MYP 6 Science - Chemistry

MYP 6.1.4: Observation - can we trust our senses?


  • Quantitative data is better than qualitative data
  • Our senses can only gather qualitative data

A very important part of experimental skills is the observation phase. How good are we at observing?


Observation test video 1


How easy it is to miss important details, or even very obvious details if we are not aware.

Observation test video 1 (1min 54s)

And once we have observed something how good are we at recording accurately that which we have observed?

And how good are we at communicating our observations to other people?

Student Activity

Game - French whispers, 3 teams of 4 or 5

Each team has to pass a message along from one end of the chain to the other. The first member is allowed to read the message from the teacher's prompt. The last member has to write the message down. The messages are then checked against the original and points awarded by the teacher.

The messages should be easy at first with increasing difficulty in terms of numbers and arrangement. Common terms should be used.


Level 1 : Peter was given the orange by John to take to the football match

Level 2 : Peter's brother Eric gave John's brother Simon an Orange instead of an Apple to take to the Party.

Activity - Computer animations on optical illusions

Discussion - What can we see?


  • How can we communicate results most effectively?
  • Why do we record data?
  • What types of data are there?
  • Why should all members of a group record the data?


Science Spotlight 7: p6 - Lighted candle

Skills: Carrying a lighted splint


  1. Heat a sample of copper(II) sulphate pentahydrate in a test tube. Use a glass rod to carefully mix the copper(II) sulphate during heating.
  2. After the blue crystals have turned white (usually off-white) allow to cool.
  3. When cooled down, pour the white powder onto a watch glass and stand on the palm of the hand.
  4. Add 5 cm3 of water from a small measuring cylinder to the white powder.

How many pieces of evidence are there that a chemical reaction has taken place?


Science Spotlight 7: p180-3

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