Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Aliens: We Come in Peace

Experimental Design & Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning

K20 Center, Christen Rowland | Published: May 20th, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
  • Subject Subject Science
  • Course Course Biology I
  • Time Frame Time Frame 2-3 class period(s)
  • Duration More 150 minutes


Students will participate in a set of observational experiments, designed to help them come up with "good" evidence to back a claim they present. Students will learn about how to overcome flawed predictions with evidence and design good reasonable explanations.

Essential Question(s)

How do scientists obtain evidence to back their claim and reasoning? 



Students will begin by observing different aliens around the room.


Students will collaboratively hypothesize a possible explanation of the aliens' behavior.


Students will design a list of good ways to collect evidence to support claim and reasoning.


Students will investigate roly poly's behavior making a claim backed by evidence and reasoning.


Students will prepare a poster with their claim, evidence, and reasoning and participate in a Gallery Walk.


  • A dozen variations of four different types of aliens (48 aliens in total)

  • "Alien Invasion" script

  • Alien Observation Sheet

  • Roly Poly Lab handout

  • Choice Chambers (or petri dishes cut and pieced together)

  • Material of choice for roly poly

  • Poster paper


Begin by using the "Alien" and the "Alien Invasion" documents to set the aliens up around the room. Once the aliens are ready, students will enter the room. Make sure to tell them not to disturb the aliens. Students will need to take a sheet of paper to record observations they make.


Once they have finished observing, have students go back to their desks and do an I Think, We Think individually. Using their observation notes, students write down what patterns/trends they believe the aliens were showing and why.

Then pair them up and, together, have them discuss and come up with a group trend for each alien, writing their group claim on the observation sheet.


As a class, reveal the groupings to the students and see how many got them right and how many got them wrong.

Then, do a modified 4-2-1, where each pair of students comes up with two things they did "well" and two things they got wrong. Have the pairs then join with another pair, forming groups of four, and have them come up with the thing they all did mostly well and the thing many of them got wrong. Once finished, have students individually write on what makes a good observation and what makes a bad observation. Once finished have them share with the class their thoughts.


Students will each receive a copy of the "Roly Poly Lab." Students will then observe normal roly poly behavior and will make a claim, which they then will have to design an experiment to research. Students will then need to gather evidence and decide whether their observations/evidence support their claim or not and, if not, then make a new claim.


Give each group of students a sheet of poster or oversized paper. Have students prepare a Research Poster over their roly poly experiment. Stress that they need to include information about their claim/hypothesis on their roly polies using their evidence and reasoning. When they are done, have them hang the posters around the room. Then have students participate in a Gallery Walk where, as they look over their classmates' posters, they put sticky notes on the poster that say whether they agree with their classmates' claims based on the evidence or disagree and why. Once they have completed the circuit and returned to their own posters, students can then read the feedback that was left for them on the sticky notes.