kids doing an experiment using the scientific method

A Simple Introduction To The Scientific Method

This exploration is for all ages, as the colored smilies show. You can explain and experiment using the scientific method with all of your children from 1st graders up through high school.

1st thru 4th grades
5th thru 8th grades
9th thru 12th grades

Layers of Learning Unit 3-10
Unit 3-10: Russia & Prussia, Central Asia, History of Science, Watercolors

The scientific method lesson pairs with any Layers of Learning science units and most especially Unit 3-10 where you can learn about the history of science and how the scientific method created a science revolution. Layers of Learning has hands-on experiments in every unit of this family friendly curriculum. Learn more about Layers of Learning.

Often when kids are doing “experiments” they are really just following recipes. But once you’ve learned the scientific method you can begin to experiment, to learn about things without a recipe. That’s real science.

The scientific method may seem ominous and confusing, but really simply put, it’s just a way of asking a question and then finding an answer to that question.

Step 1: Library Research

Before you begin exploring, read a book or two about the scientific method. Here are some suggestions, but if you can’t find these, look for books at your library about the scientific method. The colored smilies above each book tell you what age level they’re recommended for.

Mad Margaret Experiments with the Scientific Method

by Eric Braun

When Margaret’s friend only sneezes at one house the kids use the scientific method to find out why. Explained very simply for youngest kids.

Investigating the Scientific Method With Max Axiom

by Donald B. Lemke

Comic book style accurately and excitingly explains the scientific method when Max Axiom has to solve the city’s flooding armed with super science.

The Scientific Method

by Bozeman Science

Have your teens watch the Bozeman Science video on the Scientific Method. You can watch more videos from Unit 3-10 on the YouTube playlist.

Step 2: Scientific Method Experiment

You will need an experiment write-up sheet. We have two printable choices here. The first is for younger kids. The second experiment write-up sheet is a template middle grades and high schoolers can use when typing up their own experiment reports.

Scientific Method Experiment Write Up Sheet
Lab write up template for middle grades and high school.

You will also need a favorite cookie recipe, some artificial sweetener, and taste testers.

You’ll need the ingredients for your cookies too!
Use any artificial sweetener you like!
Eager taste testers!

Design an experiment using the scientific method to see what differences the artificial sweetener has compared to regular white sugar. Think about taste and texture. How can you conduct the experiment fairly so the results are scientific?

Do the results of your experiment suggest new ways you could take the experiment further?

Step 3: Show What You Know

Create an anchor chart or notebooking page about the scientific method process as you discuss what each step means. Put this in your binder behind the “science” divider.

Complete your lab write up sheet with your data and your conclusions.

Additional Layers

Additional Layers are extra activities you can do or tangents you can take off on. You will find them in the sidebars of each Layers of Learning unit. They are optional, so just choose what interests you.

Deep Thoughts

Discuss these ideas with your kids.

We’re used to thinking of science as answering all our questions, but this isn’t quite true. Every scientific “truth” always has the possibility that it will be proved wrong one day. This has happened frequently in the history of science. Once it was believed that all land formed from dissolved ocean minerals solidifying into rocks. Eventually this misconception was proved wrong.

So the scientific method has the ability to prove things wrong, but not the ability to absolutely prove things right.

The other limitation of science is that it can investigate only natural phenomenon. So it is unlikely that science will ever answer all our questions.

Deep Thoughts

The scientific method with its controlled experiments was defined as a way to guard against human biases or preconceptions corrupting knowledge of the truth.

But human prejudice still gets in the way. That’s why people argue about certain scientific areas of knowledge.

Investigate the debates over the age of the earth, vaccines, global climate change, or genetically modified crops and look for where both sides of the debate might be biased. You might end up deciding only one side is biased.

Famous Folks

Aristotle and the other ancient Greek philosophers were the first to apply logic to a study of the natural world.

People have used experimentation, especially in the area of medicine, since very ancient times.

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