Introduction to the Scientific Method

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In this activity (page 26 of the PDF), learners make observations, formulate hypotheses and design a controlled experiment, based on the reaction of carbon dioxide with calcium hydroxide. This is an introductory activity in "The Brain in Space: A Teacher's Guide with Activities for Neuroscience" but can be used to introduce any group of learners about the scientific method. This activity requires 3 days of 40-45 minutes of learning each day. The lesson guide includes background information, variations depending on age/level, and post-lab discussion suggestions.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 7 days

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 10 grams calcium hydroxide powder
  • One liter of water
  • Filter paper
  • Filter funnel
  • Large bottle (2 liters)
  • Flasks or small bottles
  • Plastic test tubes, 50 ml in volume
  • Straws
  • Goggles
  • Foil
  • Other materials depending on the experiments designed


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Biosphere
  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
    • Human Body
      • Respiration
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
      • Rate
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • MacLeish, Marlene Y. ; McLean, Bernice R.


  • Public domain, NASA,