Using Keynote to Teach the Scientific Method

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I love teaching science to my students. You get to play, use your hands, and discover new things.

For those of you who aren’t teachers, I have to emphasis how incredibly fun this actually is. I spent an hour today with my students fashioning scissors, raising flags on pulley systems, clicking together wheel barrels and rolling out cars out of K-Nex. I’m living the dream!

However, I want to hold my kids to a high academic standard, so I always keep Adam Savage’s quote in mind:

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The Scientific Method

In order to keep the fun of playing while maintaining the integrity of science, it’s important to me to have students use the scientific method in the least painful way possible.

In the past, I’ve always used worksheets that have a different block for kids to fill in for each of the steps. These make it easy for students to understand where to put their planning, results and conclusions. However, I found that they became dependent on the worksheet to know how to do an experiment. On the other hand, trying to have my second graders hand write all the steps provided them with too little structure, and I found they needed lots of help remembering to label and figuring out where it all went.

This year, I decided to try using Keynote presentations for the same thing and the difference has been amazing. It has the exact amount of scaffolding my students need in a really fun package.

For each step in the Scientific Method, students create a new slide. It looks a little like this.

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I don’t need to prompt them to put a heading on their slide, because it is automatically formatted for a heading. At the same time, they do need to type the heading in, so as they work they are memorizing the steps of a quality science experiment.

Formatting

Formatting is easy. Students just click on the paintbrush to switch between numbering the steps of the procedure, making bullet points for the different conclusions they made, or having normal typing.

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Adding pictures and tables just takes a few clicks. Once in, they can easily change the size of the pictures of add/delete columns and rows on their tables.

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It is also easy to share their work on Seesaw. When logged onto Seesaw already, they can export their presentation directly into their journal for their teachers, parents, and peers to view and comment on.

The students love it!

It makes them feel really sophisticated and professional putting their work up in such a neat and tidy fashion. One student brought in her iPad from home for Show and Tell and showed the class a science experiment she did at home and wrote up on Keynote. Although it is possible she would have done the experiment on her own, Keynote was the key motivation behind her recording her data and turning that play into science!

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