Our oldest son participated in his first science fair recently.
While I understand why the school wants the children to do this (keep in mind the oldest child there is six), it was challenging for me to kind of abandon my scientific training and visualize how a five year old could pull this off. I was mentally going through a written lab report, imagining it written by a five year old.
Luckily he showed me.
He had a few ideas. First he wanted to explore math (Mummy, I want to do addition and subtraction). So, I got to thinking of how I could set up various operations tables (addition and multiplication were easy, subtraction and division took a bit more work), and he could have a display of the different items he used to help him find the answer (beans, markers, buttons, pennies, etc.).
The next idea was short lived (Mummy, I want to do dinosaurs). No, wait, back to math.
The third idea was what we finally ended up doing (Mummy, I want to do colours).
So, we have the Colour Theory science project. I set him up with jars of water, spoons, and blue, red, and yellow food dye drops. He played with some guidance from us (what do you think will happen when you mix blue and red, sweetie?). He created a colour wheel showing what happens when you mix the primary colours. He also created a couple of visual colour equations for black and brown.
I'm not sure what branch of science this would fit into (physics, I suppose), but what's more important was that he learned how to hypothesize, perform the experiment, and display the results. All in his Woody pajamas.