Science Experiments To Teach The Scientific Method – One of the questions I get asked the most when going back to school is “When do we start science?”. I have never met a child who didn’t love science and especially science experiments. These teaching ideas and early-year science activities will help you introduce science into the classroom and lay the foundation for future science lessons.
Most students come to my class knowing what a scientist is and having an idea of what a scientist does. Expand this knowledge by reading books about scientists and the process they use. Take the opportunity to discuss science as knowledge and understanding of our natural world based on the facts scientists learn through observation, experimentation, collaboration, and problem solving.
Science Experiments To Teach The Scientific Method
I like to center my back-to-school science lessons and activities around the questions students have. Every day we have a mini lesson to ask and answer a new question. Students are then paired up for a discussion with a partner to discuss their ideas before returning to the group and sharing them. Some of the questions they discuss include: “What do scientists do?” and “What skills do scientists use to do their jobs?”. Build on this throughout the year as you introduce technology, engineering and math into your science lessons.
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Students are always amazed at all the ways they use science in their everyday lives. Most people have been taught in previous classes that science is all around them, but when you think about the daily impact and get specific, the list is pretty impressive. Students write their ideas on sticky notes and add them to the class chart.
In addition to learning the names of scientific instruments, it is important to teach students their purpose. Many tools can be used for multiple tasks, but some are used specifically for a single task.
Use picture cards to introduce scientific instruments and explain their purpose. “What tools are used to measure?” Help students categorize the tools by asking and “What is used to zoom?”.
At the beginning of the year, and certainly before conducting experiments in the classroom, introduce science safety rules and teach the routines and procedures you will use. Setting expectations at the beginning and reviewing them before each classroom activity and experiment can help avoid accidents, keep behavior under control, and keep things running smoothly.
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As you plan your early-year science activities, create a journaling routine. Whether you use blank composition books or make lesson response journals for each science unit you teach, have students keep a science journal. Students can use them to record new vocabulary, write to explain procedures, take notes, record data, and plan experiments.
Scientists use many processes to test hypotheses and answer questions. The process is a scientific method. Scientists teach students the steps of this method, guiding them as they experiment and test hypotheses. Help students understand that all scientists use this method as an organized and formal way to answer questions and prove or disprove a theory.
While there are many other processes scientists use, including math, engineering, and technology, teaching the scientific method is a great place to start and a solid first step in establishing a foundation you can build on throughout the year.
Conduct a simple science experiment for students to practice the steps and apply what they have learned. This experiment using milk and cookies to explore buoyancy is always a favorite.
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Mini cookies and small cups of milk work well for 2-4 students and the results are not what the kids expected! See more about our milk and cookie float experiment in my classroom.
All of the resources featured in this post are part of my science unit, Introduction to Scientists and the Scientific Method. This unit includes 11 days of detailed lesson plans, a 10-lesson teaching PowerPoint, student journal activities, science extension stations, and 3 science experiments. It has everything you need to get started in science.
Click here for the printable unit and click here for the digital version. Save with a print + digital bundle.
Starting with the basics is beneficial for all students and is a great way to start the year in science. As you plan your back-to-school science activities, I hope these teaching ideas will help you bring science into your classroom and build a foundation for all your future science units.
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Check out our milk and cookies flotation experiment and practice the steps of the scientific method in my classroom!
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I’m Linda Camp, a 20-year elementary teacher with a passion for creating educational materials that excite students and make learning fun! Teaching students about the processes scientists use is an important step in building a science foundation early in the year. In this post, I share a fun and simple science experiment for students to explore buoyancy while learning the steps of the scientific method.
Milk and cookies are all kids’ favorites, so why not use them to teach science? We thought milk and cookies were the perfect ingredients for our first science experiment, and we could eat the leftovers!
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. This experiment allows students to explore why some objects sink and others float while making observations and conducting an experiment.
To introduce the concept of buoyancy, I like to start with a mini lesson and explain additional scientific vocabulary. Laws like molecules, density and buoyancy. I also ask questions. “Why do you think some things float while others sink?” and “How can something as heavy as a cargo ship float across the ocean without sinking?”.
We introduced the questions “Are cookies alive?” and “Do they sink or float in milk?”. Going through the steps of the scientific method, I recorded the questions and guided the students through the systematic steps they would take to find out.
After putting the students into 4 groups, each was given 4 different cookies and 4 cups of milk. I used mini cookies that I found at Walmart and the dollar store.
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Before starting their science experiment, students observed the characteristics of each cookie and recorded them on paper. Then, they predicted whether the cake would sink or float.
When the students conducted their experiments, the results were not always what they expected. Some cookies sank immediately, while others took a while. Students observed which cookies absorbed the milk quickly and which did not.
Students draw their results and discuss why they think each cake sank or floated. Some things students should consider are: the weight of the cake, if air pockets are visible, “does it have 1 or 2 cakes of filling in the middle? And do the chocolate chips sink the cake because of their weight, or do they float because of the oil and fat they contain?
This simple milk and cookie flotation experiment is a great activity for kids that is both fun and teaches the scientific method.
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The PowerPoint lesson and student pages featured in this post are available in the entire Science Unit, Scientists, and Scientific Method.
This unit includes 10 science lessons and teaching PowerPoint and science experiments to introduce your students to scientists, types of science, scientific equipment and safety, and the scientific method. Three science experiments, student journal activities, posters, and anchor charts give you everything you need to start the year as you lay the foundation for future science lessons.
Read this post for lesson ideas and activities to begin teaching the scientific method and building a foundation for science in the classroom.
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I’m Linda Camp, a 20-year elementary teacher with a passion for creating educational materials that excite students and make learning fun!
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