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Scientific language is often needed to explain natural phenomena as accurately as possible. Unfortunately, this can also complicate the process of learning the scientific method for kids. On this page you will find a science for kids approach to applying the scientific method steps. Before we get to it though, we should cover a few basics first...
Science is a way of thinking and a way of gathering knowledge about the world that is both accurate and reliable. It is the quest to understand and improve our knowledge of the world around us, and how the things in it work; or why they work the way they do. Here is a bit more information on what science is.
Okay, so how do you read this road map so that you can steer and navigate the car in a way that will lead you to your destination effectively? You're just about to find out. Below is a "scientific method for kids" guide that will lead you through the scientific method steps and through the process of carrying out your own scientific investigation.
A more detailed explanation of the steps of the scientific method is also provided just in case you would like to find out more and you will come across a guide for designing your own experiments as well. This might come in handy if you happen to be taking part in your school science fair.
Scientists use the scientific method to find answers to questions and to solve problems. Although there are many different versions of it in use today, you will find that what they are really based on is making observations, asking questions and looking for answers to questions through science experiments. In order to use the scientific method to find answers to your own questions, you will need to:
When using the scientific method to carry out your own investigations, one of the first things you will need to do is make observations and ask questions. How do you go about doing this? Simple... Just take a look at the things around you.
Does something make you curious? Does something seem strange to you? Do you wonder what causes something or why something happens? Ask yourself questions; Why is the sky blue? Why are the birds flying south for winter? What makes soda fizzy? The possibilities for observations and questions are endless.
Now as you make your observations, pay special attention to things that catch your attention. What you are trying to do in this step is find something that really interests you that you would like to find out more about.
As an example of an observation, you might have noticed a colorful rainbow in the sky and might have thought to yourself: "I wonder what it is that causes rainbows to appear in the sky?" Or you might even have thought: "where do those colors come from?"
After you have made observations, asked questions and found something that really interests you that you would like to learn more about, the next step in the scientific method will be to do some background research to see what has already been discovered in your area of interest.
The library is a great place to start your background research. You'll find a wide variety of great resources,
from books to magazines, to newspaper articles and
even the internet. And don't forget the librarian; he
will be able to point you in the right direction so that
you can find the information you need.
Your science teacher will also be able to help you with
the questions you have so don't forget to ask her for advice. And of course your parents will be more than willing to help you in your search for more information.
In a lot of cases though, you will probably still have unanswered questions, and this will call for you to do some further investigation and carry out an experiment so that you can hopefully find an answer to your question.
Now that you have done a bit of background research and have gained some insight into your question, the next scientific method step will involve you forming a testable hypothesis. A hy-pot-the-what...? Sounds like something complicated doesn't it? Well it's really quite simple.
Keep in mind that it doesn't matter whether your hypothesis is "right" or "wrong". What you are trying to do here is form a hypothesis that you can test through an experiment. The results from your experiment will tell you whether the hypothesis was correct or not. So don't fuss too much over the wording. The most important thing is to just make sure that it is testable.
Here comes the real fun! Are you ready? In this step of the scientific method, you will be designing and conducting an experiment to test your hypothesis. Before you get stuck into it though, we should cover a few things about variables.
Independent variables are the things or factors you change in your experiment. You are completely in charge of them and they do not depend on anything else.
The dependent variable is the thing you measure whenever you make a change to the independent variable, and your control variables are the factors that you keep constant in each run of your experiment.
So go ahead and carry out your experiment. Make sure to record your observations and data in a well kept science journal or logbook.
This is not only good scientific practice, but it will also come in handy when when it comes time to draw some conclusions.
If you are still unsure as to where to start, here is a great guide on how to design science experiments.
The final steps of the scientific method will involve analyzing the data you have collected throughout your experiment and drawing conclusions on that data. The main aim here is to summarize the findings of your experiment and to determine whether the experimental evidence supports or refutes your original hypothesis.
What did you learn from your experiment? Did you happen to find the answers to your questions? How about your experimental results; did they agree with your hypothesis? If indeed they seemed to agree, to what extent did this take place?
Or was your hypothesis "way off ?" If it was, there's no need to sweat; what you can do is repeat your experiment a few times over to see what the new results may reveal. This is good scientific practice and who knows? you might discover something even more interesting the next time around.
If you are really determined to get to the bottom of the issue, what you can do is form a new hypothesis and work through the scientific method steps again. You would have gained a lot of valuable information from your first experiment. What's more is that as you continue in this fashion; that is from observations to hypotheses to experiments, you will eventually hone in on a correct hypothesis.
Hopefully, you now have a clearer understanding of the scientific inquiry process and how to go about applying it to your own science experiments. If you enjoyed this scientific method for kids article, below are a few additional science for kids resources you might also find useful.
From ancient Greek science to medieval science to the modern scientific method, find out how this method has come to be the tool of choice for scientific inquiry.
You know that the scientific method is a very important tool in scientific inquiry, but what actually is it? Here are some great scientific method definitions that explain the scientific process and what it involves.
What springs to mind when you think of the word "science"? A classroom full of rote-memorizing students? A mad scientist sporting a white lab coat? Gobbledygook? FUN? Find out what the "experts" think science is.
Unfortunately, there is no single way to define science and today you will find a myriad of definitions with wide varying opinions. Here are some of the more interesting definitions I came across.