Icky Sticky Science Investigation- teaching the scientific method start to finish with litter
September 16, 2023 10am
The scientific method is a required part of TEKS curriculum, but coming up with creative ways to conduct experiments can be difficult. This workshop will walk teachers through our TEKS aligned lesson plan from start to finish, challenging your class to examine a real-world problem using Study, Track, remOve and Prevent (STOP) surveys! STOP is a survey method to gather data on types and abundance of litter. STOP consists of measuring a 100 ft (or less) line/transect, picking up all trash larger than a cigarette butt in that area, then cataloging items. Participants enter surveys into online databases like the Texas Litter Database (txlitter.org) where it is used by scientists for research.
We will briefly explain the STOP program and the impact of litter in Texas, then as a group, attendees will walk through forming a hypothesis and research questions, identifying dependent and independent variables, conducting the surveys, analyzing results, and proving/ disproving their original hypothesis. We will simulate real world conditions by completing a tally of collected litter (via field photos), and demonstrate how to enter results into pre-made Microsoft Excel sheets for classroom analysis. We will also lead the audience through the Texas Litter Database website's auto-generated maps and charts teachers can explore with students. This lesson will be given at the middle school level, but it can be adapted to younger or older age groups.