Predictions are guesses about what might happen in the future. Usually, they are based on prior knowledge or experiences. During the Scientific Method, scientists make predictions and then design experiments to determine whether their predictions are correct or incorrect.
Remember, in early childhood sometimes children will follow all of the steps of the Scientific Method and at other times, they can just focus on one or two skills. To encourage more predictions, you must simply ask for them. Here are just a few, general examples that can be modified to fit different situations:
- What do you think will happen next?
- What do you think will happen if we add…?
- What might happen if we remove X?
- What changes do you think we will see?
- What do you think will happen if we move this piece?
- How many items will fit in this container?
- How many days will it take to see a change?
- Why do you think it works that way?
- What do think we will learn?
These types of questions should be planned as part of group readings and lessons that occur during the day. Teachers should also be on the lookout for teachable moments that could be enhanced through the use of prompts for predictions. Spontaneous predictions often lead to opportunities to design simple experiments to find out if predictions are correct. Be sure to remain flexible enough in your curriculum planning to allow for and encourage these unplanned experiments.
Whenever possible, document the children’s responses so they can refer back to their predictions. You can gather multiple children’s answers on one datasheet, or gather predictions from individual children.
For the main article Strengthening Scientific Thinking, CLICK HERE
For the article Making Observations, CLICK HERE
For the article Asking Questions & Gathering Information, CLICK HERE
For the article Experimenting & Sharing Results, CLICK HERE