ngss science free lessons

Research Quest: Free Middle School Science Project-Based Learning

Research Quest online activities from the Utah Natural History Museum help middle school students learn the scientific method with project-based learning activities.

Are you a middle school science teacher looking to ignite your students' curiosity? Look no further than ResearchQuest, a treasure trove of free investigations that immerse students in the steps of the scientific method. From analyzing real-world artifacts to drawing their own conclusions, your students will become budding scientists. And the best part? All these resources are freely accessible from the Natural History Museum of Utah.

Research Quest sponsored this blog post. All opinions are my own.

Transform Your Classroom with Project-Based Learning and the Scientific Method

We all know that hands-on exploration is the best way to engage students in the scientific method. Whether they're examining dinosaur bones, investigating the causes behind dying tree species, or exploring predator-prey relationships, ResearchQuest offers fourteen investigations for your middle school students. They come with lesson plans, NGSS standards alignment, and real-world integration as the museum's scientists are often part of the investigation. 

Easy Access to Engaging Science Projects

When you sign up for a free teacher account, you'll receive a special code that allows your students to dive into these investigations without needing their own accounts. Each project is meticulously designed to foster critical thinking and comes with a downloadable ‘research assistant' guide, assessments, and even digital options for Google Classrooms and other Learning Management Systems (LMS).

Comprehensive Instructional Guides

Each investigation is aligned with NGSS standards and comes with a detailed lesson plan, assessments, and rubrics for evaluating student critical thinking. It's a one-stop-shop for any middle school science teacher looking to incorporate the scientific method into their curriculum.

5 Ways to Integrate ResearchQuest into Your Classroom Now

1. Exploring Environmental Stewardship Through Natural and Synthetic Materials

Dive into the “Artifact Investigation” to explore early ceramics and their impact on both history and ecology. This cross-curricular study is an excellent way to engage students in the scientific method while discussing the importance of environmental stewardship.

Students learn about early ceramics as well as how to understand history and how it relates to science, as well.

free lesson on synthetic materials ngss using the scientific method

2. Unearth the Secrets of Dinosaur Bones

The Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry artifacts offers a fascinating look into the world of paleontology. Students can use the scientific method to identify fossilized bones and learn about ecosystem disruptions, the fossil record, and trait-based survivability through a “Dino Lab Simulator.”

dinsoar lab simulator scientific method project based learning for middle school

3. Delve into Forest Ecosystems

The Uinta Mountains ecosystem investigations offer a deep dive into change and stability in ecosystems. Students can build their own digital food web models and explore various phenomena affecting Lodgepole pine trees, among other things.

4. Predator and Prey Bioscience Investigations

This project-based learning activity involves game-based digital manipulatives and gathering data from museum specimens. Students will explore what physical cues predators use to make eating decisions and will have the opportunity to compare specimens from museum collections.

project based learning predator or prey using the scientific method

5. Investigating Bat Diets in Changing Ecosystems​

The virtual bat dissections offer an engaging way to explore adaptability in bat diets. This investigation can spark some fantastic classroom conversations and is a great way to engage students in the scientific method.

online bat dissection labs

Why Choose ResearchQuest?

ResearchQuest is more than just a set of free investigations; it's a comprehensive resource that aligns with NGSS standards and offers a wide range of project-based learning activities. It's an invaluable tool for any middle school science teacher looking to make science engaging and relatable. So why wait? Sign up today and transform your science curriculum with the power of the scientific method and project-based learning!

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored blog post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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