Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about science skills. It is designed to complement the Science Skills topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

Review with children that scientists ask questions about the world around them. They make predictions and then test their predictions through research and experiments. This movie will explore different science inquiry and critical thinking skills that are essential to this process. You may wish to use the Scientific Method and Science Projects movies as an extension or review.

Remind children that when you predict, you explain what might happen based on what you know. You use prior knowledge and gather information to make a strong prediction. Run through examples of strong and weak predictions with children. For example, present the following prediction: “It is winter and it snowed heavily all week. I predict tomorrow it will be very, very hot.” Why is this prediction not a good one? Discuss with children. They might point out that the prediction doesn’t follow weather patterns and trends—if it snows all week, it’s highly unlikely that the weather will turn very hot overnight. The prediction also doesn’t align with their prior knowledge about winter. Furthermore, the prediction doesn’t explain why the weather would be very hot the next day. Now lead children to revise the prediction to make it strong: “It is winter and it snowed heavily all week. I predict tomorrow it will be colder because the temperatures have been dropping by a few degrees each day for the past two weeks.” Remind children that good predictions offer an explanation. So rather than “I predict it will be colder,” a student should use supporting arguments and details, “I predict it will be colder because. . . .”

After scientists make predictions, they carry out a plan to test their predictions. To do this, they might observe and measure to collect data, or information. Students can use their senses to observe, or use tools to help them look at something more closely. They might measure length, width, height, distance, weight, mass, temperature, and so on. Brainstorm different tools together such as rulers, measuring tape, thermometers, scales, balance scales, hand lenses, etc. Have children explain what each tool does, how to use it, and what it measures. Guide children to understand how to best record their data. They should remember to use consistent units and measure properly.

Scientists organize and interpret their data in different ways. They may classify, or sort things into groups to show how they’re alike or different. They may use charts or graphs to organize their data, which enables scientists to look at their data clearly and come up with ideas. Scientists then communicate what they have learned. They may do this by creating a diagram or a drawing, building a model, creating a poster, or giving a presentation about their findings. Sharing information is an essential part of the process. This enables other scientists to learn and make their own predictions and create plans to test them out! We use what other people have learned to come up with new ideas.

It is crucial for children to understand that it is perfectly fine if their predictions are incorrect. It gives them opportunities to create another experiment or project to test their prediction, or revise their prediction and run more tests. Scientists make incorrect predictions all the time! Some of our most important discoveries have occurred this way. Finally, remind children that they are scientists. Encourage them to ask questions about the world around them—be curious!