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’…

People have been asking questions and testing out answers for thousands of years. We know this because of objects, drawings and writings from throughout history that show us how people tried to understand our planet, the stars, nature and how things work.

Over time, humans have developed a way of investigating things and sharing what we find out. Some people call it ‘the scientific method’ and it helps scientists and inventors to follow the same way of working, so that they can check each others’ work and make sure the answers make sense.

The scientific method has six steps:

  1. Ask a question: what do you want to find out?
  2. Find out as much as you can: what do we already know about this?
  3. Come up with a hypothesis: what do you think the answer might be?
  4. Test your hypothesis: do an experiment to see if your answer is right
  5. Analyse the data: do the results of the experiment make sense?
  6. Share your findings: tell other people what you found out!

This video of the Scientific Method Song helps to explain how these steps work together to help solve a problem.

Working carefully and step-by-step helps scientists to make sure that they are asking good questions and testing out their experiments well. Working in teams gives scientists the chance to get help and share ideas with others. And sharing what they find means that other people can use that information in their work or in their everyday lives.

If you liked this answer, you might also like to read my post about [What is science?}(https://simplescimum.wordpress.com/2017/03/12/what-is-science/)

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