Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about making and testing predictions. It is designed to complement the Making and Testing Predictions topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

Review that scientists ask questions about the world around them. They make predictions, design and plan experiments to test their predictions, and then communicate what they learn. Explain that every science discovery—big or small—starts with a question. Brainstorm a few questions that scientists might ask: Why do leaves change color in the fall? Why do inflated balloons shrink over time? What objects sink or float? Select a question to explore.

Explain that when we make predictions, we use what we use our observations and what we know to explain what might happen. It’s important for students to understand the difference between a strong prediction and a wild guess. Explain that strong predictions are supported by information and observations. Hold up a pencil and ask what will happen if you drop it. Guide children to understand that things always fall toward the floor because of gravity. So, a strong prediction would be that the pencil will fall to the ground. Point out that a prediction that the pencil will float up when it is dropped is not a strong prediction. It is not supported by information or observation. Together with students, come up with strong and weak predictions for the question you chose to explore, and discuss them. Ask students how to make a weak prediction stronger?

Review that scientists test their predictions. They design and plan experiments carefully and they repeat experiments several times. Discuss why scientists might run an experiment multiple times. Present students with the following scenario: A scientist predicts that small objects will float. The scientist drops a penny in a cup of water and finds that it sinks. Ask students why the scientist should use different objects and run the experiment several times. Explain that by collecting more data, the scientist can identify patterns and learn.

After running the experiment several times, scientists are able to see if their predictions are correct or not. It is vital for students to understand that it is perfectly fine if their predictions are incorrect. Let them know that some of the most important science discoveries are found as a result of an incorrect prediction. Explain that when a prediction is incorrect scientists gather more information or make more observations. They might even change the experiment to test the prediction in a different way. Tell students they shouldn’t change the experiment to make their predictions correct, or change their initial prediction so it matches the outcome of the experiment. The point of any prediction and experiment is to learn and explore.

Invite students to be scientists by encouraging them to ask questions and come up with experiments to answer them. Empower students with the inquiry skills they need to ask questions about the world, conduct experiments, and share what they’ve learned. We recommend exploring the BrainPOP Jr. movie Science Skills for enrichment or using the Scientific Method and BrainPOP Jr. movie Science Projects movies as extensions.