One of the problems kids have is how to experiment with their great ideas without getting lost in the jumble of results. So often students will not have any clear ideas about what change caused which effect in their results!

They also have trouble communicating their ideas in a way that not only makes sense, but also is acceptable by science fairs or other technical competitions designed to get kids thinking like a real scientist. Kids constantly struggle to apply the scientific method to their science project in school, for scout badges, or any other type of report where it’s important that other folks know and understand their work.

In this video, I am going to walk you through all the steps of the scientific method by just doing it so you can really see it in action. I've taken an everyday topic in alternative energy and applied the scientific method to get a real answer to my question about solar cells.

The scientific method is widely used by formal science academia as well as scientific researchers.  For most people, it’s a real jump to figure out not only how to do a decent project, but also how to go about formulating a scientific question and investigate answers methodically like a real scientist.

Presenting the results in a meaningful way via “exhibit board”… well, that’s just more of a stretch that most kids just aren’t ready for.  There isn’t a whole lot of useful information available on how to do it by the people who really know how.

This section is designed to show you how to do several cool projects (and one really nifty one at the end), walk you through the steps of theorizing, hypothesizing, experimentation, and iterating toward a conclusion the way a real engineer or scientist does. And we’ll also cover communicating your ideas to your audience using a display board and the oral presentation using top tips and tricks from real scientists.

Click to download the reading  or start the experiments!

Have a question ?

Tell us what you're thinking...


71 Responses to “Scientific Method Made Easy: Introduction”

  1. juliebanister1 says:

    Are you using the old edition or the new edition for Apologia Biology Science.? I already have the old edition. Do I need the Biology Science Notebooking Journal?

  2. No, Unit Zero is for parents, not kids. It’s specifically for parents who want to know what we are covering in the program, like a bird’s eye view of the concepts being covered. There really isn’t any experiments to do with Unit Zero – if you read through it, it is marked as “just for parents” in the text. Start with the topic your kids are already interested in, and have fun!

  3. kristin_stutzman says:

    Hi! I am new. I am wondering if it is important to do Unit 0 before jumping into a different unit. I have 4 kids grades kinder- 6th and I was going to let them pick their topic of interest but I wonder if they need to all do unit 0 first.

  4. You should have controls, including time duration and RR and FF. What kind of device are you viewing the videos from, and what browser?

  5. Kelly Krampitz says:

    It would be nice if you included the controls to rewind and fast forward, as well as see how long the video is and how long is left. I cannot do this on my PC or Mac.

  6. Mary Legreid says:


  7. What happens if you try a different computer?

  8. Amber Thornton says:

    I can see this video, but am having trouble hearing the sound. It sounds muffled and nothing is clear. Thanks!

  9. Yes, you can start anywhere you like with the program. About 70% of our users start with Unit 1 in Topics and go from there, but you can also start with the grade level sections instead if you prefer. There’s a lot of overlap between the two so you won’t miss anything. And you can pick up where you left off without any trouble. We’re actually in the middle of re-designing the user side so it remembers which experiments you’ve done and points you toward the next set, so look for this in the fall when you return. 🙂

  10. Suzanne Bradford says:

    I am new to your program, I’m not sure where to start my 8th grader and 6th grader with just a few months left of this school year. Would we pick up where we stopped the following year. the 8th grader will be in High school at that point.

  11. Range? Like a “home on the range”? Or a “range of numbers” like 5 to 25?

  12. Kanatinia Ballard says:

    What is a range

  13. Hmmm..let me see if I can understand your issue better. What kind of internet connection do you have, and what type of device/program are you using? Do you still have this same issue when you use a different computer?

  14. Maria Tiefenthaler says:

    My mom and I have been noticing that the videos have been stopping and loading and will take a long time loading and seems to never start again. I also notice that when we reload the page the video stops in the same place. Please help us.
    Thank you,

  15. You’re right! I’ll fix that so it’s not quite so confusing. Here’s where you want to go to learn more about gravity.

  16. Kelly Gorecki says:

    We just finished the experiment “A Weighty Problem” in this scientific method section and it really puzzled my children. At the end of the instructions you say that the next lesson will be about gravity and it will explain everything, but the next experiment on the list is about observing the words in a sentence and the ones that follow that don’t have anything to do with gravity either. Where do I look for the gravity explanation to follow up this lesson with?

  17. Crystal Burling says:

    i have never had any video playing problems im fine 🙂

  18. It might be your internet connection – this video is particularly long. What happens if you try a different connection or computer?

  19. Thersa Couch says:

    We are having trouble with this video. We watched other videos on the site yesterday, but this one always seems stalls.

    We have tried the above suggestions and it did not continue to load.

