A Simple Introduction To The Scientific Method

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.

Scientific Method Experiment Write-Up0002 (2)

Scientists use the scientific method to learn and study the world around them. It’s based on asking questions and trying to come up with logical answers through experimenting. Scientists start by making observations so they form a hypothesis (a big word that just means a good guess!). They experiment to test whether or not their hypothesis is right. They often keep experimenting over an over again to test and prove their answers.

There are tons of cool science experiments for kids out there, but the key to teaching science is helping them to think and solve like a scientist so they can understand WHY they got their results. Taking them through the scientific method will help them start thinking like scientists!

To introduce kids to it for the first time, you’ll definitely want something hands on, with clear results, and of course – fun.  I think it’s also important that you give them something they can do themselves (not just a demonstration) for a first-time run through.  Here’s an Experiment Write-Up sheet for them to record their steps on that utilizes the scientific method.

And here’s an outline for older kids to use as they are working on more formal lab write-ups.  I have them type their first one, then save an empty version of it to use in future labs.  They leave the heading and bold words, then save it as their template.  Click right here or on the picture to get the printable outline. 

Experiment One

Try this:
1.  Ask what will happen if you drop an egg from 6 feet above the ground.  Kids can record the question and then also record their hypothesis (their prediction of what will happen).  Any known information can be written down before the actual experiment is conducted.
2.  Now let them give it a try!  Measure 6 feet off the ground.  Have a kid hold an egg up from that height and drop it.  {GASP!  I know it makes a mess, but the poignancy of that moment is worth a bit of clean up, don’t you think?  Besides, I didn’t say to drop it over carpet.}  Have the kids record their observations and write a conclusion.

egg_experiments_scientific_method

That’s your basic method, but let’s not stop there.  Why not go for another egg question?

Experiment Two

1.  Can you spin an egg like a top?  Kids will record the question, the hypothesis, and their materials, along with their plan for the experiment.
2.  Now give it a try.  Let everyone have a egg and give it a go.  {This time have some eggs raw and some eggs hard boiled, but don’t reveal this.}  Some will spin and others will not.  Ask, “Why do some eggs act differently than others?  Do you think some of the eggs will break differently too then?
3.  Drop one egg that spins and one egg that doesn’t.  After dropping the eggs, no doubt kids will see the difference.

You may want to go back to their original scientific method experiment sheet and have them modify their results.  Real scientists are always doing that.  A scientific question is rarely completely and definitively answered.  Instead, scientists accept the best answer until a better one comes along…and with each new answer our knowledge and understanding about our world grows.

More Experiments

Once they understand the scientific method they can use it on all their experiments.

Here are a few more experiments to try:

A physics experiment on inertia and Newton's first law.
A physics experiment on inertia and Newton’s first law.
An experiment with vinegar and a turkey bone.
An experiment with vinegar and a turkey bone.

 

How to oxidize pennies with vinegar and salt.
How to oxidize pennies with vinegar and salt.
Here is a simple experiment that proves that objects do fall at the same rate if air resistance is taken out of the equation. Galileo was right.
Here is a simple experiment that proves that objects do fall at the same rate if air resistance is taken out of the equation. Galileo was right.

 

4 different experiments with magnets to do at home.
4 different experiments with magnets to do at home.
Science experiments with water, including surface tension, sublimation, and more.
Science experiments with water, including surface tension, sublimation, and more.

 

Invisible LineNeed more science ideas?  Go here:
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