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How to Think Like a Scientist: An Engaging Activity for Students!

Think Like a Scientist:  How Do Scientists Think?

Posing the question, ” How do scientists think?”  is a great way to start off the year.    For younger students, you might ask “What is science?”

The objective is to get students to realize that science always searches for the truth.  Just because people have believed something, or for our whole lives we thought something was true, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is true.

Misconception or Fact

Students come to us with many misconceptions.  I like to discuss some common misconceptions with them.  I start with “Science is simply a class you take in school.”  Ask students if they believe this is true or a myth or misconception.  Discuss.  Throughout the year, you want students to develop an appreciation for the idea that everything has a science connection.  You can make up a card something like the one below.  Fold the card in half.  Print the misconception at the top, and the answer at the bottom.  Show the students the misconception with the answer folded underneath.  For each misconception, solicit what the students think.  Then build on or correct what they believe.  If students want to know more about a misconception, they can look it up online.

think-like-a-scientist-sharing-a misconception

The Orlando Science Center has a list of several popular misconceptions and the science behind them.

Get Students Thinking Like a Scientist

Students have usually heard things that they might question such as:

  • Dogs’ mouths are cleaner than our mouths.
  • Your blood is blue until oxygen hits it.
  • A mother bird will reject its baby if a person touches it.
  • If you drop food on the floor but pick it up within 5 seconds, it is OK to eat it.

Place students in small groups and ask them to brainstorm for things that they aren’t sure are facts.  Things that students have heard, but know think that they could be misconceptions.


As a follow-up to this, tell students that they should question everything.  Observe things closely.

If you want to save yourself some time, click our misconceptions resource.

Introduction of the Scientific Method

Using the scientific method gets students to think like a scientist.

  • They observe
  • Ask questions
  • Make a hypothesis based on what they know
  • Experiment
  • Report and analyze their results.

Here’s a fun video to introduce the scientific method.


Looking for other ways to kick off your school year?  Read this post.  Science Activities for the First Day of School.

And remember, it’s all science!


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  • I love starting my units with stories, I am thinking I could totally incorporate this idea into one of mine. I love telling stories of famous scientists in my classroom. Students love them and learn a lot.

    • All kids seem to love stories!! We are so happy that we were able to give you an idea that you can incorporate.


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