The Scientific Process

The Scientific Process



This is a 1-2 semester hour course for STEM majors in a science and technology themed honors program. It could be modified to be an FYE experience for freshmen honors students, with the expectation that it would be selected by honors students planning STEM majors.

The second part of the course will apply CREATE to examining the research ongoing in a laboratory at the students’ university.
Upperclassmen who are involved in research in these labs will act as Research Liaisons and assist teams of freshmen to understand
The overall focus of research in that lab
The important methods in use in the lab
Interpretation of an original paper from the lab or closely related to current work in the lab


Students will analyze the key figure from a paper related to the lab, cartooning methods used to generate the data in the key figure and developing a concept map of the background material, including a diagram of the hypothesis tested by the key figure.
Students will present their work to fellow students in several ways
PowerPoint presentation of overall focus of lab and explanation of key method
Prepare a poster of the CREATE analysis of the key figure in their lab paper
Students will interview the PI if possible or send questions to the PI and will visit the lab as a guest of the Research Liaison. One class period will be devoted to discussing these experiences and each student will prepare a written summary of their experience.
Students will propose 2 possible next experiments that will be reviewed by in-class grant panels according to criteria established by the students.
Students will be surveyed at the beginning and end of the semester to assess confidence in a number of aspects of understanding and participating in research
Questions written by students after presentations by fellow students will be collected at the beginning and end of the semester to determine whether the quality of the questions according to Bloom’s Taxonomy increases during the semester.
Student posters will be evidence of the consensus analysis done by each group.
Students will turn in a notebook that includes their version of each assignment for evaluation at the end of part 1 and part 2 of the course.

Applicable for Courses:

Educational Level:

Introductory Level

Roadmap Objectives:

    • Article: Science Daily article “New Buzz on Coffee: It’s not the Caffeine that Raises Blood Pressure
    • Content area/major concepts:
    • Methods or technology used to obtain data:
    • How the CREATE strategy was used: prepare a methods cartoon
    • Biggest teaching challenge:
    • Article: Corti, R., et al. (2002). Coffee acutely increases sympathetic nerve activity and blood pressue independently of caffeine content. Role of habitual and nonhabitual drinking. Circulation, 106, 2935-2940
    • Content area/major concepts: This article was chosen because there are aspects of the methods and potential next experiments that could engage students with multiple interests (e.g., chemistry of coffee beyond caffeine, instrumentation to record nerve activity, psychological component to response to drinking coffee that is absent when caffeine is injected, biology of arousal response, etc.)
    • Methods or technology used to obtain data:
    • How the CREATE strategy was used: Students will be expected to do individual versions of each assignment and then use class time to compare with others. A “translating” activity will be included during the concept mapping of introductory material. A “design a next experiment” assignment will conclude this part of the course, with students establishing review criteria and selecting the proposals they believe are the best.
    • Biggest teaching challenge:

Advice for Using Module/Activity:

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