Astute Observations

Observation: Using all your senses
Making observations is one of the first things that scientists do when conducting experiments. In order to make observations that are thorough, accurate, and specific, we need to acquire as much information as we can, using all the senses we can safely employ. Observations can come before writing a hypothesis and creating an experiment, which means it is part of the first step in the scientific method. Students learned what subjective (opinion) and objective (fact) statements are and that in science we always want to make observations that are fact based. Two types of objective observations (qualitative and quantitative) deal with defining the qualities of an object and putting a quantity to one of the object’s properties (ex. this object has 6 sides).

For the activity, students were given bags with mystery objects to observe. The students were allowed to use all senses except for sight. The goal was to practice making good observations and descriptions.

As a followup activity, watch the video of “The six blind men and the elephant.” The story emphasizes the importance of thorough observations. The six blind men in the story all have different descriptions of what an elephant looks like because each of them were only able to feel one part of the elephant. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPlJWk8-b4E

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