Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Importance of Observation

Kelly Justice
Santa Rosa District Schools


Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble! Students demonstrate knowledge of the importance of observation to the learning process by conducting careful observation and recording their findings as a journal entry.


The student knows that learning can come from careful observation.


- water
- balloon
- 4oz. cups
- 64oz. vinegar
- 1 box of baking soda
- journals or writing paper
- pencils
- 1 Concept Checklist


1. Secure an outdoor location for dropping the water balloon.
2. Fill a balloon with water.
3. Fill one 4 oz. cup with vinegar for every two students in the class.
4. Place a teaspoon of baking soda in one re-sealable bag for every two students in the class.
5. Make available several rolls of paper towels for clean up.
6. Make available student journals or other writing paper.
7. Make available pencils and crayons or markers.
8. Obtain one copy of the Concept Checklist.


1. Begin the lesson in an outdoor setting such as a courtyard or playground.

2. Present a water balloon held high in the air.

3. Ask the students what will happen if you release the balloon. (It will burst)

4. Ask how they know the result of the action. (Students share various past experiences with water balloons)

5. Drop the water balloon a safe distance away from the students to allow them to confirm their predictions.

6. Return to an indoor setting for further discussion.

7. Discuss the word observation. Explain that observation is using our senses to find out about the world around us. Relate observation to their knowledge that the water balloon would burst when dropped.

8. Explain that they will work with a “lab partner” to conduct an experiment which requires them to observe and tell what they learn.

9. Explain that when signaled they will add baking soda to a cup of vinegar. Tell the students that they will then observe what happens to the mixture and record what they learn in their journal.

10. Distribute experiment materials (vinegar, baking soda).

11. Give the signal to add baking soda to the vinegar. Encourage discussion between lab partners.

12. Provide the writing prompt, “What did your learn?” and direct the children to record their findings in their journal. Encourage them to write and illustrate what happened as a result of their experiment.

13. Allow each child to share his/her journal entry. As the students share, assess their knowledge using the Concept Checklist. Provide verbal feedback for each student. Probe for clarification as needed.

14. Provide opportunities for the children to repeat the experiment if desired.


This hands-on experiment allows young scientists to demonstrate the learning which results from creating and observing a safe, simple chemical reaction. The students record their findings as a journal entry. The teacher uses a concise checklist to assess knowledge of the concept.


Conduct an observation over a period of time, such as observing a plant or the growth cycle of a butterfly. Provide an observation log for each student. At the end of the observation period, allow each the child to summarize their learning with the use of a writing prompt.

Attached Files

A checklist for assessment purposes.      File Extension: pdf

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