How to Teach the Scientific Method in Elementary School
So, when you are teaching the scientific method, you really want to
Hi, I’m Emilee with OMSI for About.com. Today we are going to be talking about teaching the scientific method to elementary school students.This experiment is called Elephant’s Toothpaste.We are going to add 50 ml, or there about, of our liquid soap to our graduated cylinder. We are going to add about 150ml of our strong hydrogen peroxide to our graduated cylinder. The next step is to add the food coloring. Now, we are going to shake it around a whole bunch, you really want to make sure you mix up the soap and hydrogen peroxide because that will make things a lot better later.This step is where the fun happens. We are going to add our catalyst, the potassium iodide, to our graduated cylinder. We are going to add about 5ml, which is a teaspoon. Once we do this it will immediately start to break down the hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water.Now, we are really going to start to get into the scientific method. We know that when hydrogen breaks down it turns into water and oxygen gas and we observe that there are a lot of bubbles coming out of this experiment.My hypothesis is that these bubbles are made out of oxygen gas. To test this I am going to use a little bit about what I know about fire. I am going to take this stick and I am going to light it on fire and I am going to blow it out. Now, I have just the coals on the end of this stick. The stick was able to relight. That supported our hypothesis that these bubbles were made of oxygen.Elephant’s Toothpaste is a great experiment to talk about catalysts and chemical reactions. We observe these bubbles. We observe these bubbles. What is in the bubbles? We know that hydrogen breaks down into water and oxygen. Our hypothesis is that these bubbles are filled with oxygen gas. The coals on the stick will relight and we will have a flame once again on the stick. To test if these bubbles were made of oxygen we put the coals on the stick back in them and when we saw that the stick was able to relight that supported our hypothesis that these bubbles were made of oxygen.So, when you are teaching the scientific method, you really want to start out focusing on observations. Give your students a chance to explore what ever the topic is that you want to build an experiment around. Once they have had a chance to observe things, they will be able to come up with their own hypothesis that will be out of their own observation and experience with what ever it is that they are learning about.This is Emilee with OMSI for About.com. Thanks for watching.