Science Questions for Every Experiment – Upper Elementary

Learn, Plan, Science
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Science questions reinforce scientific processes. To debrief, use this list to clearly focus your experiments.

Ms. Sneed Develops Science Questions

Our favorite fourth grade teacher, Ms. Sneed, sighed deeply. “As you know, I’ve been working to improve my science labs and manage groups,” she told her mentor, Mrs. Brown.

“Things are going well,” she continued, “but my students are not grasping scientific processes. They work through their labs with ease. Then, when I ask how they established a fair test, they just stare at me like deer in headlights.”

Mrs. Brown tapped her pencil on the table. After a few moments of deep thought, she responded. “Rome was not built in a day.”


“These things take time,” Mrs. Brown smiled. “All teachers want kids to grasp concepts the first time around. Unfortunately, that rarely happens. Especially with something as complex as scientific processes.”

Ms. Sneed sighed again. “What should I do?”

“Maybe you could take time to debrief,” Mrs. Brown replied, “and ask pointed questions. We could work together to develop a list. Then you could refer to the list after each experiment.”

“I’m willing,” said Ms. Sneed. Promptly, they set to work. In about 15 minutes, they had a working list:

Looking to improve your science instruction? Use these questions to get fourth grade and fifth grade students thinking about scientific processes and vocabulary.

Are you feeling “pinspired”? Feel free to pin images from this post and come back later.

Ms. Sneed Debriefs

After their next lab, Ms. Sneed chose a few pointed questions. This time, she focused only on what they compared, controlled, and measured. As Mrs. Brown suggested, she referred to these steps as a part of a fair test. By limiting her questions, students responded relatively well.

As time went on, Ms. Sneed asked more questions. She picked and chose from the list based on the experiment they were conducting.

Adding Science Questions to Labs

A few months later, Mrs. Brown stopped by Ms. Sneed’s room. “How are the science questions going?”

“Funny you should ask.” She pointed to a group working at the back table, and the two teachers started walking that way.

As she approached the table, Mrs. Brown saw a four students working on an apple lab. They busily massing three apples: one whole, one halved, and one sliced. They took turns measuring and recorded their findings on a table.

Fourth and fifth grade students learn scientific processes by massing three apples every day for one week.

Ms. Sneed slid one student’s lab packet toward her. She opened to the first page. “I decided to integrate science questions in my labs.”

In this apple lab, fourth and fifth grade students learn about the scientific method. They state the question, hypothesis, variable, controls, tools, replication, results, and conclusion.

“I love this!” said Mrs. Brown.

“We do too,” smiled a student as he plopped an apple into the pan of the balance scale.

Enjoy Teaching

Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.

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