Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Scientific Method in First Grade

Help! The lighthouse in our Scholastic News has turned white due to ice! What can we pour over the ice to make it melt quickly?  

I told the students we needed to act like true scientists and use the scientific method to solve this question. After checking out a few different links, I found this catchy and repetitive song did the best job relaying the scientific method in the simplest way possible for first grade. It’s rich in challenging vocabulary, and it applied perfectly to the experiment as we worked our way through.

From the video my student knew we needed to:
“Make an observation, Ask a question, Form a hypothesis and make a prediction, Do a test or experimentation, Analyze data and draw a conclusion

  • We observed: Ice covering the lighthouse.
  • We asked: Which material will help melt ice the quickest?
  • Students then wrote out their hypothesis: “I predict _____ (sand, salt, or sugar) will make ice melt the quickest.”

  • The experiment:
    • The controls: Each group was given 3 cups (of the same size), 2 ice cubes in each cup (of the same size), and the same size scoop/amount of each material
    • Variable: Sand, sugar, and salt for each group. 

Once our experiment was all set up, we left them at the center of the tables and moved on to another subject. Forty minutes later ….

  • Teams analyzed what happened to the ice and discussed their findings with each other.

After they discussed with their teams, we came up to the rug to take a closer look at the ice cubes in each cup. We took the ice cubes out of the sand, sugar, and salt. This was the best way we could really SEE the difference.

  • From this we came to the conclusion that salt will melt ice the quickest.

Students were then released to reflect on their predictions and record their conclusions. I asked the students what substance they would want to pour over the lighthouse to make the ice melt. Through the scientific method they decided… “SALT!!”

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