Science Vocabulary for Kids and Parents with FREE PDF Download!
Science - it can be a scary topic all those big words! Follow along with this blog post to help define some of those big words to help you feel more confident when doing your experiments with your kiddos right at home!
The Scientific Method
Though the process can vary for different types of sciences the scientific method is the standard steps scientists follow conduct their research and resolve problems. We can also use the scientific method to solve problems on our own and to help us understand our surroundings better.
Science is happening all around us every day. Listen to what your kids are talking about and are watching happen in their day to day. For example, a kid might notice if their ice melts in their water.
2.Come up with a question
Kids observations often turn into questions. For example, with the ice melting in the water. Does ice melt faster in different types of liquids?
3.Developing a hypothesis or prediction to go along with the question
Ask your kid to think about their question. Ask them what they think will happen when they test their question. This is not a guess. Have them really think about the facts you have already gathered together. For example, you already know that ice melts well in water. Now, let's say I think that juice will make the ice melt faster than water.
4.Experimenting and testing
This is where the fun begins! To find out the answer to your question you need to experiment and test. The best experiments make sure that only one part of the experiment changes. When too many factors in your experiment change at once, the results are not always accurate. For example, I will make sure all my ice cubes are the same size. I will let my water and juice come to room temperature in the same type of class. I will also make sure I put the same amount of liquid in each glass. I will drop the ice in each glass at the same time and start the timer!
5.Gathering and recording results of tests and experiments and drawing conclusions
This is where you write down and watch what is happening in your experiment. For example, I will write down the time on the stop watch when each ice cube has melted completely. After you have gathered your results you can think about was your prediction, right? Was it wrong? Why?
6. Sharing and discussing results
This is the time to talk about what happened with the experiment with your child? Did they get the answers they wanted? Do they have more questions? Should you do more experiments?
Remember its ok if your experiments do not go as planned and / or if your child ends up with more questions. That is science! Scientists are constantly having their experiment's fail or coming out with more questions than answers. It is all part of the process.
Science Vocabulary for Kids
- Experiment: an operation or procedure carried out under controlled conditions in order to discover an unknown effect or law, to test or establish a hypothesis.
(When doing their experiments scientists are open to all possible outcomes. They do not fear failure of the experiment because the failure itself could be an answer to their questions.)
- Procedure: a series of steps followed in a regular definite order.
(Steps followed in order. Sometimes this leads to discoveries and new ideas. Sometimes this could be really dangerous and people may get hurt, so it's important to be safe and follow steps in order.)
- Test: critical examination, observation, or evaluation.
(To try something out. A test is not an experiment, though it could be used during an experiment. A test has the expectation of a winner and a looser in the outcome.)
- Hypothesis: a proposed explanation.
(Your proposed answer to the question you are asking. An educated guess based on facts you already know.)
- Observation: the act of recognizing and noting a fact or occurrence, a record or description obtained.
(When scientists observe their experiments, they use all five of their senses if they need to in a safe way. As they are making these observations, scientists are recording the things they see, hear, smell, taste, and measure so they can have all that information to review later.)
- Record: to set down in writing.
(Write what you see hear, smell, taste, and measure during your experiment, down.)
- Variable: a factor in a scientific experiment that may be subject to change.
(When scientist conduct their experiments to get the best results there must parts of the experiment that do not change and always stay the same. There also need to be parts of the experiment that can change to see what happens when one thing changes about the experiment.)
- Tools: a device that aids in accomplishing a task.
(We use tools every day. Shovels to dig dirt are tools. Knives to cut our bread are tools. Scientist have just as many special tools to do their jobs. Like goggles to protect their eyes during experiments or thermometers to take the take temperatures.)
- Materials: the elements, things, or substances of which something is composed or can be made.
- Substances: physical material from which something is made.
- Molecules: the smallest particle of a substance that retains all the properties.
(Molecules are made up of atoms that are held together by chemical bonds. These bonds form as a result of the sharing or exchange of electrons among atoms.)
- Property: a quality, characteristic or trait belonging to an individual or thing.
- Chemical reaction: a chemical change that occurs when two or more substances combine to form a new substance.
(Chemical reaction sounds like such a big exciting term, but it is actually really simple. You see chemical reactions happen all around you every day, like in cooking!)
- Density: the quality or state of being.
(How much space an object or substance takes up (its volume) in relation to the amount of matter in that object or substance (its mass)
- Evaporate: the process of turning a liquid into vapor.
(We see this happen with a pot of water boiling on the stove. As the water gets hotter and hotter there is less water in the pot but lots of steam coming off the water.)
- Force: is the push or pull on an object with mass (the amount of matter in an object) that causes it to change velocity (to accelerate).
- Measure: the act of finding out the dimensions, capacity, or amount of something.
- Substitutions: replacing one person or thing with another of equal value.
Science itself can be a little daunting but remember science is all around you. It can be as simple as watching water boil on your stove top. Just remember to have fun, get messy, and stay curious!