Teaching the Scientiific Method
by Judie Haynes
Link your lessons to content area instruction. Learn how to increase your students' academic, thinking and social skills through participation in a school Science Fair.
Teaching the scientific method
Do you want your students to participate in your school's Science Fair? Teach your students the scientific method through Science Fair experiments.
What do students gain from this experience? During a unit on the scientific method and the development of a science fair project, students will:
- Learn the scientific method.
- Gain experience with hands-on learning
- Increase self-esteem and self-confidence
- Have authentic reasons to interact with classmates
- Develop co-operative learning strategies
- Find a real audience for work
- Acquire research skills
- Gain skills in data collection, note taking, outlining
- Develop higher level thinking skills
- Develop oral language skills
How to choose a science fair topic
One of the most challenging parts of this unit is to help each student choose a science fair project that is at their English language level and that are based on science concepts that they can understand. Here are the criteria I use for a Science Fair project:
A. They must choose a testable question. Show examples. Keep successful experiments from previous years as examples.
- Testable question: Which type of water do students like best?
- Non-Testable question. What are different types of flowers?
B. Check the research – Is the topic appropriate for the student's grade and English language level?
C. Does the student have enough time to complete the experiment? This is especially important in experiments with plants.
D. Is there a product that can be shown at the fair?
E. Does the topic make sense for the time of year? Students can't do an experiment requiring that they fly a kite during in all seasons.
F. Can the experiment be conducted in school?
G. Uncomplicated topics are best. Encourage students to pick something simple.
H. Do you, as the teacher, understand the concept behind the experiment?
© 1998-2007 Judie Haynes, www.everythingESL.net