Working scientists discuss how they use the scientific method in their work in this video from PBS Learning Media. This shows real-life application for students who have been introduced to the basic steps.
Steps of the Scientific Method for grades 5-8 offers in-depth exploration of each step, examples, design help, and educator tools for teaching. A flow chart emphasizes that results and new information may require backing up and repeating some steps.
Even very young children can learn the instinctive steps of the scientific method and begin to "think like a scientist." Early childhood educators will want to take a look at the PBS Ruff Ruffman collection as Ruff models scientific inquiry skills, takes on challenges, and learns the value of failure. Also check out these ideas for using the scientific method with preschool, kindergarten, and first grade students. You may want to use this Scientific Method song from PBS Kids.
Developing the skills to "think like a scientist" is crucial for students preparing for future study and careers. PBS Learning Media has a multi-part program for elementary teachers, based on the You At The Zoo video series that models educators utilizing the scientific method and inquiry in the classroom. Take a look:
Part of the Scientific Method is efficiently recording questions, hypotheses, experiments, results, and conclusions. Check out these useful resources to help teachers incorporate the use of STEM notebooks or lab notebooks in their classrooms.
Scientific Method: Lesson Plans
The Science Spot provides an excellent lesson plan for teaching and using the Scientific Method. The lesson includes useful templates for implementing the method, an experiment for practicing the scientific method, SpongeBob Science worksheets, and extension activities.
In I Am A Scientist, designed for grades 1-2, children learn about the scientific method while practicing the skills of questioning, predicting, experimenting, writing, and sharing. It includes a Scientific Method graphic organizer to be used with five simple experiments.
The Scientific Process, from PBS Learning Media, is a complete lesson plan for grades 5-7 where students make observations, develop a hypothesis, and test their hypothesis to see how well it holds up in light of the evidence they collect.
From Arizona State University, Introducing Students to the Scientific Method includes teaching tips and a game activity where students must connect their problem-solving steps to the scientific method as they figure out a mystery.
The Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project has several lesson plans designed to give students practice with the scientific method. Lessons address process more than content and focus on asking questions for investigations, experimental design, variables, data collection and analysis, and stating conclusions. For K-2 students, the You Are A Scientist lesson gives practice in observing and recording data. 3rd-6th grade students use the Scientific Method in various areas of science, including chemistry, electromagnetism, mechanics, force and motion, and biology. For middle school students, a Consumer Testing lesson gives students experience using the scientific method in practical applications.
This multimedia site for your smartboard could be used to provide graphics as you introduce or review the Scientific Method, or it could be used for individual study.
Inventions and Inventors: Resources for Teachers
You'll find videos about life-changing inventions, stories about famous inventors, and discussions of innovative technology at this history of inventions site.
Keeping kids excited about inventions is a key to continued engagement. Consider showing a brief video clip each day of a fascinating new invention. Can sound be used to put out fires? Can a teddy bear help migrant kids stay safe? Can a reverse vacuum keep a cat from wandering?
PBS's Design Squad has an educators' page with lesson plans, teachers' guides, activities and videos aimed at middle-school students. Of particular interest is Invent It - Build It, a comprehensive teacher's guide with six invention challenges intended to foster creative thinking, problem-solving, and engagement in the design process. You'll love using this excellent resource in your classroom.
The Tech Museum of Innovation has a terrific collection of engaging lesson plans to help you lead your students through design and invention challenges. Lessons are aligned with standards for grades 3-12.
How can failure lead to success? In this lesson plan from National Geographic, students investigate the role of perseverance in the invention process by exploring several items that were invented by accident.
In this interactive activity from Scholastic, students conduct a virtual interview with inventor Ben Franklin and write a news story.
This Scholastic lesson plan on the invention of the bicycle emphasizes that every invention depends on smaller inventions before it. It's a Whatchamacallit challenges students to create an original invention that solves a common problem.
Once students understand the invention process, have your class try some of these design challenges from ZOOM and from NASA. In each case, encourage them to evaluate and improve upon their design as they follow and repeat the steps.