How to Make Observations/ Mess About

Messing about creates situations that encourage children to wonder. Messing about also allows children to have essential prior experiences in exploring phenomena. This first phase of the investigation is not unstructured time. In fact, the teacher can encourage the process by selecting situations that will lead children to ask questions.

Students can be encouraged to mess about by engaging in initial observations and by manipulating materials.

How Can You Help With Initial Observations

Initial observations are introductory observations that students make of phenomena that might acquaint them with concepts, pique their curiosity, and motivate them to ask questions.

How Can You Help With Material Manipulations

The manipulation of materials may include building apparatus, taking things apart, or handling or playing with objects. 

How To Do It:

  • Provide instructional support to help students focus their observations and material manipulations
  • Provide benchmark lessons that teach a necessary concept or skill
  • Help students distinguish between observations and inferences
  • Teach students to be more systematic in recording their observations and manipulating materials
  • Have students go to nature to observe phenomena
  • Have students manipulate materials (take things apart, handle objects, etc.)
  • Have them watch videos or live demos of phenomena
  • Have them make drawings of what they observe or manipulate
  • Have them write down their observations
  • Have them write down any questions they have about what they see