What is the Scientific Method?
The Scientific Method is a simple and effective way for scientists (and pupils!) to study and learn about the world.
What are the five parts of a science experiment?
There are more than five parts of a science experiment, but for younger children, it’s best to stick to the first five! Once they understand and remember these, it’ll be much easier to teach them the next steps. Here are the five main stages of the Scientific Method:
- Observation – Observe something happening in the world.
- Question – Ask a question based on the word.
- Hypothesis – Formulate a theory of why this observed event happens.
- Method – How are you going to find out the answer?
- Results – What happened? Was your hypothesis correct? Or did something else happens?
The observations about the world can be open-ended; this part of the experiment is important for getting children curious about their surroundings! In this dissolving experiment, the word could be:
- Some solid materials dissolve in water.
There can be no experiment without question! If observation makes children curious, questions make them interested and more curious. Questions make children analytical of their surroundings. It’s good to let children come up with their questions, so the more open-ended the observation is, the better! For our example, we could ask a simple question such as:
- Which solids dissolve in water?
This is where you’d challenge your children to come up with an answer to the question. Ask them to finish the sentence: “I think…”. The hypothesis step of the scientific method nurtures the children’s rationale and problem-solving abilities. So what hypotheses can we come up with for our experiment? Maybe:
- I think Sand won’t dissolve.
- I believe Sugar will dissolve.
- I think Coffee will dissolve.
How are you going to test out your hypotheses? This is when your children get hands-on and do the experiment! Maybe you could challenge your pupils to come up with their method. But, of course, there are tried and tested methods for most simple experiments. Twinkl’s downloadable science experiment resources include an effective way to conduct the investigation. So what could the dissolving experiment’s method be? You guessed it:
- Add some solid material to water (hot and cold) to see whether it dissolves.
So what happened after you did your method? Did the experiment produce the results that your children thought would happen? Or were they surprised to observe something different happen? Not only can you verbally discuss the results with the class, but it’s a fantastic idea to record them in a book! You should record the results and every part of the experiment.
For our dissolving experiment, we could record results such as:
- My hypothesis was (correct/incorrect). As a result of the investigation, I learned that sugar dissolves in hot and cold water. But it dissolves more quickly in hot water.
What’s the history of the Scientific Method?
Francis Bacon (Philosopher) is thought to have recorded the scientific method sometime between 561–1626. That said, the method wasn’t invented and has been used since ancient civilizations. So even though the parts of a science experiment usually include the five we discussed earlier, the full scientific method is disputed. This is why you’ll hear different versions depending on who you ask! Other famous figures who contributed to today’s understanding of the method were René Descartes and Isaac Newton.
Common Errors in Science Experiments
- One of the most Common Errors in Science Experiments is human error. This means that the person experimenting does something wrong during the experiment or when they record the results. For example, registering a measurement wrongly.
- Another is when there is a flaw in the design of the experiment. For example, tools that provide incorrect results.
- Environmental conditions also lead to errors in science experiments, like the room’s temperature affecting the materials used.