Science is all about classification, organization, and thinking that involves critical and logical skills. One of the most important steps that we as homeschooling parents can teach our children is how to use the Scientific Method. Not only is teaching the Scientific Method a required process in education, but also it is also a very useful process that when developed, can enhance a child’s thinking and reasoning skills. By empowering children to use the scientific method, they can begin to explore their world and their surroundings while asking appropriate questions that will develop their critical thinking.
The Scientific Method may be described in the following steps:
Observation, Question, Hypothesis, Prediction, Experiment, Analysis, and Decision or Conclusion.
The first step is Observation; this means that you are to observe the world around you. It is the simplest form of science and involves using your senses. Observation is more than just “what you see” but it encompasses all of your senses at once. As a teacher, you can encourage your children to “observe” and then lead them into the next step, “Question”.
After Observation, Question comes into play. This is the step where children naturally excel. When teaching the Scientific Method, encourage children to ask as many questions as possible after they have made careful observations. No matter what age your child is, you can use the Scientific Method to help them discover their world and develop very important reasoning skills. Don’t ever discourage children from asking questions, this is a wonderful way for children to learn.
After children have formulated questions from careful observations, then they will form a Hypothesis. A Hypothesis is an educated guess that will answer questions. You should help the children write down their Hypotheses on paper before moving on to Prediction.
Predication is simply encouraging children to think about what the outcome will be when they conduct their final experiments. You will also need to help children conduct an experiment that will test their predictions. Along with experiment is a careful analysis of the results of the experiment. This analysis will result in a decision or final conclusion.
Helping children learn and understand the Scientific Method offers many benefits that will extend far beyond science books. Here are some Internet websites that will not only help you teach and explain the Scientific Method, but also offer some experiments that you can use with your children to further their use of the Method.