Last week, Shan introduced (or re-introduced, as the case may be) the concept of the scientific method. She then modeled what an experiment using baking soda and vinegar looked like. Today, in "Science with Shan", students performed their own science experiments. Two things were emphasized - 1) you should change only one variable and 2) if you hypothesis turned out to be incorrect, that did not mean you "failed" the experiment. Children got into groups and asked a question, wrote down the materials and the steps, and made an hypothesis. Two groups decided that their variable would be temperature of the vinegar water, and one group's variable was the amount of baking soda.
There is a myth out there that we have to convince children that science is fun. This has always struck me as ridiculous! Science is always fun for children, as long as they are allowed to wonder and explore through play. Teachers need to learn how to create amazing experiences for children to get in there, and (as Ms. Frizzle says), GET MESSY and MAKE MISTAKES! Just looking at the intense and engaged faces of this group of children lets us know that we are doing science right. Hopefully, these very early experiences with science will lead to a life-time curiosity about the way things work, and a willingness to try new things.
Many thanks to Shan for always keeping it age-appropriate and lively.