I have mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again…I am not a fan of science. I loved learning it growing up, but honestly most of it didn’t stick. It was fascinating, but my brain just didn’t keep that information stored away. Or at least not where I could find it!
However, as a homeschool mom I have learned more and even enjoyed it. I now see the importance and relevance of science and want nothing more than my own children to enjoy it too. My oldest is a Science and Discovery channel junkie. He has several seasons of How it’s Made on DVD and even some Mythbusters seasons too. Those are probably his favorite shows, but he really does enjoy all aspects of science.
During the elementary years we are pretty laid back for most of our subjects, including science. As I mentioned, I don’t remember much from my own science classes growing up, so I want that to be different for my kids. I want it to be fun and relative to their lives so it sticks, which means we are more unschooling when it comes to science.
For instance, when we started traveling a few years ago, science was about the constellations they could see at night. Or the leaves, plants and flowers they found on a hike or playing in the park. When they saw animal tracks, we learned what they were and researched the animal(s). It has been so fun to see their eyes light up with excitement as they discover something new that we then learn about more.
The Scientific Method
Even though I didn’t particularly like science, I loved doing experiments. One of my favorite things to do was work through the Scientific Method. I think I liked it because there were clear cut instructions and steps to follow. It made sense and stuck to the order. What I want my kids to know about the Scientific Method is that it can be applied to just about anything you want to learn and it takes a hands-on approach.
So of course we needed a printable notebook to use during our experiments and to record our research. This 5-page printable Scientific Method Notebook pack includes a cover sheet and recording sheets for each step of the process.
Create Your Question & Hypothesis
The first step is to create your question. Have your kids write down several questions they have always wondered. Then you can narrow it down from there. Start with something they’ve always wanted to know like “does anything make water freeze faster or slower”? Or “where does a bean plant grow better – indoors or outdoors”? They can ask questions about other household products they use daily (toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, etc.) or about something bigger that might affect more than just themselves.
Once a question is decided then its time to write out a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a possible answer to the question asked. The nice thing is, this answer doesn’t have to be right, but it should be formed by what is already known about the subject in question. Your kids should like this step, because its okay if they’re wrong.
Set up the Experiment & Procedure
Once you have established the question and formed a hypothesis, it’s time to get experimenting. Setting up an experiment (or two or three) to accurately determine the results is also part of the fun. More than likely it will take several experiments to find the answer to your question. You may even need to add more experiments as you go along and see different results, which may bring up more questions. It’s all part of the process.
The important thing to remember about experiments is that you need to only change one variable at a time – otherwise the results can be skewed and inaccurate. For instance, if you’re testing what makes water freeze faster you will need to fill glasses with the same amount and temperature of water and place them in relatively the same space in the freezer to watch. Then you will check them regularly to see which one freezes faster.
NOTE: Don’t overfill one glass and don’t place them in opposite areas of the freezer or your results might not be very accurate, which will sway the results.
Record Your Observations
As you work through the experiments, you’ll want to encourage students to record their results. This can be anything from slight changes in the water temperature due to an added substance or discoloration that might affect the freezing. You will also want to write down differences in the experiment as you regularly check on your subject. Whether it be every 15 minutes to monitor the freezing of water or daily to record the growth rate of your sprout.
Not only can kids write down what they see, they can even draw the changes. This is a great way to help kids see the differences long after the experiment ends. Sometimes its hard to see the differences when they are very slight, but as you go back and look at the drawings you might see several changes you almost missed!
Share the Results
Once you complete your observations, you’ll need to gather all the data (daily records, drawings, etc.) and share the results (or conclusion) of your experiment. This can be done in written form or with drawings, or anything that shares the results clearly. As you share the results, it is important to notate your hypothesis, what experiments you did to test the hypothesis, your observations during the experiments and the results based on the tests.
Sharing the results can be as simple or elaborate as you want. You can go big like you would for a science fair project or as small as a 2-page paper with all the information in research paper format.
Check out all our other Science Printables!
The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book100+ Fun STEM / STEAM Projects and Why They WorkCece Loves ScienceIndescribable: 100 Devotions for Kids About God and ScienceThe Way Things Work NowMistakes That Worked: 40 Familiar Inventions & How They Came to BeAwesome Physics Experiments for KidsKitchen Science Lab for Kids: 52 Family Friendly ExperimentsLearn & Climb Kids Science Kit – Over 60 Experiments
The 5-page Scientific Method Notebook printable pack includes a cover page and four pages for recording each step of the scientific method. These printable pages can be used over and over for each experiment your kids want to conduct. Before you know it, they will want to do experiments just to use these adorable pages!
Download the Scientific Method Notebook Printable Pack
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