The scientific method helps students approach scientific questions, to organize the flow of an experiment, and helps to outline the relationship between the scientific question, the hypothesis, the variables, and the steps in the experiment. Students will repeatedly use these steps in labs and class projects in school. Children need to learn the basics of the scientific method while they are young as they will be adding steps and complications to it throughout their time in school.
Basics of the Scientific Method
Before teaching the scientific method, you must understand the basics of it yourself.
1. Ask a Question
The first step of the scientific method is to ask a question about something you observe. This question would seek to answer how, what, when, who, which, why, or where.
2. Do Research
Before experimenting, you should do preliminary research on the internet or at the library to help you find the best way to do things.
3.Form a Hypothesis
A hypothesis is an educated guess that helps you answer the scientific question you created. The hypothesis needs to be a statement that can be tested and needs to make a prediction. Typically a hypothesis follows this format “If I do this, then this will happen.”
4.Test Your Hypothesis With an Experiment
An experiment should test whether or not the prediction you have made in your hypothesis is correct or not. In order to conduct a fair experiment, you should change only one factor at a time while keeping all the other conditions the same. You should conduct your experiment several times to ensure your first result was not just a coincidence.
5.Analyze What You Have Found and Draw a Conclusion
After completing your experiment, gather all your data into a graph or chart to make it easier to analyze. Often predictions made in hypotheses are not supported, in which case you must start the experiment over with a new hypothesis based on the information learned in this experiment. If you found the information in your first experiment, you can try to form a conclusion based on the results, or you may want to test your hypothesis again in a new way.
6.Communicate Your Results
After completing your scientific experiment in school, you will likely have to communicate your results in the form of a final report or paper. Your report or paper will probably be evaluated based on how thorough your experiment was conducted and how comprehensive and well-written it is.
Teaching the Scientific Method to Preschoolers
When teaching the scientific method to young children, you can use the six steps we covered as a guide while just talking to the children about it. You can start by asking them what they think will happen. Then while the experiment is happening, ask them to tell you what they see. After experimenting, have them tell you how what happened differs from what they did. Simply having a conversation with the kids about what they thought would happen if you did this compared to what happened when you did it is the best way to introduce them to the steps of conducting the scientific method.
The best way to teach the scientific method is to show it in practice. An easy-to-follow experiment that teaches the scientific method is having the kids predict if things will float. Grab a large bowl and fill it with water. Then collect a variety of things to place in the water, some that will float and some that will not. One at a time, grab each object and have the children predict if they think the object will float in the water before you place it in there. Then place the object in the water and have the children watch the object float or sink.
Afterward, go through each object and discuss with the children why they think some things floated in the water and why some things sank. This experiment gives children the opportunity to make predictions and see if they are right or not. Even if they do not realize it, having the kids make the predictions is a way of developing a hypothesis.
The Scientific Method For Kids
Children are constantly exploring the world around them and learning about it. It is never too early to teach kids about the scientific method as a way to harness their curiosity. Fun experiments that can be conducted with few materials and easy steps are the best way to teach children about the scientific method. This procedure is something they will be using for the duration of the education, so introducing it early and in a way that sticks is essential.