Part of design inquiry is being able to deconstruct a problem and brainstorm variables that impact on each other.
The simple yet highly effective variables grid is useful across all year levels and multiple subjects in open ended investigations.
Here’s how you use it in:
In the centre square write the variable you want to measure (M) i.e. the dependent variable e.g. distance ball thrown (in metres).
Around the outside squares, brainstorm and list any factors that could change that. E.g. height of person throwing, type of ball, wind conditions, muscle mass of throwing arm, dominant or non-dominant arm, run up or standing throw etc
Once as many factors have been brainstormed as possible, use the variables grid to design a fair test.
The centre square is the dependent variable.
Pick one of the outside squares to investigate as the independent variable.
All other outside squares must be controlled, assumed to be constant or kept the same to ensure a fair test.