I am in a unique situation this school year. I am not a core science teacher, but an elective teacher in charge of designing curriculum for five new classes. I teach Science Investigations for grades 6-8 and pretty much have free reign as to what is taught. The only requirements my principal gave me were to make the classes hands-on, give the students real-world experiences, and try to boost our science scores on the state standardized test. Sure, no problem!!!
So, instead of reinventing the wheel, I turned to Discovery Science Connection. I wanted to start my 6th graders with a review of the scientific method. I showed a clip from Mythbusters about the hang-time of footballs. As they watched the show, the students had to identify the steps of the scientific method used during the show. I then asked the students if they felt they could reenact the experiment, based on the procedure they wrote down while viewing the show. This also turned out to be a good lesson into how important it is to be precise when writing the procedural steps of an experiment. The students then chose a problem that they wanted to solve, researched their topic, formed a hypothesis, wrote a procedure, tested their hypothesis, analyzed their data, and reported their findings during a science fair.
I could have put up an overhead of the steps and then given a test the next day. But showing Mythbusters and having them design their own experiment gave them a hands-on, real-world experience. And it made my principal happy!!!