What is Science? - Lesson for Kids

Lesson Transcript
Instructor
Lindsy Frazer

Dr. Frazer has taught several college level Science courses and has a master's degree in Human Biology and a PhD in Library and Information Science.

Expert Contributor
Nathan Shaul

Nathan has a bachelor's degree in biology from Duke University. He has experience as a peer tutor and has also taught online computer science classes.

Discover science, the processes and perspectives used to explore the universe, and its properties. Learn about making observations and using experiments to gather evidence. Updated: 12/27/2021

What Is Science?

Why do bears have fur coats? Because they would look silly wearing jackets!

This is just a silly joke, but think about bears for a minute. Why do they have fur coats? Why do they hibernate in the winter? People answer questions like these ones about how the world works using science.

The process of science starts with a question, but science is more than just being curious about how things happen; it's a system of observations and experiments used to ask and answer questions about the natural world. Science is a way for us to gain knowledge about how and why things happen the way they do by using our senses to observe the world and experiments to investigate how it works.

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  • 0:04 What Is Science?
  • 0:42 Making Observations
  • 1:21 Finding Proof
  • 2:33 Lesson Summary
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Making Observations

Scientists observe the world around them and ask questions like 'What is this?' or 'How does this work?' Observations are not only used to come up with questions, but also to describe how and why things happen the way they do. We know a lot about the universe now because of scientific observation, such as the fact that the sun is over 300,000 times heavier than the earth and some meteors can travel as fast as 44 miles per second.

How long does it take a sunflower to grow? You could answer this question the scientific way by planting a sunflower seed and observing how many days it takes the seed to grow into a flower. Your observations will give you new knowledge about sunflowers and how they grow.

Finding Proof

Imagine that after your sunflower has grown, you notice that it gets taller after it rains. Why is that? Sometimes just observing the world cannot help you answer a question about how it works.

After scientists observe something interesting, they try to come up with a reason why it happens. This is when the investigative work of science starts. Anyone can come up with a reason why rain makes flowers grow faster, or why leaves change color in the fall, or why there are clouds in the sky, but how do you know the reason is correct?

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Additional Activities

Activities on Science

Activity 1

Think of a question you have about how the world works. How would you use science to answer this question? If possible, design and conduct an experiment to answer your question, and share your results with a friend or family member.

Activity 2

Draw a diagram depicting the cyclic process, known as the scientific method, that is used in science to answer questions. Include the steps: ask a question, make a hypothesis, conduct an experiment, collect and analyze data, draw a conclusion, and share results in your flow chart.

Discussion Questions:

  • What is science?
  • Who uses science?
  • What are the benefits of science?

Sample Answers

Activity 1

Questions and responses to this activity will vary but should involve using the scientific method to answer a question.

Activity 2

Here is a sample diagram:

A diagram depicting the process used in science.

Discussion Questions

  • Science is an organized way to answer questions about how the world works.
  • Everyone can use science, including both scientists who work in laboratories and anyone else who has a question about the world that they would like to answer.
  • Science allows us to answer questions about the world, which helps us get a better understanding of the way things work.

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