Scientific Method Guide

What is the Scientific Method?

The scientific method is a set of steps that are used by scientists to discover something new, invent something, or understand something better!  There are a few different ways that scientists define the scientific method, and Elementary Science Fair follows the 7-step version of the scientific method!  By following the scientific method, elementary students will learn something the way scientists do!  Read below to learn about the steps of the scientific method and how elementary students can experience them!

2024 Scientific Method Guide.pdf

Read on for a dive into the scientific method, or print the condensed Elementary Science Fair Scientific Method Guide.

1. Observe Something

The first step of the scientific method is to observe and be curious about something around you!  This is a very important step, as this is when you are inspired to think more about something that interests you.  For example, maybe you notice that the shape of clouds can look like animals!  This is a step that elementary students are already doing, as they observe their surroundings every day!

2. Ask a Question

The next step is to ask a question about what you observed! This is where you start on your path of discovering something new, as later you will try to find the answer to your question!  Since we noticed that clouds can look like animals, we can wonder if other people think the shape of clouds look like animals.  A question we can ask is "Will most of my relatives think the clouds look like animals?"

3. Predict What the Answer Will Be

Since we have now asked a question, our next step is to predict what the answer will be.  Maybe our family members really like animals, so we can predict that most of them will think the clouds' shapes look like animals!  This
prediction is known in the science world as a
hypothesis (Hi - Poth - Uh - Sis)!

4. Test Your Hypothesis

Now that we have predicted what the answer to our question is, we can now find out if our hypothesis was correct by conducting an experiment.  To find out if most of your family will see the clouds' shapes as animals, you could call your relatives and ask them what the shapes of clouds looked like to them.  You would then write down what each of your family members saw to make sure you don't forget.  Writing down your findings is very important, and will be important for Step 5!

5. Analyze Your Collected Information

The next step is to analyze the information collected in the experiment.  There are many ways to analyze the information (or data) collected in an experiment, and analyzing your data should make your data easier to summarize.  In the cloud experiment example, we could identify who saw animals and who didn't, and then count how many people thought the clouds looked like animals and how many did not.

6. Draw Conclusions

The next step is to determine if your hypothesis was correct or incorrect.  In our cloud experiment, we found that 11 family members thought the clouds looked like animals and 4 family members who thought the clouds looked like other things.  Our hypothesis stated that most of the relatives would think the clouds' shapes look like animals, so was our hypothesis correct? Yes! Our hypothesis was correct because most of the relatives DID think that the clouds' shapes looked like animals!

7. Communicate Your Results

So, we have predicted what the answer to our question is, so now we can communicate our findings to others! This step is very important in the science world, as a cure for the common cold wouldn't be very useful if no one knew about it.  Elementary Science Fair participants can communicate their results with a video explanation, click HERE to learn more!