Family Science Learning Overview

This is the beginning of a 3-part bundle of LEs that includes LE 7 (planning investigations and collecting data), LE 8 (analyzing data), and LE 9 (connecting investigations to “Should We” questions). In LE 7.A, your family will choose which field-based investigations you want to do in order to explore your “Should We” question from LE 6.B. You can do as many investigations as you want—after each investigation your family will return to your model and “Should We” question from LE 6.B to add new understandings, revise your thinking, and see what else you want to learn more about.

Scientists use investigations to answer questions. They collect and then analyze data so that they can have evidence for answering their questions, but many times one investigation brings up more questions that lead to more investigations! So, you may find that you’re doing this bundle of LEs 7-9 more than once!

There are many ways to collect data and gather information to explore a “Should We” question, because “Should We” questions explore the connection between the natural world and human lives, choices, and behaviors. Doing field-based investigations is one way. You can also talk to people in your community, like elders or people who live and work in places that you are investigating. LE 7.B will help you do this type of community-based research! You can also do background research by finding information in books, podcasts, on the internet, and other forms of media to see what people already know about your “Should-We” question.  LE 7.C will help you do that kind of research! Most of the time, you’ll need to do all three kinds of evidence-gathering in order to fully explore your “Should We” question. 

In LE 7, you don’t have to go in any specific order from 7.A through 7.C. 

  • For example, you might start with research into what is already known about your “Should We” question to inspire ideas about where to start with your field-based investigations or your community-based research. 
  • If you start with your community-based research, that community member can give you clues about resources to read or field-based investigation questions to ask. 
  • If you start with field-based investigations, your community-based research can help you explain your findings or it can help you think about the next questions to ask. 
  • There are many sources of information—from your data that you collect in your field-based investigations, to the knowledge that  community members share with you, to books and TV shows about the topic that you’re studying. Just remember that there is no correct order to building knowledge in science!


This activity can have many parts, depending on how many investigations you decide to do.

  • Part 1: Review your “Should We” question: Look over your activity sheet from LE6.B.2. What questions did your family decide you needed to ask in order to explore your “Should We” question? What data did your family decide to collect?
  • Part 2: Decide your research path: Look over the list of investigations in LE7A, look at LE7B to ask some questions of people in your community, and  look at LE7C to do research on what people already know about your “Should-We” question. 
    • Choose the order that helps you answer the question and collect the data that your family decided on. Doing all three kinds of research will help you explore the different aspects of your “Should-We” question!
  • Part 3: Conduct research: Do the investigations and research!

What Can You Do To Support Learning?

  • If  your family is having trouble thinking about which investigations you want to do, you can ask questions like: 
    • What was our “Should We” question that we decided on?
    • What do we need to know more about to explore our “Should We” question?
    • What other information do we need to gather? Which of the investigations will help us gather that information?
    • Who do we know that we can ask about this?
    • Can we actually create an investigation to answer our “Should We” or is our question better answered by gathering information from a community member or by a media research?

Activity Sheet

Connecting with Other Families

Collaborate with other families on your “Should We” question! You can work together with another family on a field-based investigation to collect data in different places. You can decide that one family does a field-based investigation and one family does a community-based interview, and then compare what you found.  

Connect to Other Activities

Learning in Places Frameworks to Consider

  • Modeling Socio-Ecological Phenomena
  • Relationships in Socio-Ecological Systems
  • Observation and data collection
LE 7: Deciding what path we should investigate