Students in 2nd grade KIND OF know what the Scientific Method is or have done some steps of it at least in other grades or projects, but I've never had anyone that can tell me all or most of the steps when I'm ready to introduce the topic. Just giving them a list of the steps means nothing to them. They can't see it in a tangible way. So one way that I love to allow students to lead their own learning - especially when it is time for the Science Fair, is to do a whole class experiment going through each step and creating a mock mini Science Fair board. Working in small groups, they make their way through each of the Scientific Method steps, through out the week and at the end, have a board that they have created on their own. This gives them a great stepping off point to go home and be able to do the real Science Fair experiment and set up without their parents doing ALL the work.. ;)
To introduce the scientific method. I showed them the amazing Youtube video by Have Fun Teaching It's the Scientific Method Rap! They love it and we watch it over and over. The students learn the steps pretty quickly this way.
First we set up the mock board. Everyone gets to make their own so they can take it home and have a sample. The boards I got were from Michaels and they came in a pack of 5. I think it was under 3 dollars. Don't forget to use the 40 percent off coupons and teacher's discount!
Next, we folded the board into three sections to resemble a trifold board, and then we set up the labels and added the sticky notes. I used sticky notes under the headings because it was quick, colorful, and fit very nicely into the small poster sized boards.
All the kids do the same experiment but work in groups. Their task to see which type of gum will make the biggest bubble. It's a pretty simple and straight forward experiment. They had to come up with the title of their experiment, write out the question that they want to solve, list the materials they were given, and come up with a procedure of how they would solve this problem.
For the hypothesis, I told the students to decide with an educated guess which type of gum; chewing or bubble (Juicy Fruit or Bubble Yum), would make the biggest bubble. They HAD to tell me why they thought that because it must be an educated guess. I liked some of their responses such as "I think the bubble gum would make the biggest bubble because it is bigger and has more sugar." Well, most kids chose the bubble gum, but two did choose chewing gum! Then we came up with the procedure and materials (gum and ruler). Only 5 kids in my class could blow a bubble. So I made 5 groups of 5 or 6. Everyone got to chew the gum, but the bubble blower in each group would be in charge of making the bubbles, and the rest of the group mates would take turns measuring the bubble from side to side in c.m. They had to do the trial 5 times and record the results for each type of gum. Then, we regrouped, analyzed our results and realized that bubble gum was the overall winner, and came up with our conclusion of whether their hypothesis was correct or not.
Here are some pictures of how one board board looked like at the end:
Warning: realllllly poor picture quality headed your way...
Ok, FREEBIE TIME!! So the labels I quickly created for my class were kind of dull. I spruced them up. I included colored and black and white versions. Also, if you decide not to do the sticky note method, I provided blank boxes you can glue under the headings where the kids can write down their notes. There is also a blank label for a title. Included subtitles are: observations, background information, question, hypothesis, materials, procedure, data, trials 1, 2, and 3, analyze data, conclusion, bibliography, and acknowledgements I didn't use ALL of these labels on the board, but you can choose what will work for you. Click on the first picture to get you to the product! Enjoy!
I've also created a set of Scientific Method Posters and more that you can check out.