Fifth Grade Science: Learning about the Scientific Process
Fifth graders kicked off their year in science by reviewing the scientific process and designing their own experiments. They first prepared a plate of milk and added a few drops of color dye.
When a drop of detergent was introduced into the milk, the dye suddenly started to explode out in all directions.
After observing this strange reaction, questions were raised about the rings, such as, “If we used juice, instead of milk, would the same reaction occur?” Then, students considered the questions that arose to make sure that they were testable and answerable. Once testable questions were selected, students wrote hypotheses as answers to these questions and tested each hypothesis through another round of experiments. For instance, one group thought that when milk was changed to water, less color explosion would occur. Through experimentation, students proved this hypothesis to be true. Another hypothesis stated that when a different brand of detergent was used, a broader, bolder color explosion would occur. This hypothesis was ultimately rejected, since the same amount of explosion was observed. Some students thought that the rejection of a hypothesis gave them valuable insight. Although more experimentation is probably needed to gain insights into the explosive phenomena, students learned that science is a work in progress, but that uncertainty can be reduced through experimentation.
By Dr. Ingrid Koh, Upper Elementary Science Teacher