  20. Check the shopping list for Unit 9 if they are not listed with Unit 0. 🙂

  21. Nisha Worsham says:

    Where do you buy the ball bearings and super strong magnets mentioned for the linear accelerator/Gauss rifle?

  22. Michelle Fansler says:

    I like potatoes

  23. Did any other videos in this section have this trouble? We’re about to upload the new video player for this section, so check back soon and see if that fixes it. I am sorry you had trouble!

  24. Karen Snow says:

    I have Google chrome. I dont have another computer to try. Its strange since other videos work fine.

  25. Hmm… what browser are you using? It plays over here on IE, Firefox and Chrome. What happens if you try a different computer?

  26. Karen Snow says:

    Why is the sound not working?
    It is not my speakers and I waited a long time to make sure everything was loaded correctly.

  27. It’s a rather long video. Try refreshing the page?

  28. Judith Rockwell says:

    the video has been loading for about five minutes and will not play how do I fix it

  29. Anonymous says:

    I loved this video! I thought that it was very well done!:)

  30. Jennifer Cochran says:

    cool but i already knew about the cientific method

  31. Thanks – that’s a great idea! I am so glad you are enjoying the content. 🙂

  32. Jamie Cavazos says:

    Love the video and e-science! I just wanted to mention, as a parent of two gifted dyslexic kids, the text that pops up between video segments is nearly inaccessible to my children, since they are not yet reading at grade level. In future, I wanted to suggest it might help for there to be an audio component that reads the text when it pops up, so that kids that want to function pretty independently, but do not yet have strong reading skills, can still feel independent and function without a lot of parental involvement.

    Thanks so much for everything that you do to further education and spark an interest in science!

  33. Yes – there’s an angle (or range of angles) that works best as you saw int he experiment. The solar cells usually don’t just lie flat, unless the roof angle is pointed in the right direction. Sometimes they have to tilt a corner up or a side up to make sure it gets full sun at the right time of day.

  34. Betty Kramer says:

    So on your experiment on the video. The angle of the sun matters so is that why most people have solar cells on both sides of there houses?

  35. If it’s in the direct line of sight of the lights, then it would generate the most power. If you tilt it beyond that 70 degree mark I mentioned in the video, then the power really starts to drop off, but that’s only in the rotation plane of the protractor. I didn’t test the other plane – that’s an interesting question, though! My guess is that you’d see similar results, but it might drop off more quickly since the solar panel is shorter in that direction. This sounds like an experiment you might have to do… 🙂

  36. Danielle Rodriguez says:

    Hi Aurora, My name is Belladona, (grade 5) and I had a question about this unit…. What would happen if you angled the solar panel a little bit more to the left (camera view.)?

  37. Yes – those are in Unit 12 – they are called “Beam” robots. I have about 10 of them here on my desk that I made when creating the videos for them!

  38. Lizet Constanza Mueller says:

    Can you teach us how to make those cute little robots made out of old cell phone parts?
    Do you have that somewhere else in the units?

  39. Heather Murray-Herlocher says:

    For iPad, download an app called Rover. It has a picture of a dog, on a skateboard I think. This gets you around Apple not supporting Flash. You launch Rover and treat it as a browser. I haven’t tried SS yet on it, but it works for games like Moshi Monsters.

  40. Lynn Glasheen says:

    Yes I do!!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. nancy fleming says:

    Aurora I am so glad I was able to attend the superscharged science class online yesterday with my daughter Cheyenne. I have been a subscriber to your emails for years. I have even talked to you a couple of times on the phone about her, being dyslexic and right brained not sure how to approach or even teach her science. I think with this e-science program it will be a big help. I am definately going to pass this on to my homeschool group. Thanks for all you do.

  42. Gosh – it started in a different form back in 2006… there were no videos, no lesson plans, no downloads, and no pictures… just text explaining the experiments and there were only about 100 of those back then. Now we have nearly 1,000, and all but a small handful have videos. Do you like the improvements? 🙂

  43. Lynn Glasheen says:

    when did you start this website?

  44. It seems more logical to do it that way, doesn’t it? However, the comments are posted newest ones first, so there’s always the latest one right on top. I apologize for any confusion t his might cause, and appreciate your feedback. I will pass it along to my webmaster. Thanks!

  45. Barbara Carvell says:

    Would you consider posting the questions before the answers in the comments section so they could be read first as you scroll down the page?

  46. Marvette Owens-Freeman says:

    Why do we use the scientific method?

  47. We’re looking into this option, but at the moment the videos are all in flash, so you’ll need to view from a computer that supports flash. We have over 700 videos that need to be switched over, so we’re not quite ready especially since we’ve been focusing on creating so much new content! I’ll keep you posted.

