Making and testing a hypothesis is an essential aspect of scientific education. Hovering skyscrapers, breathtaking bridges, speedy race cars and vending machines were all designed within the framework of the scientific method. Several classroom activities are available to teach students practical applications of each step of the method.
A great classroom activity on the scientific method is for children to create their own illustrated notebook detailing each step of the method. This activity, geared for elementary and middle school students, helps to individualize the concept, as well as solidify it in their minds. The Proteacher website provides a simple explanation of each step of the scientific method that kids can illustrate, color and place in their notebooks. For an added challenge for older children, assign them to provide examples of a simple science experiment for each step. For example, they can explain how each step functions in an experiment about how sunlight affects plant growth.
High school students will appreciate the hands-on -- and edible -- lesson on the scientific method published on the Science Teacher Program website. Divide your group of high school science students into groups of two or three. Each group gets an unopened bag of M&Ms; or other multicolored candies. Each group of students will decide on a question about its bag of candies that it wants answered. Example questions include, "How many candies are in each bag?" or "How many of each color are in the bag?" The students will guess the answer and then open the bag to collect data. Each group will then share its question, hypothesis and data with the class, although the evidence might be eaten by that time.
Floating Egg Activity
Make the scientific method come to life for middle or high school students by conducting a fun experiment outlined on the Science6 website. Break students into small groups to hypothesize how much salt a cup of water requires to make an egg float. In groups, students will test their hypothesis using graduated cylinders, eggs, water, salt and bowls. During the experiment, students will identify independent and dependent variables and record data. Students not only learn about the scientific method in practice, but also scientific properties like density and mass.
Making slime is a fascinating activity for high school students that allows them to practice the scientific method and have a lot of fun at the same time. The Lesson Plans Inc. website provides a detailed lesson plan outlining each step of the experiment, which calls for students to hypothesize how much of glue, water, Borax and food coloring makes the best slime. Each group will decide how much of each material it will use to make its slime, carefully measure amounts and record data throughout the experiment. Students should be familiar with the terms "viscosity," "quantitative," "qualitative" and also know how to create a pie chart.
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