Is It Alive?

How can you tell if something is alive or not? For this activity, grab a pencil and paper and watch the video below. Write down whether you think it is alive or not, and what action is going on to make you think it’s alive. Ready?

Walk Around the House

cookiesWalk around your house. In each room, make an observation by using your senses (sight, sound, smell, touch and taste). Based on this observation, ask a question.

For example, if you observe that the kitchen smells like cookies, you might ask, “Has someone been baking cookies?”

Create a testable hypothesis that answers each of your questions. Feel free to test any of your hypotheses.

Conducting Research

Think of an organism (bacteria, fish, reptiles…) that interests you. With adult help, search the Internet to find five web pages about this organism.

Answer the questions below about each web site in your science journal:

1. Who wrote the site? (If unknown, write “unknown.”)

2. If the site has an author, does the site list his or her qualifications for writing about the organism?

3. Is there an organization that created the site? If so, who are they?

4. Does the site give you a way to contact the author and/or organization if you have questions?

5. Based on your answers to questions 1-4 above, do you trust this site as being a good source for information about the organism? Why or why not?

Thumb War Hypotheses

thumb-warDifferent people have different sized thumbs and wrists. Do you think this will affect people’s success at winning a thumb war?

Open up your science journal and write a hypothesis to answer this question.
Now, find as many volunteers as you can. Measure everyone’s wrist and thumb circumference by wrapping the string around it and measuring the string used with the ruler. Write this down in your journal also.

Have each volunteer have a thumb war with each of the other volunteers three times.

Keep track of his or her victories and record all results in your journal.

You can create a graph of your results, with wrist circumference on the horizontal and number of victories on the vertical axis.

How does your data compare with your hypothesis?

Observing the Placebo Effect

boy drinking a glass of waterYou’ll need a couple of volunteers for this experiment, but it’s totally worth it. Make sure you’ve got your science journal to record your results.
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Classifying Objects

silverwareGrab a handful of buttons. Make sure there are all different kinds and colors.

If you don’t have buttons, use any pile of objects, like matchbox cars, coins, nuts, etc.

Now group the buttons according to size, color, texture, number of holes, shape, etc.

You can do this activity with shells, peanuts, plant leaves, or the back of your desk drawer. Is it easier to organize the non-living or the living things?

Similar and Different Organisms

We’re going to access another website (Seaworld) that has a HUGE catalog of living organisms and their scientific names. Here’s how you do it:
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