A Hypothesis is a Well Thoughtout Prediction.
Yes, asking groups of kids to guess what will happen can be fun. But, expecting a hypothesis for every experiment defeats the purpose for this science process skill. A hypothesis relys on observations that have been previously made. Hypothesis are often called “educated” guesses. Please don’t require kids to give a hypothesis unless it can be based on previous knowledge. In other words, a hypothesis must be based on schema, which is previously learned information.
Using an Exploratory Experiment to provide needed schema for a hypothesis.
Research is any method used to learn more about a topic. Reading books, magazines as well as online sources and everyday observations of the world around you are good research methods. I suggest that research include exploratory experiments, such as those found in the science book shown. The following exploratory experiment was taken from , “201 Awesome, Magical, Bizarre & Incredible Experiments.” My intention in writing this and other experiment books was to provide fun experiments requiring around the house materials or materials easily found locally. These are exploratory experiments.
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Facts: Provide information that kids may not be familiar with before introducing the experiment.
- Pressure is the force pressing against a surface.
- Gas molecules move in a straight line until they collide with each other or their container. When colliding, the gas molecules, much like balls striking a wall changes direction and continues moving. Unlike a ball, each gas molecule collides, changes direction and continue at the same speed as before its collision.
Exploratory Experiment #141 Increasing
Problem: How does temperature affect air pressure?
empty glass soda bottle (any glass bottle with a small mouth)
9-inch (23-cm) round balloon
2. Remove the bottle from the freezer. You can sit the bottle in an ice chest with ice. Make sure the chest is closed. You want the air inside to be cold.
4. Stand the bottle at room temperature.
5. Observe and record any changes in the balloon for 5 minutes.
Kids age 5 and above have a lot of schema about different topics, but they may not have the skills to retrieve it. It is kinda lot connecting the dots. Developing science process skills helps develops thinking patterns, thus helps develop creative thinking. My point is to help kids retrieve knowledge they already know with simple questions. While kids have their brains turned on and their schema reved up new information can be added. Learning is adding information to existing schema.
Use questions such as the following when discussing this experiment.
1. Which is colder, the air in the freezer or the air in this room? Air in the freezer is colder than air at room temperature.
2. Which has more energy, warm or cold air? Warm things have more energy, thus warm air has more energy.
4. Which hits harder, a fast moving ball or a slow moving ball? Fast moving balls hit harder than slow moving balls.
Depending on age and ability, the conclusion should be something like this:
While not discussed in this experiment, the reason an open bottle was placed in the freezer was to fill the bottle with more air. The air molecules in the bottle would cool and take up less space, thus more cold air could fill the bottle. As the bottle warmed the excess air molecules added more pressure inside the balloon, thus partially inflating.
Now that kids are engaged –have their schema turned on– introduce a problem related to the previous exploratory experiment.
2-glass empty soda bottles
two 9-inch (23-cm) round balloon
2. With the marker, label one ballon C and the other W.
3. Stretch the opening of a balloon over the mouth of one of the bottles.
4. Observe and record the appearance of the balloon over the bottle.
5. Place the open bottle and the bottle with the balloon in a freezer for 15 or more minutes. Note: You can sit the bottles in an ice chest with ice. Make sure both bottles are equally cooled and the chest is closed. Again, it is important for the air surrounding the bottles to be cold.