Observation to Research

How is observation more than just “looking” at something?

How does observation lead to a research question?

The Apps below will assist students in:

  • Using focused observation to identify connections between components in an environment that can lead to research questions.
  • Using a scientific theme or issue to motivate and guide scientific research.


Explain Everything

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Explain Everything allows you to use Ipads in the Science Classroom to Import & Insert Draw & Annotate; Zoom & Pan; Move & Animate; Record & Play; Export & Share

Explain Everything Video Tutorials

Students Helping Students EE Overview

Observation to Research Explain Everything Template
 (Open on your Ipad)

Using Google Drive with Explain Everything – Video Tutorial

Explain Everything Tutorials

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Zydeco Inquiry

Zydeco enables teachers and students to create science investigations by defining goals, questions, and “labels” to annotate, organize, and reflect on multimodal data (e.g., photos, videos, audio, text) that they collect. Data is stored in the cloud so that students and teachers can access that annotated information later and use it with Zydeco tools to develop a scientific explanation addressing the question they are investigating.

Zydeco Inquiry – Science on the Go

Thoughts, tips and reflections on integrating technology effectively – Zydeco Inquiry App

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    • Observe: What do you see, hear smell, or touch? (record your observations)
    • Recall and integrate your existing knowledge about what you observed. If appropriate, use scientific equipment to collect data that will support your connections.


    • To Annotate means to describe with short notes. Insert a photograph of what you observed below. Label the major components of the observation.


    • Use your observations and annotated diagrams to identify variables important to your study. (example: air temperature; Where is the coolest air temperature at our site in the afternoon between 2:00 & 3:00 pm?)


    • Your ideas about what you are observing are essential to posing good Research Questions. Identify your Working Theory. Using your observations, annotated diagrams and list of variables, draft a statement that you believe most likely explains what is taking place.
    • A Working Theory is important because it helps you think about how your observations and variables fit together to explain the problem under investigation. Working theories also address what you already know; and identify gaps in scientific knowledge.


    • Scientists use working theories to help pose good Research Questions. Good research questions begin with What, Where, When and How and they have at least one variable that allows you to collect data to find an answer.
    • Example: Using the working theory: Trees have a lowering effect on air temperature.A Research Question could be: How much cooler is the wooded area in my study site than the open areas?

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