I take them through the total physical response of the “scientific method.” I change up some of the words and present it as a quasi-cycle and quasi-web. We talk about why an observation might lead to new experimental design or a new hypothesis. It’s never as rigid as we hoped.
I ask them what makes an object fall faster and they start creating their hypotheses, quickly abandoning them when a t-shirt (heavier) falls slower than the paper clip. We end the first day in confusion, never completely answering the question.
The next day, I invite students to continue the experiment or to move on to their own form of inquiry. The questions are all over the place:
- Why does water suck when there aren’t any clouds inside? (Then, in parenthesis, she writes, “I think the word is evaporate”)
- Is it true that you can’t drink a whole gallon of milk in an hour?
- What makes stuff float?
- What makes paper airplanes fly faster?
- What makes the ripples in water?
- Why does stuff burn when it’s together but not when it’s apart?
- Why do some chemicals burn green?
- Why does it smoke afterward when you mix vinegar and baking soda together?
- If you kept a species of lizard in a totally yellow container, would the color change after years in that environment, even if there was nothing to force natural selection?