How does science work?

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My daughters love investigating things: from hunting for worms on rainy days or turning over rocks to find beetles, to pouring water between containers, and collecting leaves, flowers, conkers and pine cones! They are great at asking questions about the world around them and trying to think of creative ways to test out answers.

We’ve talked about how to be a scientist but they want to know how science works. What do scientists do when they are doing science? It’s time to find out about something called ‘the scientific method’…

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Why does the salt have a lid?

CornwallAugust 21

Salt and pepper are seasonings that I sometimes use when I am cooking to make some types of foods taste better. I keep them in special plastic pots with twisty tops that grind the salt or pepper into a fine powder that can be used easily to flavour our food. But my daughters want to know why the salt pot has a lid, when the pepper pot does not?

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Where is the edge of the world?

CornwallAugust 21

My 3-year-old has been wondering where the cliff is – the one at the edge of the world. And she wants to know, if someone fell off it would they go floating out into Space…?

She’s not the first person to ask this question. People throughout history have wondered where the edge of the world might be and what would happen if you went there. Lots of explorers and scientists set out to measure the size and shape of the Earth and watched the stars and the Moon, and here’s what they discovered about the planet we call home…

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How does my arm know how hard to throw the ball?

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Throwing and catching are skills that many of us learn when we are children. They are tricky skills to learn and getting them right takes lots of practise but once we’ve got the hang of them, we can use them for playing games and sports and for passing things to people who are not standing near to us.

My friend’s daughter wants to know what happens inside her body when she throws a ball. How does her body know what to do and how hard to throw the ball?

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Why can’t I stop sucking my thumb?

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Thumb-sucking is something my 8-year-old does. She has sucked her thumb (usually the one on her right hand) since she was a few weeks old. She says it helps her to get to sleep and she most often sucks her thumb when she is feeling tired.

Thumb-sucking has become a habit for my daughter, which means that it’s something she does regularly. But often, she doesn’t even notice she’s doing it! And the dentist has said she must try to stop sucking her thumb because otherwise she’ll get wonky teeth.

But breaking a habit is hard – especially when it’s something you’ve done nearly every day of your whole life!

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