Saturday, January 28, 2012

Scientific Method

Nugget has decided that she wants to enter the science fair that one of our homeschool co-ops is putting on next month. You have to format your entry around the scientific method, so we studied that today.

I put 2 cups in front of Nugget, one blue and one purple. I said that I was going to put water in both, and that the question we were going to try to answer was which cup had hot water and which had cold water.

Nugget formed a hypothesis (that the blue cup had the cold water). We talked over the method we'd use -- I asked Nugget how she might test it, and what senses she could use. She came up with:

1. Feel the cups.
2. Feel the water in the cups.
3. Look at the water in the cups.

We then did the experiment. We felt the cups, felt the water, and looked at the water (and saw ice in one).

We recorded our observations, then came up with a conclusion. Her hypothesis turned out to be wrong -- the purple cup had cold water!

Nugget got a huge kick out of this, and asked to do more. So we did an experiment using the scientific method to see what happened when you mixed the hot and cold water.

And then she spent the rest of the day laying out experiments.

As I was in the bathroom, I hear, "I wonder what will happen if I leave this red block outside the door..... my hypothesis is that Mommy will step right over it! (....) My hypothesis was wrong! Mommy picked the block up!"

As I'm cleaning the dining room -- "My question is, what will happen if I lay in the middle of the floor when Mommy is cleaning? .... My hypothesis was right! Mommy stepped right over me!"

I made sure to emphasize to Nugget that scientists are ok with it if their hypothesis is wrong. I wanted her to know that it's not a sign of anything bad to come to a different conclusion; in fact, that's an important part of science!
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