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The Redi Experiment

Grade and Content Area: 8th Grade – Life Sciences


The Redi Experiment is the experiment that Francesco Redi used to disprove spontaneous generation by having flies lay eggs to form maggots on meat in open containers and not in the closed containers. This module will step the students through the steps of the redi experiment and explain the thought process that Redi used in conducting this experiment to disprove spontaneous generation.

In the redi experiment there are three jars with meat in with them: One of them sealed, one covered with a netting, and one left open. The Flies will fly around and lay eggs on the netting and the meat in the container that is open and then maggots will form. Once the maggots form the students then get to play a game by cleaning up the maggots by left clicking on them to make them disappear. After the students see this experiment happening they will then answer follow up questions through second life.

Lesson Plan

Description of the Science Content of the Module: The Redi Experiment.

Game Play:

When students walk into the science lab they should take a seat by right clicking on the seat and selecting sit. Once the students are in a seat they can left-click on the test tubes to receive a HUD. Then they must open their inventory and right click on the HUD and select wear to start the experiments. Once the HUD is up they can select an experiment. The directions are then listed on the HUD step by step.

Experiment Directions:

First the students will read the introduction to the experiment and then click continue to start it. After that the materials will appear and the students must click on a jar containing flys in order to release them. The directions then explain how the flys are attracted to the open and netted jar which exposes the scent of the meat. After pressing continue the students will see some more explanations of what is happing and will press continue to start the game of cleaning up the maggots. To do this the students must left click on the maggots in order for them to dissapear. Once they are all gone their score will be announced which is based on how fast the students picked up the maggots.

Pre and Post Test Questions (doc)
Pre and Post Test Questions (pdf)
These test questions have not been validated!

National Science Education Standards: Grade 8

    USE APPROPRIATE TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES TO GATHER, ANALYZE, AND INTERPRET DATA. The use of tools and techniques, including mathematics, will be guided by the question asked and the investigations students design. The use of computers for the collection, summary, and display of evidence is part of this standard. Students should be able to access, gather, store, retrieve, and organize data, using hardware and software designed for these purposes.
    THINK CRITICALLY AND LOGICALLY TO MAKE THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN EVIDENCE AND EXPLANATIONS. Thinking critically about evidence includes deciding what evidence should be used and accounting for anomalous data. Specifically, students should be able to review data from a simple experiment, summarize the data, and form a logical argument about the cause-and-effect relationships in the experiment. Students should begin to state some explanations in terms of the relationship between two or more variables.

    NATURE OF SCIENCE. It is part of scientific inquiry to evaluate the results of scientific investigations, experiments, observations, theoretical models, and the explanations proposed by other scientists. Evaluation includes reviewing the experimental procedures, examining the evidence, identifying faulty reasoning, pointing out statements that go beyond the evidence, and suggesting alternative explanations for the same observations. Although scientists may disagree about explanations of phenomena, about interpretations of data, or about the value of rival theories, they do agree that questioning, response to criticism, and open communication are integral to the process of science. As scientific knowledge evolves, major disagreements are eventually resolved through such interactions between scientists

Ohio Content Standards: Grade 8

  • Scientific Inquiry:
    Grade 8 Indicator 1: Choose the appropriate tools or instruments and use relevant safety procedures to complete scientific investigations.
    Grade 6 Indicator 4: Explain that a single example can never prove that something is always correct, but sometimes a single example can disprove something.

    Scientific Ways of Knowing:
    Grade 8 Indicator 1: Identify the difference between description (e.g., observation and summary) and explanation (e.g., inference, prediction, significance and importance).
    Grade 8 Indicator 2: Explain why it is important to examine data objectively and not let bias affect observations.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0538588. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.