Kids have questions about the world around them every day, and there is so much to learn through experimentation with simple materials. You can begin using the scientific method with elementary kids. Below we’ll share with you how and when to introduce the scientific method, the scientific method steps, and some easy scientific method experiments. There are so many great ways to enjoy science projects with kids!


how to use the scientific method with kids


The word “science” comes from the Latin word that means knowledge. So we can think of science as a way to gain knowledge of the world around us!

The word “method” comes from the Greek word that means road. If you put the words “science” and “method” together, you get something like the road or path to gaining knowledge.

This is called the scientific method! A way to figure things out or a process to gain knowledge.


The scientific method is a process or method of research. A problem is identified, information about the problem is gathered, a hypothesis or question is formulated from the information, and the hypothesis is put to the test with an experiment to prove or disprove its validity. 

Sounds heavy… What in the world does that mean?!? It means you don’t need to try and solve the world’s biggest science questions! The scientific method is all about studying and learning things right around you.

As children develop practices that involve creating, gathering data evaluating, analyzing, and communicating, they can apply these critical thinking skills to any situation.

Note: The use of the best Science and Engineering Practices is also relevant to the topic of using the scientific method. Read more here and see if it fits your science planning needs.


Kids are great scientists at any age, and can use the scientific method in context to what they are learning. It can be adapted for any age!

The scientific method is a valuable tool for introducing kids to a logical way to solve scientific problems. Scientists use the scientific method to study, learn, and come up with an answer!

The scientific method is a process that helps double-check that answers are correct and the correct results are obtained through careful planning. Sometimes the guesses and questions change as you run your experiments.

Kids can use the scientific method too on questions that are relevant to them!

Let’s break the scientific method for kids down into six parts, and you can quickly see how each can be incorporated into your next science experiment.

Click below to get your printable scientific method worksheets!


  1. Making initial observations,
  2. Coming up with a question of interest that is based on the observations
  3. Developing a hypothesis or prediction to go along with the question
  4. Experimenting and testing
  5. Gathering and recording results of tests and experiments and drawing conclusions
  6. Sharing and discussing results

Whoa… Wait A  Minute! That sounds like a lot for a young kid!

You are correct. Depending on your kid’s abilities, following all the scientific method steps precisely is just not going to go well. Someone is going to get frustrated, bored, and turned off by just how cool science can be. We do not want that to happen!


Use the scientific method steps as a guideline in the back of your mind. You can cover most of the steps by talking with your kids about…

  • What do they think will happen
  • What is happening
  • What happened compared to what they thought would happen

No writing is required! It’s also best to pick pretty straightforward ideas that aren’t overly involved or complicated to set up and test. Kids always have burning questions and “what if’s.”

See if you can tackle their next “what if” using the scientific method by listening carefully to their conversations. You can even have them keep a journal with their “what if” questions for your next science time.

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Learn more about the steps of the scientific method below, which are great for science at home with your kids or in the classroom! We have also included some simple scientific method experiments for you to enjoy.

Ice Science Experiments are perfect for this! Try these 3 today!

1: Make Observations

Tons of everyday activities would make for cool science experiments using the scientific method. Listen to what your kids talk about and see happening. My son noticed that ice melted pretty fast in his water.

Observation is simply noticing what’s happening through our senses or with tools like a magnifying glass. Observation is used to collect and record data, enabling scientists to construct and test hypotheses and theories.

You can also use this one: What Dissolves In Water?

2: Come Up With A Question 

Your kids’ observations should lead to some sort of question. For my son and his ice observations, he came up with questions. Does ice melt faster in different liquids? His curiosity about what happens to the ice in liquids is a simple science experiment perfect for using the scientific method.

Next! Do some research and come up with ideas!

3: Develop A Prediction or Hypothesis

You have made your observations, you have your question, and now you need to make a prediction about what you think will happen.

A prediction is a guess at what might happen in an experiment based on observation or other information.

A hypothesis is not simply a guess! It’s a statement of what you believe will happen based on the information you have gathered.

