News Flash: Everyone is a scientist!

I saw this article last week and was kind of surprised it qualified as news.

Young children play like scientists work, according to a new research project at MIT and Stanford University. Source.

Of course kids are little scientists.  Science is basically just problem solving.  Don’t know how something works?  Try and figure it out.  Whether it’s figuring out the structure of DNA, figuring out how to use a spoon, or figuring out why the toilet bowl is running, it’s the same process.

The title may well have been:  “Everybody does science everyday!

Let me explain what I mean.

Here’s a little flow chart outlining the steps in the scientific method:


It pretty much boils down to trial and error.  If you’re right, you stop trying.  If you’re wrong, you try again until something works.

Here’s that process applied to your running toilet bowl:

Question:  Why is my toilet bowl constantly running?

Background Research:  Google (or perhaps just do like grad students do and skip this step entirely)

Hypothesis:  Something is wrong with my toilet and I know nothing about toilets.  Maybe jiggling the handle will help.

Test with Experiment:  Jiggle the handle.

Analyze:  Still running?  Nope. Great.  or Still running?  Yup.  Crap.

Hypothesis is true/not true!

Report Results:  You can skip this part because nobody cares about your toilet bowl- except maybe the plumber you have to call to fix the toilet.

Here’s that process as your baby would apply it to using a spoon:

Question:  How does this work?

Background Research:  Watch adults around you.

Hypothesis:  It goes in my mouth.

Test with Experiment:  Put spoon in mouth.

Analyze:  Wow!  This tastes great!

Hypothesis is partially true!  It goes in my mouth and tastes great too!

Report Results:  Shout, slobber, throw spoon on the floor, cry until you get it back.

Babies know nothing.  They have to learn everything.  Thus every day they face a mountain of problems to solve.  How do I put myself to sleep?  How do I get that woman/man’s attention?  Same goes for kids- how does this toy work?  How can I reach that cabinet with the junk food in it?  How can I avoid going to bed at bedtime?

There’s a reason most people can (sometimes) agree on next steps to problem solving- because they proceed in a logical manner (this obviously does not apply to certain subgroups i.e. politicians).  Whether it’s the copy machine, a check engine light or a little kid figuring out how to most effectively annoy his older sister, trial and error is the way to go.

I think the newsworthy-ness of this article really boils down to adults not knowing when they are, in fact, being scientists.  What are the steps you take when your computer is running slow?  Ctrl+Alt+Del?  Quit a buggy application?  Restart?  Run a diagnostic?  Check how much space is left on your hard drive?  Each of those steps tests a variable, so, you’re being a scientist.

What about when your baby won’t stop crying?  What variables do you check?  Dirty, hungry, sleepy, bored, gassy, etc.  You try/test each one and see which produces the desired results (quiet).  If you finally find that the only thing that will calm your wailing infant is to listen to iTunes while watching its Vizualization feature- next time dirty/hungry/sleepy doesn’t work, you might just jump right to iTunes.  You’ve used the scientific method to improve your parenting skills!

[The iTunes solution is one I know works based on empirical evidence gathered through rigorous, hands-on experimentation with my own infant.  However, perhaps because I am an actual scientist, conducting experiments and such on a daily basis for my job, I totally recognized the Scientific Method/trial and error process at work in my own child rearing.  I look back on my daughter’s infancy and think I should apologize for how long it took me to become proficient at mothering.]

Basically, everyone uses the Scientific Method every day, even if they don’t know it.

News Flash:  Everybody is a scientist!


Filed under Mother, Scientist

61 responses to “News Flash: Everyone is a scientist!

  1. mkwewer

    Yeah, I’m seriously in love with your blog. This is hilarious.

  2. Pingback: A book for a baby scientist (or is it for a scientist’s baby)? | mommacommaphd

  3. Pingback: My Favorite Blogs | mommacommaphd

  4. Pingback: Kids who aren’t taught learn more? | mommacommaphd

  5. Marty Schneider

    Honestly, the most interesting element of this post was the JCP commercial with Ellen. Beyond that, though, the breakdown of the scientific method to it’s most simple elements was brilliant. The implied persistence required for infants to keep re-engaging in scientific research inspires a new charge for students studying the sciences: “Do Science Like A Baby.”

