What do scientists do that is so special?
These articles and resources link with classes 1 and 2 of my Young Scientists course. Unlike my usual lists of resources, these are largely aimed at parents and teachers. There are many texts for reading, with a few lesson plans in there.
If anyone has any good resources that specifically deal with the scientific method and are not articles, blog posts or lesson plans, then please let me know.
1.What is science?
The Understanding Science site from the University of California at Berkeley is a great resource. Here’s their article about what science is.
I’ve used their Mystery Boxes activity a few times and still think it is a good one.
Also see their science checklist here .
2. What do scientists look like?
Let’s get rid of the awful stereotypes of mad, male, white, geeky scientists in white lab coats with glasses and crazy hair. Yes, some scientists fit the stereotype, but science is far more applicable and accessible than that. Here are some pictures of real scientists in many different fields, and information on PBS Kids about what they do in their jobs.
There’s also a blog called Real Scientists which I’d love to recommend but I don’t think it’s particularly child friendly, unless your child doesn’t mind wading through piles of text. Maybe try looking at the tags #realscientistsofInstagram or #womeninscience on Instagram.
3. Benefits of science
Science impacts all of our lives. You can’t be a ‘science skeptic’, even if you claim not to understand science, because science, and the benefits of science are all around us. (Another page from the University of Berkeley’s Understanding Science website.)
Maybe you could play an informal game with your child where you both think of any area of life and say how science helps us in that area. For example, science helps us to play sports not only by understanding how our body works and how nutrition fuels our muscles, but also by understanding the psychology of visualisation.
4. The scientific method
Science Buddies have an overview with resources and free printable poster. (The image below just shows a section of the poster.)
I also liked this explanation by Alina Bradford on livescience.com.
“Science is a systematic and logical approach to discovering how things in the universe work. It is also the body of knowledge accumulated through the discoveries about all the things in the universe.”
“How to Make your Science Project Scientific.” This book was great last year for teaching my 10 year old about the scientific method, although it is very wordy with few diagrams or pictures.
5. Asking questions
Read this article from The Guardian (Jan 2014).
6. Quantitative vs qualitative observations
There’s a good lesson here on Teachers pay Teachers.
This cartoon video is a bit annoying but does emphasise the difference between quantitative and qualitative measurements
7. Forming hypotheses
The science kids at home website has a clear and simple explanation of hypotheses.
Here is an activity linked to the ‘Dinosaur Train’ TV program, for younger children, but with adaptation or extension ideas for older children.
Note that the hypothesis formed must be testable and falsifiable. In my classes I ask the children to predict not only what will happen if their hypothesis is correct, but what will happen if their hypothesis is incorrect.
What do you think?
Were these links helpful? I’d love to know what you use to help your primary children understand the scientific method.