Asking A Question

Generate investigable questions. Revisit the latest message from the homeowner.

Examine the real-time data. With a partner or in small groups, carefully examine the real-time data.  Make a list of as many questions as you can about what you are noticing and wondering. Write any questions that come to mind, without censoring or editing ideas - you’re brainstorming right now! However, keep in mind that the homeowner is particularly interested in reducing electricity use and costs. Often one of the first ways to help someone do this is to help them learn more about their patterns of electricity use.

Sort your questions. Once you’ve come up with a big list of questions, it might be helpful to cut your list apart so that each question is on one strip of paper. Sort your questions into two piles: investigable questions and researchable questions.  The description below will help you as you sort your questions. If you’re not certain, you could put your question in an “other category.”

Asking a question gets the investigation process started. Develop your question carefully and with an understanding of the data you will use to find your answer.

Develop an investigation plan. Once you have selected and carefully developed your investigation question, plan how you will carry out the investigation.  A key part of this planning involves developing a clear idea of what type of and how much data you’ll need to collect to answer your question. Data can be collected by measuring something, sampling, experimenting or in this case, using existing data sets.  Use the Investigation Planning Guide to help. Be sure to record your investigation plan in your science notebook.

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