  6. Cassidy Brunson

    In addition to the the insight that the Stanford stuidy proved that adults use the scientific method every day, I think that the study proved that in order to satisfy our curiosity, we have to use skills that are elementary and instinctual to us. Science is human nature.

  7. DN

    This is blog is very true, most people just don’t know it.

  8. DN

    Where is my edit comment button?

  9. Mariah Martinez

    this blog is really true i really didnt notice that everybody does use sience and nobody really notices as you break it down in steps yes everyone uses sience everuything pretty much is science.

  10. jake

    In addition to the the insight that the Stanford stuidy proved that adults use the scientific method every day, I think that the study proved that in order to satisfy our curiosity, we have to use skills that are elementary and instinctual to us. Science is human nature

  11. Mystery

    This is a very interesting topic, and Yes science is used in almost every aspect of our life which is very mind blowing. The weirdest part is ive never viewed it like this.

  12. Pingback: I’m not the only one who thinks everyone is a scientist! | mommacommaphd

  13. Amy & Tyler

    This was a very interesting article, that I agree with in many different ways. I do believe we are all technically scientist because we all wonder and are curious about things, and it’s natural for us to want to figure these things out. Even if we dont haVE A FANCY LAB OR CHEMICALS AND TOOLS TO USE WE STILL HAVE TO USE OUR BRAIN AND LOGIC AND TECHNICALLY ARE STILL FUGURING OUR QUESTIONS OUT. bASICALLY EVERYTHING WE DO HAS SCIENCE BEHIND IT.

  14. missy

    This is cute and very true. Littel ones try new things everyday and figure things out even tho it might be upside down or inside out after trying and trying finding out more and more about it they soon learn after a couple times how it actually work.

  15. Ali

    I’ve noticed that this is true, almost all of the things you wonder about are discovered through using the scientific process, and babies learn new things this way constantly.

  16. This is very true, I never noticed how we use science in everything we do. Even the most simplest things, like this. Very eye opening!

  17. Natashia Gray

    This is very true we are all scientists in our own unique way. Its interesting how we all are expiermenting and learning things like a scientist and do not even realize it. Scientists are everywhere in all watts of life!

  18. Stephanie Lugo

    I never looked at it in this way, I guess we really do use science most of the time in all we do.

  19. DF

    I thought i understood science like this well, but in a different way of seeing it, in a formal way like taught in school. What first came to mind reading this was this is how we should explain to elementary schoolers, i feel like they would catch on quicker.

  20. Corey McGraw

    Now i see that science is everywhere, involving everything. I saw it as a subject in class and something only degreed scientists do. I am a scientist too.

  21. Alyssa Young

    I kind of knew we all used science everyday, but I never really thought about it until I read this post. I mostly thought of it as something only professional scientists use. From now on I’m going too see science in a new way and regard everyone as scientists.

  22. I agree that everyone is a scientist, You can prove it because everything we do everyday falls under some catagory of science

  23. Brianna

    I agree that we use science everyday. I never really thought about it until i read this, but now that i think about it everything we do on a daily basis has to do with science. We all learn and expierence new things everyday. And we all have curiosity to things and so we use science to answer what were curious about.

  24. i completely agree with this poat i think that everyone is a scientist. ive never viewed science from this point of view.

  25. Qu'Onu and Monica

    We agree with this point of view on this article because due to curiousity everyone uses the scientific method.

  26. vanessa

    I agree to this post. I like the examples she used to show everyone is a scientist.

  27. Adrian

    Great post with great examples

  28. Devis Chaudiere

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing
    around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  29. Kalie Lewis

    I do believe that trial and error is a part of science but i also believe that has to do with finding out why the experiment worked or why it didn’t is the other major aspect of science.

  30. Katie

    i believe everyone is a scientist in there own way

  31. Manuel C.

    That is very true everyone from when there babies to when there old they are curious about how some things work even if its the smallest thing like a fork or to the biggest thing like how the human body works everybody is a scientist!

