Teacher Resources

The Scientific Method: Resources for Teachers

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.

Applying the Scientific Method from PBS Learning Media provides a real-life example of the scientific method in action.

The University of California presents a slightly different approach to the scientific method for educators. It includes an interactive flowchart, teaching resources for different grade levels, and a student journaling tool.

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!

The invention process.

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 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.

This collection of Scientific Method lesson plans, hands-on activities, and virtual labs is a great resource for middle-school teachers. Check out the Scientific Method In Action exercise, the Scenarios Challenge, the Causal Questions flowchart, and the scientific inquiry labs.

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.

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.

It can be fun and motivating for students to learn about things that other kids have invented. 15 modern-day kids' inventions that were turned into real products, and 10 inventions by kids that became commercial successes. Other high-interest subjects for students are inventions created by accident, and inventions specifically for kids.

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? 

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, is designed to encourage creative thinking and the process of invention. This website is fun to explore for adults and kids alike. Check out the topic list. Your students will enjoy the interactive Kid Inventors, Do Try This At Home, Inventor Profiles, and much more.

Kid Info: Inventors and Inventions is a valuable resource with extensive information on African-American and female inventors.

PBS Learning Media's Thomas Edison Collection includes images, videos, classroom support materials, and student readings.

Students can learn all about inventor Ben Franklin at this interactive site from PBS.

Inventions and Inventors: Lesson Plans

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.

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.