The first chapter of every middle and high school science textbook I have ever seen contains a section on “the scientific method.” As a result, by the time your students get to you they are probably very adept at reciting how science is done, or at least how they think it is done. A short list of easy steps is presented which always, incomprehensibly begins with forming a hypothesis (which some people insist must be an if-then statement), and then BOOM! Science has happened. This oversimplification and the dry exercises I’ve seen used to “teach” it led me to dispense with teaching the scientific method explicitly for several years. Rather, I wanted my students to gain an understanding of science by doing science, as best as we can replicate in a classroom, though inquiry labs, class discussions, and defending claims with evidence.
The first day of school for me has always been daunting for my new students (in AP chemistry, where I know the kids, it’s so much easier). I want my students to know the following: -Who is this tiny person who looks like a teenager (that’d be ME, folks)? Where did she come from and why is she teaching us? -What does chemistry look like?