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Teaching the Scientific Method

January 27, 2014

Radha is 5, I can’t believe it! I will post pictures of her recent Rainbow party soon…or…one of these days… =)

In the meanwhile, I am really enjoying her curiosity in learning how the world around her works, and using that excitement to teach her the scientific method.  It’s never too early, right?

SOOO….the other day we were talking and wondering if water gets bigger or smaller or stays the same size when it freezes?

Radha helped me design the following experiment (I have been trying to emphasize that whenever you do an experiment, you should define your question, and make a hypothesis about the result of the experiment):

Question: What happens to the volume/size in a cup of water and milk when they freeze?

Radha’s hypothesis: Water will get bigger, milk will stay the same (really, these were her guesses!)

We poured 1/2c of water and milk into glass measuring cups.

Thanks to the ridiculously cold weather we have been having lately, we were able to just put them outside in the snow to let them freeze.

While we were waiting, Radha drew her observations in her journal.

We also talked about how it is important to write down what your question is, what your hypothesis is (neither of these happened…), to record the steps of your experiment and make measurements (there is a “1/2” written there if you can make it out, but the 2 is on top and the 1 on bottom =), and then to label the different things in your pictures (she spelled out water and milk herself…with a little guidance. otherwise she would have written “wader and mik”).

The next morning, our cups looks like this!

RESULTS (these have yet to be recorded in the journal, since we looked this morning before school):

Water increased to about 3/4 cup (the container was slightly slanted outside, so the level is a little difficult to interpret)

And the milk also increased, but not as much

Radha also noted that the milk was very slimy, and the water was melting faster than the milk

Here is a little vide of her describing her experiment.

Radha’s experiment video

Hope this gives you ideas of some projects to do with your kiddos!

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