It is easy to get confused and think that the scientific method is only something science teachers make you do in school or what the pros use in labs looking for cures to diseases. But the steps to the scientific method need to be followed no matter what kind of experiment is being done. So many kids think the the most important thing is the answer that they get from the experiment, but really, it is how carefully you do it. The answer is not any good to you if the procedures that were followed were flawed.
The whole point of a science experiment is to try to show that an idea you came up with about your science topic is either going to work, or it wont' work. Following the steps to the scientific method is the only way to do that and have your results mean anything. What is does is make sure your experiment is focused one one specific area, that there are not too many variables and the results are based on the data you gathered.
Quick and easy science fair projects need the same care and attention that long complicated ones do.
Here are the steps to the Scientific Method that most kids science experiments will use:
Observe- You notice what is going on around you in general and come up with ideas. In school you might be assigned an element of nature, chemistry to observe before an experiment is assigned.
Question- Observations will bring on quite a few questions about how or why things are.
Hypotheses- You take the questions and predict possible reasons, answers or solutions. These should be educated guesses and not wild ones.
Experiment- You set up an experiment to test out whether your prediction will come true, or if it will not work out. You keep track of the data, so you can later analyze it.
Results- You take the data you gathered and come up with some conclusions. Did you show that your solution to a question was right?
All science teachers train students to use the steps to the scientific method from their first science experience in kindergarten and build on it each year until they follow the formal experiment format in higher grades. Quick and easy science fair projects that can be completed in one day or over a weekend can be fun, but to be effective they need to follow these steps.
All you have to do when looking for science fair projects for kids to do at home, is take a close look at the directions and make sure these steps are included. It should even state the scientific method was used up front. Once that is set, you should be good to go with any experiment you choose, from the simplest quick and easy science fair projects to the most complex.
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