This article explains certain scientific method activities that are useful for high school, middle school, as well as for elementary kids. See below, how teachers and students could possibly work hand-in-hand to use a variety of tools to exercise in the field of science.
“Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers in the preceding generation … As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”
– Noble Prize winning Physicist, Richard Feynman.
The word science does not necessarily mean collecting data, facts, and observations alone, but each time, it is the way of solving the puzzle proposed before you, in every way and pattern that is possible. Humans have developed this superior intellectual activity, in which observing the natural phenomena is necessary and organizing the same information into meaningful outcome is rationality. Such human cognition has led to the discovery of many facts, formulation of laws, principles, and formulas, which are based on those vary facts and beliefs. So, take a look at some scientific method activities, that will definitely help you understand the basics of science and the ways to investigate the natural occurrences. And yes, if some of you kids have been feeling bad about not catching up with science lessons taught by your teachers at school, here is an opportunity to overcome that notion and excel further.
How about giving a small test before reading the article? Take a look and do not peep further down before clearing this test.
According to your comprehension and age, how would you list the following data into a right order? Number them from 1 to 7 in the chronological order.
|Design and Perform the Experiment|
|Communicate the Results|
|Formulate a Hypothesis|
|Define the Question or Problem|
|Gather Data for Analysis (Graphs)|
The table above is a demo to one of the fun ways to represent scientific method activities for kids; which helps them solve these simple procedures to gain the correct solution. Also, it gives them an experience to see that there is more to science as an existence than it being just a subject in school textbooks.
By far, teachers in school teach us the techniques for experimenting and implementing the observations and solve the possible queries relative to it. They teach us to seek for the solutions until we are able to find the answers to the proposed questions. It is the same way scientists use certain techniques to explore, investigate, and study the environment around them. Such a process develops an intellectual ability in human minds to be capable of making new discoveries, understand the immensity of the universe, and modify and restructure the available matter or substance into another form. So, before we delve deeper into this article, let’s take a look at the solution of the above activity.
|Design and Perform the Experiment||4|
|Communicate the Results||7|
|Formulate a Hypothesis||3|
|Define the Question or Problem||1|
|Gather Data for Analysis (Graphs)||5|
Moving further, let us now to take a closer look to some of the activities that involve steps and terminologies for all ages to start with a science experiment or a project. This article will explain the seven steps of the scientific method, which will solve all the school kids difficult doubts and will help them garner knowledge in a much better way.
Seven Scientific Methods
Pose a Clear Question/Problem
Stating a question to the activity is the first basic step to embark on this technique. The question can be anything like, Why, where, how, what, who, and so on. Also, see to it that the question you propose is clear and precise. That would simply reflect that what you are asking is clear to you in the first place. And secondly, see that it makes sense pertaining to what little you already know about the subject. The answers should preferably be in the measurable form like numbers or equations. Try solving your problem through experimentation.
Gain Correct Observations/Research
Now that you have proposed your doubtful questions, it is obvious that finding answers to them will be an itchy feeling for you. So, you will go to acquire observations from various sources, like books from libraries, notes from seniors, internet, etc. Well, honestly, that would help a lot. A student would explore his/her resources to yield a solution to the problems. Using these sources, a thorough research would give the best results and would also eliminate the previous mistakes that were attempted to the technique of problem solving.
Formulate a Hypothesis
Hypothesis is something, which supports words like, ‘it may be’ or ‘possible’ or ‘probably’. Hypothesis is something like a prediction to what you think is the correct solution to your problem. This is preferably a nice way for high school children, where, in accordance to the promotion of their classes year after year, the capacity of them thinking the probable solution to a problem gets progressive. Based on thorough knowledge and research, one can analyze the phenomena of the query, which will of course be conclusive only when there is enough prove to support the facts or statements. An instance of hypothesis: “Suppose more sugar is added to the bread, then what will happen”? Here, students have to figure out what exactly would happen!
Designing and Performing the Experiment through Hypothesis
Well, it is not as simple as it looks to propose a hypothesis. And even if it is, can you prove it? The authenticity of proving the hypothesis definitely needs adequate knowledge to devise an experimentation to carry it out successfully. This can be one of the activities for middle school children where they can design an experiment in such a way that, whether the hypothesis and theory is proven wrong or right shouldn’t matter as much as performing it in the right way should. Now we understand, why were we told to pay utmost attention to science experiments in our school days.
Gather Data for Analysis From The Experiments
Analyzing the data is the second most important step towards working your sweat in determining the experiments. Once you are done performing your experiments, the next step is collecting and constructing all the measurements, evaluations, and recorded numbers or quantities that were formulated during the experimentation. This will help you analyze whether your hypothesis is correct or incorrect. If it is incorrect, you will have to start all over again, and probably then, you would understand the requirement of re-verification and modification process. And if the hypothesis is correct, one has to check and re-check to ensure that the theory and experiment works every single time after the ‘fair test’. Try including parameters, like graphs, factual tables, and sometimes, even photographs.
Draw Specific Conclusions
Conclusions are very necessary while dealing with such activities. It helps a person understand clearly whether the theory exhibits validation or rejection. Thus, try to create a statement to support your hypothesis. Also, while drawing conclusions, students should include recommendations. It shows a very respectable and a matured way of thinking towards the reference and their studies.
