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Methods Section

Activity Description/Rationale                                                          

This lesson leads students in a discussion of the methods section.

NYS/CCL Standards (Content Knowledge, IAD)


Goals: Process Skills (Basic & Integrated) and Attitudes/ (Enduring Understandings & Essential Questions)

Goals will be to create a methods section, and to become more familiar with writing in the passive voice, understanding why that is useful in the sciences.

Universal Design for Learning/Differentiation

Students will focus both on individual hypothesis, allowing for individualized learning plans, and on a group understanding of the general methodology of a lab report and why it is important to document the process.


No materials necessary. Both a Powerpoint and worksheet are provided, however if you desire you could just have a class discussion without visuals.

Estimated Length of Activity:

One class period (45-50 minutes).


Prior sections of lab report, especially performing experiments/field trip.

Activity Instructions:

(5-10 minutes) do now will help the m focus on their hypothesis which should help each student think about how this lesson applies to them and their lab report goals.

(30 minutes) go over what the importance of a methods section is, and why it is included. Specifically, make sure students understand what the passive voice is, and why we use it in science writing. Additionally, make sure they understand the methods is not just a list, it should be written in narrative format, however it is not a time for analysis. The methods simply state what has been done in this experiment to prove the hypothesis, and how the reader may replicate the experiment.


Assignment will be to write the methods section for the paper. Assignment should be given several days for completion.

Assessment and Reflection

Assessment will be based both on in-class discussion as well as completion of the methods section.

Instructor’s Notes:

Depending on the class and the way the reports are developing you may have a theme with the hypothesis. If this is the case, then it may be prudent to write down equations or standards that will benefit the class for inclusion in the methods. If the class has a variety of hypothesis that relate to multiple or different water quality tests this may be better addressed on an individual level, and leaving time in class or scheduling meetings at another time may be applicable.