So I seem to be on a science kick with my posts lately. To be fair, that whole eclipse day kinda demands a science focus. It was cool, but I’m glad it’s over – having 30,000 extra people cramps my style. I’m a small-town girl and I like it that way! Crowds of people just aren’t my “thing.”
Sandwiched around our eclipse activities, I have been teaching my new kiddos about the scientific method. (Raise your hand if you have your students’ names memorized by the end of day one…you better not be raising that hand!!!) I wanted to teach it right away so that with every unit we progress through, we could reinforce the steps and (fingers crossed) it would somehow penetrate their skulls come May. #hope
Last spring I shared a set of posters that outlines the particular steps my district has decided truly defines the scientific method. There are several variations, and it all pretty much says the same thing, but the perfectionist in me wanted to be all matchy-matchy with everyone else in my district.
Last month (‘cuz a teacher’s life isn’t all sunshine and water parks!) I made a PowerPoint presentation and the cutest flipbook to go with my posters. My plan is to make the flipbooks and go through the PowerPoint together. Students will write notes in their flipbooks from the presentation. It includes lots of definitions (those tricky, seldom used academic vocab), details to remember, and clues to help them memorize the steps.
Experiments to Practice the Scientific Method
Following that download of basic info, it’s time to practice! I thought it would be fun to do a few easy-peasy science experiments. The focus here is not so much the experiments themselves (that’s why they’re easy), but as a chance for kids to use the steps. This is the application part of our learning process. I will demonstrate the example used throughout the PowerPoint as I model not only the scientific method but also basic safety and behavior expectations. (You want to eat the baking soda? Nope!) I’m not sure how much time we’ll have to do all of these experiments. It can be hard to judge that sort of thing early in the school year.
Experiment #1 ~ Do Candy Bars Float?
- Students drop various brands of “fun size” candy bars in water to see which, if any, float.
- Items Needed: A selection of different candy bars, containers of water (gather enough for groups of 4 or 5 students).
Experiment #2 ~ What Melts in the Sun?
- Students observe a variety of small objects to see which, if any, melts in direct sunlight.
- Items Needed: Gather 4 items (some that will definitely melt and others that will not) and place in standard muffin tins (for easy observation and clean up). Have enough for groups of 4 students.
Experiment #3 ~ What Melts Ice Faster?
- Students observe which substance, if any, will melt ice the fastest.
- Items Needed: Ice cubes, small bowls or cups, baking soda, salt, and water. Gather enough supplies for students to work in groups of 4.
Experiment #4 ~ What Happens to Gummy Bears?
- Students observe the effects of various substances on gummy bears.
- Items Needed: 4 small bowls, 4 gummy bears per group, water, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Probably some spoons, too, for students to add their substances to the bowls. Plan on having enough for students to work in teams of 4.
Videos to Teach the Scientific Method
Finally, in between these fun projects, we will watch a few short videos about the scientific method. Hopefully, I’m including information in a variety of formats that will enable all my learners to be successful.
Scientific Method Song – Jack Hartmann
The Scientific Method – Khan Academy
I’m including lots of free resources in today’s post to help you get started with your own students. Click on the links below to grab what you need. Happy Teaching!