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Science As It relates to Dragons and Vikings

Science is the effort to understand and explain everything that happens in the world through logic and experimentation. While many think of science as something that only happens in a laboratory with lab coats and Bunsen burners, science is actually used everywhere and is relevant in all areas. Science is especially important to both dragons and Vikings.

How do dragons fly? How can they breathe fire? Why can one dragon only shoot out five bursts of fire, while another can shoot out six? These questions can all be answered by scientific study. The physics of flying can be studied through the shape of the dragon’s wings, the air resistance and lift, as well as the biology of the dragon that makes it possible for a dragon’s wings to lift its body.

When first bonding with Toothless, Hiccup uses science and experimentation to invent a new tail for Toothless allowing Toothless to fly like he did before his injury. All inventions that structure our world are achieved through the scientific method which involves many trial and error processes. The Vikings use science not only to come up with inventions, but also to help with sailing, building and rebuilding their village, and improving their quality of life.

One of the tools many of the Vikings are familiar with is experimentation, which encourages students to make observations and measurements to test various questions.  However, experiments involve lots of steps, materials, and calculations that could overwhelm a young learner. Thankfully, the scientific method helps simplify this process. The scientific method can be broken down into these steps:

  1. Ask a question

    This question should revolve around something your child wants to observe.  Most likely they will emphasize the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of a certain topic.  The best types of questions will be measurable, ideally with quantitative values.

  2. Do background research

    Encourage your child to refine their experiment by researching similar experiments that have already been conducted.  Perhaps their question was already answered or their research will inspire them to alter their original inquiry.

  3. Create a hypothesis

    The hypothesis is the statement that your child will be testing.  It is an educated guess on how they think the experiment will unfold.  Ideally, the hypothesis will be written in a way that is easily measurable and addresses the question they are seeking to answer.  A hypothesis is written like this:

    “If ___(I do this)___, then __(this outcome)___ will happen.”

  4. Experiment

    This is the exciting phase where your child can test the hypothesis.  One important thing to remember is that the experiment should be fair.  It is tempting to conduct an experiment in a way that yields biased results, but a true experiment will strive to be objective in its findings.

  5. Analyze data and draw a conclusion

    Once the experiment is finished, your child will collect data and determine if the hypothesis was true or false.  Many scientists’ hypotheses are proven false from the experiment in which case they will construct a new one and conduct more experiments.  Even if they are correct, they may retest their hypotheses to ensure their findings were correct.

  6. Communicate the results

    The final step to any experiment is recording the results.  Create a report detailing the question, previous experiments, hypothesis, experiment, and data.

The scientific method simplifies otherwise complex experiments and allows us to gain valuable, detailed insight from these procedures. Now that your child understands the steps of conducting an experiment, they can test their own questions and hypotheses. They can experiment on virtually anything and everything, satisfying their hunger for knowledge in fun ways.