Explore how scientists and animals use observation to understand our world.
Time needed: 30 minutes
Scientists study nature to better understand how it works. They use what they learn to create solutions that help people, animals, and the environment. Scientists use a process called the scientific method to solve problems and learn new things.
One of the first steps of the scientific method is observation. Observation is watching and noticing something using all your senses, especially sight. It’s the start of every experiment and scientific discovery.
To get started, find a sibling, parent, or family member to be your partner.
PART 1: PLAY “I SPY”
Start by playing a few rounds of I Spy with your partner. Choose an object in the room (or outside) and say, “I spy with my little eye something that is [color].” Then ask your partner to guess the object.
After you play each round, brainstorm what other clues you could have given them to guess each object, apart from its color. For example, you could have shared how big or small it is or what shape it is.
PART 2: LEARN ABOUT OBSERVATION AND THE FIVE SENSES
When we play I Spy, we use our eyes to observe an object's color, shape, size, or other characteristics. Observation is looking at something carefully and thinking about what you see. These clues, our observations, help us learn something! Every clue you gave in I Spy is an observation of something you saw, but you can use all your senses to observe.
Now it’s time to name your five senses! Stand up and point to the body part you use to:
Did you point to your eyes to help you see? Your fingers to touch? Ears to hear? Mouth to taste? Nose to smell? All our senses give us different kinds of information. Even if one of your senses isn't as strong as the others, you can still use it to learn a lot about the world!
PART 3: EXPERIENCE HOW DIFFERENT ANIMALS OBSERVE THE WORLD
Sometimes we're surprised at what we learn if we look at the world in a different way.
For the next part of the activity, act out what it’s like to observe the world as different types of animals!
First pretend you’re an ant. How do you see the world? What do you observe? You might need to get down very low and pretend you're tiny!
What if you were a bird? You’d be able to fly high above the ground. What would you see when you’re flying? What would you see if you were perched on a branch or in your nest?
Finally think of two or three other animals, like a cat, giraffe, or snake. How do they observe the world? Act out what it’s like to be each animal and describe what you’re observing!
Each of these animals observes the world in a very different way. They use their senses to gather information that helps them find food or a place to sleep.
And that’s it! The next time you’re observing something, remember to look at the object from different angles. Go close and look for the tiny details. Then step back and think about how the object you're observing fits into everything around it; this will help you learn something new about your world.
You’ve now completed part of the Daisy Think Like a Citizen Scientist Journey! If you had fun doing this, you might want to learn more about the scientific method, participate in a citizen science project, or take action with the rest of the Daisy Think Like a Citizen Scientist Journey.