Practical skills and report writing

Questioning and predicting

Students question and predict by:

  • formulating questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically
  • predicting outcomes based on observations and scientific knowledge

What is a good question in Science? A good question leads to an investigation.This could be an experiment that you conduct ( first-hand investigation )or research others findings ( second-hand investigation)



Collecting and using data and information

Students identify data to be collected for an investigation by:

  • a.describing the purpose of an investigation
  • b.explaining why certain types of information need to be collected in a range of investigation types
  • c.selecting possible sources of data, including secondary sources, relevant to the investigation
  • d.justifying why variables need to be kept constant if reliable first-hand data is to be collected in controlled experiments
pr v sec.jpg
Primary( left) v Secondary( right) sources


Resourced filled with experiment ideas and the theory behind them

Planning investigations

Students plan first-hand investigations by:

  • a.planning and selecting appropriate investigation methods, including fieldwork and laboratory experimentation, to collect reliable data
  • b.describing a logical procedure for undertaking a range of investigation types( see below in “writing up an experiment- planning” for more info)
  • c.designing controlled experiments to collect valid first-hand data
  • d.specifying the dependent and independent variables for controlled experiments
  • e.accounting for the use of an experimental control as appropriate

Examples of investigations

Fieldwork this involves research outside of the classroom or via virtual means. Science excursions offer a great opportunity to investigate the world in a tangible way.

Science Centre, Queensland Museum, Brisbane

Experiments and investigations – These are the foundations of Science and are key to answering questions. You will be given many opportunities to practice your skills and be experimenting throughout the stage 4 and 5 science courses.images.jpgSurveys- Surveys are a great way to start your research into a particular area, especially if you are trying to find out peoples opinions. This website has some useful tips.

Research – Research is a very important skill that is needed to practice and understand concepts and ideas for any subject. Research also involves being able to communicate your findings to a specific audience using scientific terms and conventions.

See the research and writing skills page for more information.

Equipment and safety 

Always follow teacher instruction specific to your laboratory. Every school is different, however, we all must undertake practical activities in a safe way. Here is a quick general safety guide video.

DET safety procedures can be found here( staff access only)

Students choose equipment or resources for an investigation by:

a.identifying appropriate equipment and materials

  • You will also need to learn how to draw equipment using 2- dimensional scientific diagrams. The following video gives a brief overview of how to do it.

b.identifying the units to be used in collecting data

c.selecting equipment to collect and record reliable data or information, using digital technologies as appropriate, eg data loggers

d.assessing risks and addressing ethical issues associated with these methods

Follow safety instructions at all time. From: Clip art Library

 How to use different science equipment

How to use a stereo microscope, also known as a dissecting microscope.

A click view database of various experimental methods( sign in re

Writing up an experiment – planning

Some websites and information to help you write an experiment.


Working scientifically. Information from the senior subject Investigating science which has some useful videoes and information.

A self-assessment scaffold for investigation

Questions Answers
What am I going to investigate?
What do I think will happen? Why?
Which variables am I going to:

•          change?

•          measure?

•          keep the same?

How will I make it a fair test?
What equipment will I need?
What happened?
Can my results be presented as a graph?
What do my results tell me? Are there any relationships, patterns or trends?
How can I explain the relationships, patterns or trends in my results?
What did I find out about the problem I investigated? How was the outcome different from my prediction?
What difficulties did I experience in doing this investigation?
How could I improve this investigation, eg fairness, accuracy?

Some work samples of students work This has examples of different ways investigations can be written.

 Conducting Investigations 

Students conduct investigations by:

a.individually and collaboratively using appropriate investigation methods, including fieldwork and laboratory experimentation, to collect reliable data

b.safely constructing, assembling and manipulating identified equipment

c.selecting and using appropriate equipment, including digital technologies, to systematically and accurately collect and record data

d.using appropriate units for measuring physical quantities

e.reporting data and information, evidence and findings, with accuracy and honesty

f.evaluating the effectiveness of the planned procedure, considering risk factors and ethical issues and suggesting improvements as appropriate

Processing and analysing information

Students question and predict by:

a.formulating questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically

b.predicting outcomes based on observations and scientific knowledge

c. Selecting and constructing an appropriate table, type of diagram, table or graph (histogram or sector, column or line graph) to present information and show relationships clearly and succinctly using digital technologies as appropriate

c.using appropriate units for physical quantities and symbols to express relationships, including mathematical ones



Students solve problems by:

a.describing strategies to develop a range of possible solutions to an identified problem

b.assessing strategies that have been identified as possible solutions to an identified problem

c.applying the processes of Working Scientifically in developing creative solutions to problems

d.using cause-and-effect relationships to explain ideas

e.using models to explain phenomena and make predictions

f.applying critical thinking in considering suggested proposals, solutions and conclusions, including a consideration of risk

g.evaluating different approaches used to solve the problem

h..proposing ideas that demonstrate coherence and logical progression