  48. Catalina Posada says:

    Can you see the video on the iPad or iMac? Remenber that Apple does not support Flash

  49. Yes the videos are in flash, so you’ll need to view these on a regular computer.

  50. Diane Richardson says:

    Can you see the video on the iPad? I can’t get it to work in drobox. Is it a flash?

  51. Most experiments have videos – there are only a couple that don’t. The video for the scientific method is in the main part of the unit. The other units have videos for nearly all experiments. 🙂

  52. Tanya Koontz Orbaugh says:

    After reviewing more units, I now see that some experiments have video and some have written instruction. I have answered my own question!

  53. Tanya Koontz Orbaugh says:

    I can see this video, however the experiment and video section of this has no videos. Is this correct? It appears the other Units I have looked at have videos in the experiment section. Am I missing something?

  54. Make sure you are logged in – try again?

  55. Christie Groff says:

    I’m getting a video not found or access denied message when I try to view this one. Please help.

  56. julie van hook says:


  57. Elizabeth Johnson says:

    We got it going using internet explorer. It did not work with chrome.

  58. Elizabeth Johnson says:

    I am unable to get the scientific method intro video to play. It says access denied despite the fact that I am logged on. Is there a way to make it work?

  59. Good question. You can do the e-Science program in any order you like, and you don’t even have to do all of it – just the parts you like. Yes, the scientific method is a good place to start because there really aren’t any materials that you need, and it gets kids into the habit of making observations and asking questions. (It’s also not very long compared to the units.) The order the experiments are in are the order I personally teach them when I work with kids, but of course you can mix it up as needed. I would start with the intro videos (which answer the “why should I care?” question) and then jump over to the experiments. Does that help?

  60. Before “Unit One” is the how to complete the scientific method…Do we do this 1st and if so, is their a separate shopping list? Or do we start with Unit one? I know you say we can skip around but I need to go in order. Sorry…I
    like a plan and order seems easiest….also, if I have different ages are their certain projects for certain ages? I am assuming we are supposed to do all the experiments and the video will show what order. Correct? I watched your intro video to moms, but I want to make sure I understand so don’t mess up.

  61. Yes, that video is recorded in stereo. What happens when you try a different computer?

  62. Kara Floyd says:

    this video seems to be only in one speaker for me 🙂 I am using headphones…and other sites give me audio in both ears, so I know it’s just this video that is in just one ear :))
    I didn’t know if there was anything *I* can do about that? Is it recorded in ‘stereo’?
    Forgive me…old fashioned technology words here!

  63. We started with the basics yesterday-scientific method and the underwater pennies. I plan to do one of the correlating experiments everyday if we don’t have time for two. I am eager to move on to the other great lessons yet your material calls for great conversation with my kids and that leads to more quality teaching time than I anticipate. Plus they need that foundation.

    My 6th grader related music note reading as what she does on a daily basis with violin playing (she’s been playing for 5 yrs and is advanced- so lot of hypotheses are required) and if someone is standing behind her talking to hypothesize who it is before turning around. Her and her sisters related it to everyday occurrences like you said we do in regards to observing the scientific method. Wonderful!

    I love science yet wasn’t doing a lot with it in dread I guess of prep time and time involved so fell back on the dry boring textbook readings. I even bought simple science experiment books but your program is more doable for the lesson plan material, I am not one to just do an experiment without teaching concepts behind it and relating it real world view. (I am a former elementary teacher) I recognize all the time you put into each unit and it shows with a quality program. Your website is very user friendly. I love the support and resources you offer too as well as your blog. You do everything possible to make families successful and excited to teach science and feel supported along the way. Thank you for a quality, complete science program. My children and I look forward to seeing more of your enthusiasm in the upcoming videos, and as an affiliate it is my prayer to show other families your program who I hypothesize may be struggling with science as well.

  64. Sherry Paddie says:

    Awesome Video!! Thank you!

  65. Michelle Trimmer says:

    Thank you, it works great now.

  66. Hmmm.. sounds like it didn’t upload properly. We’ll re-upload this one – try back in a few minutes.

  67. Michelle Trimmer says:

    Hi Aurora,
    We are also having trouble viewing this video. It stops halfway through (after you pulled your pen and paper out) and goes back to the beginning. Is there a way to fix this? Thanks!

  68. Hmm.. the speed of the connection might be slow. Try this trick: hit PLAY, then hit PAUSE and wait for the video to load completely. Then hit PLAY again. Does that fix it?

    (BTW – if you email us your computer/internet specs, we might be able to suggest something!)

  69. priscilla williams says:

    We are having a bit of trouble viewing smooth videos. There is lag between sound and pic, stops to reload frequently. Otherwise, fantastic site!