If you have been doing some science experiments, and it seems like they keep failing and you just want to quit doing them, this post is for you.
The first thing you should do if your experiment or scientific demonstration fails, is to look through your experiment carefully and make sure that you used exactly the materials that the project called for and that you followed the procedures exactly. Making a substitution, even if you thought it would work, may have caused an unexpected result.
And so, you have looked at the experiment and you believe you have followed it to a "T". Now what do you do? By doing some additional research, you might be able to uncover the problem. Perhaps the experiment as written is wrong. That happens sometimes, or perhaps you misinterpreted something in the experiment. By reading background material or similar experiments, you might find the problem.
If you still can't discover why the experiment failed, look at your variables. Did you inadvertently change something in the experiment? Sometimes something as simple as the weather can change the results of an experiment. Look closely at your controls. What can they tell you about what happened in the experiment?
Just because the experiment failed, it doesn't mean your science program has failed. If you follow these steps with your student, he is sure to learn a lot, and that is the ultimate goal, isn't it?
Lots of experiments fail, even when scientists do them. Sometimes the failed experiments are the beginning of a new discovery. Don't let the "failed" experiment get you down or make you want to experiment less. It is the process that is important.