We want students to be able to develop their obersvation skills so that they notice what’s going on… often the observations will lead to students noticing patterns and relationships. The more they notice, the more easily will come questions that can be investigated by doing some testing. Many things that students are curious about can be easily explored by conducting an investigation (experiment).
We want students to develop the mindset to look closely at phenomena and start asking questions about what they might be able to investigate by doing. This requires students to get the idea of identifying attributes and conditions that might be able to be varied in order to find out about the patterns and relationships.
For example during science week there was plenty of excitement about chemistry… The old mentos in the coke bottle was one such fun activity that students enjoyed. During the week our SRC leaders developed and explored some investigable questions with SRC such as:
- does the temperature of the drink make a difference to how much fizzes out of the bottle when you put in a mentos?
- does the type of drink make a difference?
- does the type of mentos / tablet make a difference?
- does the number of mentos make a difference?
One question we didn’t think of, but did come to mind as we did our investigations was: What if you put the lid straight back on the bottle after adding a mentos? What would you observe? Would more or less drink fizz out this time when you took the lid off one minute later? … what if you left it for two minutes? Ten minutes? One hour?
Why is it so? Well, sometimes we go to this question way too soon and cause a shut down to further good exploring … so our advice to you is to keep the focus on investigating and allow the child to arrive at a need to answer the why is it so? question. By getting used to creating questions to investigate, children will develop a stronger headset for how to think scientifically.