Communicate the Results
This is the last and the most crucial part of the completion of the science fair project. Here, the combination of step 5 and 6 is put together. All that is collected, achieved, and deducted can be put across an audience using blackboards or projectors in the form of presentation. A student can even prepare a final report, which can be written and typed in the form of a document. Remember, after you propose your technique to a bunch of people, you will have to brace yourself up to answer their expected questions regarding the same.
Activities for Elementary Education
Making Starry Night Greeting Cards: To show children how to make cards with dazzling stars, giant planets, and constellations, one will have to purchase fascinating art and craft materials to decorate such cards.
Things You Will Need
- Blue or Black Card Stock
- Potatoes (small and large for stamps)
- X-acto Knife
- Kitchen Knife
How To Do It
If you do not mind your child using a tool, i.e., a knife, have him/her cut the different sizes of the potatoes in equal halves. Ask him/her to stencil a sample of a star on the end, which is cut of the small potatoes. Set the potato to dry if its too wet to draw on. Meanwhile, on the larger cut potatoes, the child can draw some stars together, forming a constellation or a galaxy full of stars or so. Now, next step would involve an adult’s supervision, where the potato which is without the star has to be carved having a 3-5mm measurement with the X-acto knife. Later on, let your child fold the card stock in an equal half to create the shape of a greeting card. Once this is ready, he/she can start painting the potato stamp with different vibrant colors using a paintbrush. The final step to this card making is, the stamp stars that are ready should be stamped on the front face of the greeting card in different galaxies or constellation shapes. Make a point that you have some images kept in front of the children to which they can refer to and also encourage them to come up with their own idea.
Other examples that can get elementary kids all fascinated and interactive about science can be:
- Learning shadow science
- Making a milk carton bird house
- Crafting a swan flower planter
- Mapping the Solar system
Activities for Middle School
Making a Homemade Thermometer: Since students of middle school would be learning a lot about thermodynamics, heat, temperature measurements, etc., in the times of their middle school, it will be a good start for them to understand the working of a homemade thermometer apart from the lab thermometer.
Things You Will Need
- Tap Water
- 11-ounce narrow necked clear plastic bottle
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Clear Plastic Drinking Straw
- Red Food Coloring
- Modeling Clay
How To Do It
Fill the bottle to around 1/8 to a ¼ adding equal amounts rubbing alcohol and tap water. To this solution, students have to add a few red food coloring drops and shake the bottle well. Next, put the straw inside the bottle without it touching at the bottom. Seal the neck of the bottle using the modeling clay material. This will help the straw to remain in its place. And, the final step is to run the test. Ask the student to place his/her hands around the bottle and observe the reaction of the mixture in the bottle. Just like other thermometers, there is expansion of the mixture when it is heated. Here, when the water-alcohol mixture expands it travels up through the straw. If the liquid were too hot, it would ooze out. Further, with reference to an actual lab thermometer, students can place it adjacent to the homemade one to note the temperature change.
Apart from this, there can be similar more options, like:
- Understanding how strong a bird’s hollow bones can be
- Making a hanging compass under magnetism act
- Watching acids and bases produce different colors
Activities for High School
The Water Molecule Magic: For high school students, taking science to a whole new level and experimenting with different stuff is quite phenomenal. Here is an activity that matches their age. Since water is a very natural occurring substance for all of us, by now we all know it’s formula, which is H2O, and assertively, the chemistry students can draw the diagram of a water molecule as well. But have we really tried to understand the exclusivity of water? Let’s see it here.
Things You Will Need
- Small Dish
- Dish Soap
- Paper Clips
How To Do It
Fill a clean bowl with water. Throw in some paper clips in that bowl and ask the students to see how many clips can they float. It’ll take some knack and some time to float them, but once they get the hang of it, ask them to start counting. The moment all the paper clips are floating in the bowl, add a few drops of dish soap to the water bowl and observe what happens!? I’ll explain. Water is a molecule, which is polar. In this reaction, two positively charged hydrogen atoms got attached to a negatively charged oxygen atom creating a stable water molecule. Hence, it is not equally divided or shared since they are three. Here, oxygen becomes negative and hydrogen positive. So, what can you relate this to? A magnet, right? A magnet has a north pole-south pole direction, where opposites attract. Well, the same concept occurs in the polar water molecules. A slight positive hydrogen part of the water attracts oxygen as the negative part of the water. This creates a natural attraction between water. So, now you must be wondering what does this have to do with paper clips floating on water? The explanation above supports to the fact that surface tension is created. The action of the clips floating is due to the strong surface tension. As long as the tension is maintained, the clips will float, though, the dish soap molecules consist of dipole-free bodies and also a polar head. Thus, when soap is added to the water bowl they attach themselves towards the water surface reducing the surface tension. That is the main reason, the paper clips sink at the bottom not making the new ones to float on the water.
There are one too many high school method activities for students to explore and increase their knowledge in the field of science. A few notable ones are:
- Staging Your Personal Scientific Debate
- Cartoon Physics
- Getting Hand Prints
- Investigating Household Product Safety
Remember to be open to learning new things and thoughts every time. Be it from a scientist, a teacher, or a student, being curious about education is harmless. You can learn to examine and demonstrate the resources available in your surroundings, and then, you will see how great ideas, the assured solutions, and new generic thoughts, come your way naturally.