Stimulating Scientific Curiosity with the Scientific Method in TK-5th Grade
Scientists don’t know all the answers, but they do have a way to find them! They use the scientific method to find answers to some of the most baffling questions. The awesome thing is that scientists of all ages can use this strategy. That means YOU can use this method to learn about the world around you!
So, what is the scientific method?
Simply put, it is a process for scientists to learn and discover. It involves several steps:
First, scientists develop a question they want to answer through research. Some questions could be:
Do people sleep better in cool or hot temperatures?
Does a ball bounce higher on carpet or pavement?
Which food does my dog prefer: dry food from a bag or wet food from a can?
Once scientists have a question, they observe and think to form a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a guess of what the answer to their question might be. My hypotheses are that people sleep better in cool rooms, balls bounce higher on pavement, and my dog will go for the wet food. (Do you agree?)
Now is the fun part: Run an experiment. Scientists must be very careful to organize their experiments so they’re only answering one question at a time.
So, each night for seven nights I offered my dog two types of food at the same time: dry food from a bag and wet food from a can. On six of the nights, he went straight for the wet food. My next step is to analyze the data and check my hypothesis. I was correct! He really does prefer wet food from the can.
Finally, write up the results of the experiment and share it with other scientists. I would invite my friends to repeat the experiment and see what happens. That way we can confirm or disprove my findings. This is how scientists learn from each other. One of the biggest rules about being a scientist is that it’s okay to fail because that is how we learn. (And that’s good advice in lots of areas beyond science!)
What questions are you excited to answer using the scientific method? We can’t wait to see your results at the LPIE Science Fairs in March. We know you will answer some of the most interesting questions in science!
Upcoming LPIE Science Fairs:
Happy Valley Elementary (March 10)
Springhill Elementary (March 22)
Burton Valley Elementary and Lafayette Elementary (March 24)
In addition to the science fairs, LPIE is proud to fund the Science Specialists as well as supplemental LPIE Science Lessons at Lafayette’s four public elementary schools.