How early is too early to introduce the scientific method to students? This semester I participated in a pilot program with other student teachers and had to work with pre-k, kindergarten and first grade students on a science project. The theme for the project was microbiology and the students had to use the scientific method to carry out the project. I was really nervous because I did not think this task was possible. Kindergarteners developing a hypothesis? Pre-k students learning about organisms? To my surprise the project was a success. The students were very interested in science at this very young age. They were extremely curious about learning about things they could not see like microbes. They learned about the different types of bacteria and even cultivated it in agar plates themselves. The enjoyed doing the observation of the bacteria on the petri dishes and recorded their results on their journal and logs. The projects were hands-on and they learned the process of analyzing and researching to perform their experiments. I had thought at first that this experiment was too advanced and the vocabulary was going to be difficult for 5-6 year olds but it became a natural language when we worked on the project. This experience has opened up my eyes to what students are capable of learning at a young age.
Elsa Simon (pre-service teacher)