Spring is right around the corner. For many parents and students, that means one thing. A science fair is coming! Science fairs seem to be a right of passage for a young scientist with exploding volcanoes, homemade rock candy, a clean water experiment, and other simple experiments that normally fill table after table in an elementary gym or cafeteria. You’ll need this free scientific method worksheet for kids.
Many schools are requiring a little more scientific knowledge when it comes to a science fair project and are asking kids to use each step of the scientific method when completing a project. Here are the basics of the scientific method to help make science experiments easier for you and your child.
Steps of the Scientific Method
When implementing the scientific method at home (or in Science class), you want to follow a couple of steps to ensure your child can gather all the information they need for their own experiments.
There are six steps to the scientific method:
- Make an Observation
- Ask a Question
- Form a Hypothesis
- Test Your Hypothesis
- Observe Results
- Form Conclusion
The “seventh” step is called feedback. This is where you look at all the data, your conclusion, etc., and develop a new question or changes you’d like to make. This step leads back to step one, where you make a new observation and repeat the process.
Step 1: Make An Observation
The first step is when you start to look at the world around you and notice things. Maybe you notice that one paper airplane flew further than the other. You may even do a little bit of research during this step. Maybe you notice the paper airplane designs are different, or one has a bent wing while the other doesn’t.
Step 2: Ask a Question
Next, you are going to ask a question. For young scientists, a question can have a simple yes or no answer. For older scientists, the question should be a little more in-depth.
You may decide to ask a question like what amount of water is the best to help grass seeds grow? Or what paper airplane design flies the furthest?
Step 3: Form a Hypothesis
The next step in the scientific method is to create a hypothesis. A hypothesis is an assumption or idea that you can test in an experiment or study. A very important thing to remember is a hypothesis is something you can test.
You are also using your research and observations to help form this hypothesis. A hypothesis for the airplanes may be that airplanes with bent wings do not fly as far as airplanes with straight wings or that grass seeds need more water than other seeds to grow. Both of these hypotheses can be tested.
Step 4: Perform an Experiment
Now, you get to experiment. We have a free scientific method worksheet (below) that is great for this step. It allows you to list all the materials you’ll need to perform the experiment. As well as a place to list the process or the steps taken during the experiment. This is important because a controlled experiment is a better experiment.
If your child is older, you may want them to add a little more to this step. They may want to think about the independent variable and the dependent variables. What needs to stay constant in order to test the hypothesis?
Step 5: Results
After you start the experiment, you want to observe what is happening. This is where you are going to collect data, take notes, etc. You want to ensure your child has detailed information while the experiment is taking place. Children should be looking at the control group and the experimental group while they are observing and recording results. This makes the following step easier for everyone. Without observations and results of the experiment, the scientific method can not be completed.
Step 6: Conclusion
This last step is where analyzing data and data analysis comes into play. Looking at the observations and results, you’ll need to determine if the beginning hypothesis was supported or not.
A conclusion is centered around a hypothesis and the conclusion pretty much answers the question, was the hypothesis supported or not supported? A wrong hypothesis does not mean the experiment wasn’t performed right or was a bad experiment.
Step 7: Feedback
Going through the scientific method steps one at a time, testing your first hypothesis doesn’t mean you have to be done. During the experiment, you may make new observations and develop new questions. That’s what science is all about. The feedback step is where you loop back up and create a new question or new hypothesis and try the experiment in another way.
This step does not need to happen every time. It’s just an extra fun way you and your child can do it if you are still interested in the experiment and want to try something different.
Scientific Method Worksheet
A great way to ensure children use the steps of the scientific method is to have a worksheet that breaks down each step, and the child just needs to fill it out as they complete each step.
Download and Print the FREE Scientific Method Worksheet
The scientific method is an important part of every science experiment and it’s a great way for children to have the opportunity to become little scientists. The six steps of the scientific method are easy to follow and can be used for almost all science experiments.
Now, your next science fair project will not only be a fun experience for your child and you, but it will be a learning opportunity too!
Need an idea or inspiration to get you started for the Science fair? Here’s a collection of Science Fair projects that kids love.
Did you wait until the last minute? Don’t worry, we have you covered! Check out our last minute Science Fair projects.
If you are working with plants, check out our list of fastest growing seeds and experiments to do with them.