  32. Sophia

    So true. We use the scientific method every day and don’t even realize it. It help us better ourselves.

  33. billy

    very true. science is used every were even right now.

  34. Arianna

    I think that this is a very true point. Without acknowledging it, people use the scientific method in everyday life. This just shows ways that we start using science at a very young age and continue to do so for the rest of our lives.

  35. Brittney Bustos

    Very true. I watch my daughter do her stuff every day, just never thought of it this way. I knew she was learning but didn’t think if relating it to the scientific method.

  36. David

    This blog is very true. Everybody is a scientist in their own way.

  37. Pingback: Every baby is a scientist. | mommacommaphd

  38. Tyler Brooks

    Tyler Brooks

    I agree with the article above. I believe that all that happens in our world has some sort of science behind it. I also believe that science can be ageless and we must give credit to even our young ones when they make a scientific observation.

  39. Pingback: A day in the life of a Sci-Mom | mommacommaphd

  40. Joshua Warren

    this article is very insightful on how challenging a babies life can be, also this article has taught me that we use science every day even when completing the easiest of tasks such as a babies learning how to use a spoon

  41. Pingback: Science isn’t perfect, but it is self-correcting. | mommacommaphd

  42. Pingback: Pre-school | mommacommaphd

  43. Alex

    True in every sense that it can be i don’t really see why they they chose a baby for it but i guess it works

  44. Logan Mountain

    It is true that figuring out what things do is an important part of science, and that everyone uses he scientific method to figure out things in day to day life. But that’s not all science is. A large part of science is figuring out WHY things work. Babies don’t question why he spoon goes in their mouth, they just know it does. Most people don’t question WHY in their day to day life. Nobody asks why we drive on he rig side of the road, they just do,

  45. Angelina

    I believe all of this is true. Everything we do on a day to day basis is scientific-like. We work at things until we figure them out. The only reason there are actual titled scientists out there is because they went to college to earn that degree and work on what they desire. So deep down, yes we are all scientists.

  46. ianna

    i found that the video, made sense more when they used a baby learnin how to eat. its simple but to the point. and it made me see theres science in every aspect of life, from beginning to end.

  47. Trinity T

    I think this article is very true because everyone, no matter how old they are, are faced with challenges everyday. And these challenges are usually dealt with best using the scientific method. Although we don’t realize it, our thought process when faced with these challenges are similar to the scientific method without us realizing. I agree that everyone uses science in some way every single day.

  48. Destiny N. Martinez

    I found that this article was very true. No matter what stage of life you’re at, or what your profession might be, you will always use science to figure things out. This can be anything from how to eat, to what the makeup of a star is.

  49. Chad

    wow thats cool

  50. Thalir

    This article is so true! Science is everywhere around us and it is any and everything! Everyone is a scientist, even babies! As humans, we all have a process and a way that we analyze what we think. When we think of science, we think of long experiments, questions meeting with other questions, and brains on overload! As stated in the article above however, science can be as simplistic as how to operate a spoon! We have never thought about science and scientists in this way.

  51. alana

    we all start somewhere and just like babies some of us are naturally curious and some know naturally what to do we all learn and it becomes nature with out a second thought

  52. Cody

    Well many of us that don’t give up our first try are scientists. But other than that I agree completely.

  53. Tobs

    This all sounds like things that people commonly do it there life time.

  54. Tobs

    This all sounds like things that people commonly do in there life time.

  55. Morgan B.

    The explanation explaining the scientific process by using a baby figuring out how to use a spoon was such a simple and effective explanation, it was very to the point. Science is definitely, all around us and we use it everyday. Even if its just trying to figure out what’s causing the fridge not to close all the way. This article was to the point and simplified science to the point that I’m sure even a five year old would understand it witch is awesome.

  56. Dylan Thomas

    Ya id say its a pretty common thing as well

  57. Toby

    This Blog Is True It Says Science is basically just problem solving. And Well If We Don’t Really Know How To Do Something We Try And Try To Figure It Out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s