Sunday, February 6, 2011

Learning the Order of the Scientific Method

 Putting in order the steps of the scientific method

One of the things we have been learning about in our biology lessons is the definition of hypothesis, theory, and scientific law.

With a hypothesis being an educated guess, a theory being a hypothesis that has been tested with a significant amount of data, and a scientific law being a theory that is consistent with generations of data. On a side note, we have also discussed how even if something is a "scientific law", that does not necessarily mean we have "proved" it. Many, many "scientific laws" of the past have been overturned by new data, and many more of today will be found false in the future. Simply put, science has it's limits, and we can never truly say that science has "proved" a fact. Science is wonderful, but isn't the "god" that humanistic cultures make it out to be.

Nonetheless, this lead us to explore the steps that one takes to test a hypothesis ("like a real scientist") and how a hypothesis, through many generations of testing and collecting data, can turn into a scientific law.

I made a puzzle of the six steps of the scientific method and, as usual, it was presented with great fanfare and anticipation of the "secret steps that real scientists use" and, quite frankly, he loved it.

We discussed each step and what it meant, this time using the example of something very simple - wondering whether or not blocks would float in water. We went through each step using block floating as an example of what we wanted to find out. (Hunter's hypothesis is that it depends on what kind of block it is)

Then we practiced mixing up all the pieces and putting them back in order. We also "chanted" to steps, hoping to aid in auditory memory - "The Scientific Method: purpose, research, hypothesis, experiment, analysis, conclusion!"

Not too original I know, but it'll hopefully get the job done.

Here is a printable of the puzzle we used, this time with a "board" to match the tiles to the correct number. Enjoy!
Scientific Method Puzzle

"That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not."
Judges 2:22

Hunter is 5 years, 10 months old

1. Wow. I'm too big of a nerd, I guess, but I love your blog. It's one of the first sites I check each morning, lol.

I hope I have children some day and that we have as much fun and love for each other as you and Hunter do. Its so motivating for me to

2. Your game looks very cool. I'll have to save it for when my kids are a little more ready for it.

3. Um... this is just cool.

4. Wow! Totally awesome printable! I already made a copy for my kids! Thanks for sharing!

Jessy - Science Sunday
http://oursideofthemtn.blogspot.com

5. I'm just wondering, are you planning to HomeSchool Hunter long term? and if so, for how long and why? (I'm pretty sure I could at least guess at some of the reasons)

Would you do a (series of) posts on what you're planning for your sons Elementary education

6. @she_the_founder,

Thanks for your interest! A post like that has been on my "to-do" list for a long time actually!

I am planning on homeschooling "all the way through", God willing. There are a lot of reasons for this, among them are all the politics and bureaucracy with the public education system, and the lack of values in the said system. But my main reason is that I just really enjoy being with my son, and can't imagine leaving his education to anyone else. I just love the opportunity to be able to teach him academics and virtues in the course of day to day life and be able to cover so much more than an over-extended teacher, and I can't really imagine sending him off to someone else to teach him these things for 8 hours a day.

The older he gets the more outside help we will likely be recruiting, such as taking courses at a community college or vocational opportunities, etc. My current plan is for him to do college and high school at the same time, starting sometime between the ages of 10-13, with something like CollegePlus! (collegeplus.org) A lot of homeschool kids are earning their bachelor's degrees by 16 to 18 and these are kids who didn't even have any kind of "early" schooling, it seems pretty simple and common sense to me, as well as cost and time saving. That is the plan at the moment at least, we will see where it goes!

But anyway this comment is turning into a post of its own, looking forward to writing more about it, but thanks again for your interest!