My son hypothesizes that ice will melt faster in juice than in water.

4: Conduct An Experiment

We made a prediction that ice will melt faster in juice than it will in water, and now we have to test our hypothesis. We set up an experiment with a glass of juice, a glass of water, and an ice cube for each.

For the best experiments, only one thing should change! All the things that can be changed in a science experiment are called variables. There are three types of variables; independent, dependent, and controlled.

The independent variable is the one that is changed in the experiment and will affect the dependent variable. Here we will use different types of liquids to melt our ice cube in.

The dependent variable is the factor that is observed or measured in the experiment. This will be the melting of the ice cubes. Set up a stopwatch or set a time limit to observe the changes!

The controlled variable stays constant in the experiment. The liquids should be roughly the same temperature (as close as possible) for our ice melting experiment and measured to the same amount. So we left them out to come to room temperature. They could also be tested right out of the fridge!

5: Record Results and Draw Conclusions

Make sure to record what is happening as well as the results—note changes at specific time intervals or after one set time interval.

For example…

  • Record when each ice cube is completely melted.
  • Add drawings if you wish of the setup up and the end results.
  • Was your prediction accurate? If it was inaccurate, record why.
  • Write out a final conclusion to your experiment.

6: Communicate Your Results

This is the opportunity to talk about your hypothesis, experiment, results, and conclusion!

ALTERNATIVE IDEAS: Switch out an ice cube for a lollipop or change the liquids using vinegar and cooking oil.

Now you have gone through the steps of the scientific method, read on for more scientific method examples and fun experiments to try!


A Sink or Float experiment is great for practicing the steps of the scientific method with younger kids.

STEP 1: Your kiddos notice something has sunk in a water bowl.

STEP 2: They ask if all things sink in water.

STEP 3: You ask what they think will happen if they put different things in the water. They think they will all sink because the objects are too heavy.

STEP 4: Set up a container of water and lay out an assortment of objects that will either sink or float {best to have a good mix}. With each item, have them first tell you whether it will sink or float before putting the item in the water.

STEP 5: Kids will immediately draw a conclusion about each individual object. Then they can also draw a final conclusion based on their initial prediction that all things sink in water because they are too heavy. Do all things sink in water?

Grab this FREE printable sink or float experiment


Here are a few of our favorite scientific method experiments which are great for elementary age kids. Of course, you can find tons more awesome and do-able science projects for kids here!

Can you make an egg bounce? Find out with this fun egg in vinegar experiment.

Magic milk is a must-try kids science experiment.

Investigate how to keep apples from turning brown with this apple oxidation experiment.

Find out what solids dissolve in water.

Will it freeze? What happens to the freezing point of water when you add salt?

This easy viscosity experiment looks at different common liquids and compares them.

Set up a simple seed germination experiment.



It is never too early to introduce some fantastic science words to kids. Get them started with a printable science vocabulary word list. You will want to incorporate these simple science terms into your next science lesson!


Think like a scientist! Act like a scientist! Scientists like you and me are also curious about the world around them. Learn about the different types of scientists and what they do to increase their understanding of their specific areas of interest. Read What Is A Scientist


Sometimes the best way to introduce science concepts is through a colorfully illustrated book with characters your kids can relate to! Check out this fantastic list of science books that are teacher approved and get ready to spark curiosity and exploration!


A new approach to teaching science is called the Best Science Practices. These eight science and engineering practices are less structured and allow for a more freeflowing approach to problem-solving and finding answers to questions. These skills are critical to developing future engineers, inventors, and scientists!


STEM activities include science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  As well as our kids science experiments we have lots of fun STEM activities for you to try. Check out these STEM ideas below…


Looking to plan a science fair project, make a science fair board, or want an easy guide to set up your own science experiments?

Go ahead and grab this free printable science fair project pack to get started!


  1. A great post and sure to help extend children’s thinking! I would like to download the 6 steps but the blue download button doesn’t seem to be working for me.

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