I always have an example to show my students first. My first year I didn't always have one. Usually those activities were the most frustrating for me and the students. This past year I saw teachers try to explain activities without giving students a visual of what they wanted. I know I don't learn well with someone just speaking to me. I have to see.
First, start with a shutter fold. It makes the construction paper look like a mini science board. Mini anything is already just adorable! After they finished the inside of the foldable, the students decorated the outside. (This is my teacher copy. I am not the best artist. But I try, which is what counts.) The back can be glued into a science notebook.
On the inside the students put the problem/question, hypothesis, procedure, data, graph, materials, and conclusion.
For this lab, the students had to come up with their own experiment to test force on an object. (Which is Texas Science TEKS 5.6D) They weren't allowed to test the question I did for the example. So while they had a visual of what to create, all the content was original. They did work in groups on this.
Some of the tests were as follows:
Does the number of books on a person's back affect the number of push ups he/she can do?
Does size affect the distance a paper football can go?
Does size affect how long a paper spinner will spin?
Will different size balls bounce at different heights?
And yes, I had an observation the day the groups were experimenting in class. So I had students flicking paper footballs, doing push ups, and bouncing balls when my principal came in. Luckily, she likes (productive) noisy classrooms.