Friday, June 29, 2012

Teaching the Scientific Method

First week of lessons are officially ready to G.O. Check. In the BAG.  I am super-duper ahead of myself and guess what?! -- it's very liberating!!

My year kicks off with an in-depth look at what the Scientific Method entails. It's very simple to understand, but I think it's extremely important for my scientists to understand WHY it's necessary to develop your own logical and pensive hypotheses and then follow through with the rest of the process. It's also beneficial to see that this scientific method isn't just "more work and writing" for them to do. Because it's REALLY not.

And what better way to kick off the school year than to show the Scientific Method in authentic form?! {Que MythBusters music}. Yes. MythBusters. They are hysterical guys that definitely define the Scientific Method in each and every hilarious episode. I love that show! And I will be playing a portion of one of the episodes for my 5th graders the second day of school. [Note: sometimes, these guys have to be censored for their whoopsies, but you can still show the meat of the episode. Just skip over the whoopsies and play the portion of the episode that shows the question, the hypothesis and then the experiment. MOST episodes don't get crazy until after the experiment is over and then they go berzerk. Those guys!! Ha! Here's a clip from the Mentos and Coke myth.


So you see - they're pretty good to use to demonstrate the Scientific Method. I also created a worksheet that can basically be used for any MythBusters episode. Click right here to download it for yourself.

Just wanted to share because I really thought using a MythBusters episode was a terrific way to show kids the Scientific Method in action. Hope you find it useful!!


15 comments:

  1. That's awesome that you're using Mythbusters to introduce science! It will help kids see that science can be exciting!

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  2. Great lesson idea!! This is the perfect way to provide student's with information that is relevant and engaging for them, good job :)

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  3. Emily I am awarding your blog the Versatile Blog Award! Stop by my blog to learn more about it :)

    Miss L's Whole Brain Teaching

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  4. This is a great idea! I just wrapped up my 1st year of teaching high school biology--but will still spend a good portion of the beginning of the year talking about the scientific method and good experimental design. This is a great idea! Could I borrow this and use it as a starting point for my freshman? I would need to add a few more questions to get my kiddos to think high rigor :)

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  5. You ABSOLUTELY can!! Take it and run with it!! I think it would be PERFECT for high schoolers, too! There are so many episodes on there that you could even tie it in to a specific experiment. Hope your students love it!! Thanks for reading!

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  6. I am so glad I found your blog. I am going back to teaching after being home with my kiddos for 8 years and will be teaching 6th grade science. Your blog has been very helpful to me. Is there a different way to get the Mythbusters worksheet? When I click on the link it says the page doesn't exist.

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  7. Awesome way to start the school year! I am an after-school science teacher and would love to model this. Is it okay that I use it?

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  8. nice work... the Mythbusters connection is a great one and I wish the show existed in back in my grade school days. Please do not stop there. Based on my experience, even being in the 'geek' crowd in school and life, the 'scientific method' is most often presented as specific steps, but not understood at its most basic level as a tool to avoid bias (personal, institutional, or otherwise) to learn about the natural world. The disclaimer might be that "your specific steps and order of the steps may vary". I most often hear the scientific method related to only 'the steps', and not understood as a tool in itself, with the steps and their order of use subject to variation depending on what is being studied.

    It may be that elementary school students do not need to grasp the whole point while being introduced to science, but their educators need to keep the end game in mind. I've seen much confusion and misunderstanding even in science classes and regional science fairs about what science is, possibly too much emphasis on 'proving' the hypothesis (possibly too similar to the institutional/test paradigm of 'correct' answers).
    Reaching a negative result is the bread and butter of science, and Mythbusters does a good job of emphasizing the 'busted' hypothesis. Please keep up the good work and keep going so your students learn to trust the process and not the answer.



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  9. Such an awesome idea! This theory is also supported by a research done by a physicist in North Carolina. Can I use it to to introduce the concept of scientific inquiry to my students?

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    1. YES!! Absolutely! Have fun with it! I'm actually going to use this again this year because it was such a hit last year. Enjoy!!

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  11. Hi! I am a first-year 5th grade science teacher! I would absolutely love using this as a way to aid in explaining scientific method. May I use it for my kiddos??

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  12. Could you please email me a copy of the worksheet. When I click on the link to download it, it says that it is not found. My email is stephaniebutler002@gmail.com

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  13. I cannot download the link. Can you please email me a copy of the worksheet? My email is khale@hfmboces.org Thank you!

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