is included.
  • The program is offered year–round.
  • Appropriate for Grade Levels 4 - 8.

Program Description and Activities

Participants in this inquiry-based program put the scientific process into practice. In a naturalist-facilitated team effort, students develop, direct, and do their own outdoor science investigation of a local plant or animal in its natural habitat.

We begin the experience with an exploration of various habitats where participants are encouraged to observe the activities of plants and animals around them. These obsevations will provide the starting point for a series of group discovery activities following the Activity Model of Scientific Inquiry.

Applying this model often means moving back and forth through the following activities:

  • Asking questions about observations.
  • Forming a question based on your observations.
  • Articulating an expectation to your question. (hypothesis)
  • Carrying out a study. (gather data)
  • Examining results of your study.
  • Reflecting on the findings of your data.
  • Communicating with others what you have found.

State of Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCEs) and High School Content Expectations (HSCEs) Applicable to this Program

The Environmental Interpretive Center’s educational programs provide environmental information, hands–on experiences, and inquiry challenges for Michigan students in line with Michigan’s Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCEs). Teachers can find a link below to content standards, statements, and grade level expectations applicable to the program "Using the Scientific Method, Outdoors! "