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Scientific Method

Start your school year in science with these activities and worksheets related to the scientific method.
By Jennifer Sinsel Posted August 12, 2010

With the beginning of the new school year approaching, teachers are busily preparing their rooms, creating seating charts, and planning the first lessons of the semester. For those of us who teach science, our year normally begins with a unit related to science process skills. These skills are useful when conducting experiments via what is commonly referred to as the scientific method. Although professional scientists do not always use one sequential set of steps in their investigations, the methods used are generally similar. For example, despite the fact that we usually teach the scientific method as a series of steps, new information or thinking might cause a scientist to back up and repeat steps at any point during the process. Therefore, the scientific method is actually quite fluid, rather than a rigid set of sequential steps. Generally speaking, the scientific method involves six basic steps: 1. Ask a question (or define a problem) 2. Conduct background research on the question 3. Develop a hypothesis 4. Conduct an investigation to test the hypothesis 5. Record data 6. Analyze the data, draw conclusions, and communicate the results of the experiment An often overlooked part of these steps involves conducting background research before forming a hypothesis. When we ask students to formulate a hypothesis without knowing much of anything about the subject of the assigned investigation, were asking them to essentially make a guess without any basis of knowledge. Professional scientists

will attempt to find out what other scientists have learned about the topic of their investigation before developing a hypothesis and designing an experimentso as not to waste time or repeat the past mistakes of others. Communicating the results of an investigation can be accomplished in many different ways. Students can write a lab report detailing their investigation, create a PowerPoint presentation, design a poster, or even develop a podcast to share their results! To get your students started with the Scientific Method this year, try these hands on lesson plans .

Scientific Method Lesson Plans:

Paper Airplanes and Scientific Methods In this activity and worksheet students use the scientific method to design a paper airplane. They go through each of the steps of the scientific process and evaluate which paper airplane worked best. Precipitating Bubbles Students learn about the scientific method and evaluate how this might help them figure out everyday problems. They do an experiment to determine how much carbon dioxide is exhaled when someone blows through a straw into calcium hydroxide. The Scientific Search for the Loch Ness Monster Students try to prove or disprove real phenomena using the scientific method. They design experiments to test their hypotheses. To review the scientific method with your students, you try one of the following worksheets: Scientific Method: Bounce Count In this worksheet students identify descriptions in an experiment as the question, hypothesis, experiment, data, or conclusion. Scientific Method, Control and Variables In this worksheet, students read about four descriptions of experiments and answer questions about the variables, controls and reliability. A Doggone Food Experiment In this worksheet students fill out a chart based on what part of the scientific method is being described. They rewrite an experiment to test for results.

How to Teach the Scientific Method to Children

By Susan Rickey, eHow Contributor


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Curiosity in children about scientific elements helps them learn the scientific method.

The scientific method is a way to explore and discover concepts in science through inquiry, observation and reflection. It is an organized way with prescribed steps to follow to prove or disprove a cause and effect relationship in the scientific world. The steps that lead to a conclusion can be taught throughout the students' education career. Career scientists and kindergarten science classrooms use the scientific method to learn about the curiosities of our world.

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Six-Step Scientific Method for Elementary Kids

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Activities to Teach the Scientific Method to the 2nd Grade


Start with a question. Ask the students to define what they want to know about a scientific element with a how, what, why, when, who or which question. For instance, if they want to know the effect of sunlight on a bean plant, the question is, "What is the effect of sunlight on a bean seed?" The question needs to be answerable by doing an experiment and gathering data from that experiment.

Conduct research. The students research the question to see if the experiment has been done before. They look for warnings or tips for their experiment in their research.
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Create a hypothesis for the question. A hypothesis is an educated guess about what the student thinks the answer to the question will be. The wording of the hypothesis is important. The results of the hypothesis have to be measurable, and it has to answer the question in step one. "If I...(do something) then...(this will occur)," according to Science Bob, is a way to word your hypothesis. In the case of the bean and sunlight, "If I give one bean seed 12 hours of sunlight and another bean seed two hours of sunlight, then the seed with the most sunlight will grow taller."

Conduct the experiment. The students prove if their hypothesis is valid or invalid in their experiment. The students change only one variable in their experiments. For the bean seed, the students would plant the seeds in the same type of container, give each seed the same amount of water and provide them with the same soil. The variable that is altered is the amount of sunlight.

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Record the data after the experiment is complete. The students analyze the information they gathered from their experiment. The young scientists decide on a conclusion and answer to their hypothesis.

Publish the results of the experiment. Graphs, photos, speeches or essays are ways to communicate the results of their experiments. If the experiment was a science fair project, a three-sided display board is typically used to share the results.

Read more: http://www.ehow.com/how_8503703_teach-scientific-method-children.html#ixzz2oZVAHL6N