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Exploring Science Inquiry Skills

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At the beginning of every year, our science curriculum has us exploring Science Inquiry Skills. It can be a tricky task. Science is huge! Not all scientist do the same things… but to explore this concept, I like to keep it hands-on and fun!
Hands on activities for Science Inquiry skills
We first learned that scientists use their senses to make observations. We reviewed the five senses: sight, taste, smell, sound, and touch.
Science inquiry skills are the foundation of science exploration. This post outlines some amazingly easy ways teachers can teach their students how to use their senses when exploring in an easy and fun way! Includes tons of scientific method and science experiment freebies! TheAppliciousTeacher.com

Then, we focused in on our sense of touch using mystery bags.

Mystery bags for exploring touch

To set up for this activity, I used 4 plain gift bags and cut a whole in the side of each. I labeled the bags 1-4 and filled them with various textured items.

Mystery bags
My various items: small fuzzy ball, whiteboard eraser, spider ring, and a sticky slap hand.
Then, each table got a bag. The students took turns putting their hand in the bag and feeling what was in there. They made a prediction as to what they thought the item was, then passed the bag on to the next person at the table.
mystery bags for exploring the sense of touch
They recorded how the object felt and their guesses on this recording sheet. After 2 minutes, I rotated the bags to the next table. We did this for four rounds so that everyone had a chance make predictions as to what was in each bag.

 

mystery bags recording sheet
At the end, I collected the bags. We shared our describing words and what we thought was in each bag. The kids loved sharing their predictions and loved to see if they were right.
You can grab the recording sheet we used here for FREE
Mystery bags recording sheet
Next, we focused on how scientists use tools to help them make observations. This time, we took to the green space to make our observations!
Each student got a hand lens and a brief run down on the outside observing rules. Look, don’t touch!

 

Using a hand lens to make observations
As students observed, they sketched and recorded their observations in their science journals.

 

science tools
We spent about 20 minutes outside exploring, then we moved back inside to share our observations.

 

Using tools to make observations
The kiddos LOVED using the hand lenses to explore our green space outside!
Next it was time to learn how scientists think. We used our book to learn about the scientific process. As we read about each step, the students highlighted the name of the step and a quick definition.

scientific process recording sheet

Later, we used what we had highlighted to fill in the information under each tab of the Scientific Method ISN pages.
scientific method interactive student notebook

You can grab this ISN FREEBIE here!
Now, we have a reference to go back to each time we review the steps!

scientific method ISN freebie

By the end of the week we were ready to actually become scientists and use the Scientific Method to conduct an experiment.

First, we reviewed each step from our notebook.

Then, we created an experiment together (with this teacher’s help of course!)

Scientific method write up sheet

We tested to see if Skittles would dissolve faster in warm or cold water. So, we recorded our question and made our hypotheses.

Then, we gathered and discussed our materials needed for the experiment and as to why we needed each item. Our materials were simple: 2 cups, warm water, cold water, Skittles, a marker, and a timer.

We dropped 2 Skittles in each cup,

Science experiment for second grade
This was the perfect time to discuss how to keep the test valid- an idea that most second graders struggle with…
We discussed the importance of keeping everything else the same within the experiment, except the temperature of the water.
At first, the kiddos wanted me to use 2 different colored Skittles. For fun they said! LOL! We talked through how that would make the experiment fun, but it could skew the results as we don’t know if one color dissolves faster than others. We also made sure that there was the same amount of water in each cup.
After each cup was filled and two 6 Skittles were placed, we set the timer for 5 minutes. As we waited, I passed out a little handful of extra Skittles to the class.
My favorite line as I was passing out the pieces?
Mrs. Langton! I can perform this experiment in my mouth! I’ll see how quickly they dissolve above my tongue and below! 
 
YES! Now, you’re thinking like a scientist, kid! 😉

 

scientific method recording sheet
This shortened recording sheet is part of the ISN freebie which you can grab here!
After the 5 minutes, we compared the 2 cups. I carefully walked around the classroom and had students observe what happened to each piece of candy.
The candy in the warm cup had almost dissolved to nothing, whereas only the colored shell had dissolved from the candy in the cold cup.
We recorded our results and discussed our conclusions. What could we learn from this experiment? We also discussed what we thought would happen if another class did the experiment. Last, we glued our experiment recording sheet into our Science Journals.
Here’s a more detailed Scientific Method Recording Sheet.
My experiment recording sheet

 

You can grab it for FREE in my store! If you like what you grabbed here, be sure to follow my store for alerts on new freebies, products, and more!
So those are just a few hands-on ways we learned about Science Inquiry Skills. How do you bring science to life in your classroom?

 

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Hi, I'm Leigh.

The Applicious Teacher is all about creating hands-on and engaging lessons that align with the standards while still having time for your life. This is your place for ideas, tips, and resources for the REAL teacher!

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