child examining rock

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Investigate at home

Be a scientist at home and find specimens where you live. Use your scientific skills, make observations, ask questions and look for evidence.

Getting started

Select a specimen

A specimen is an object from nature that we can learn from. It could be anything from a leaf collected on a walk to the spider hanging around the bathroom. Choose something that interests you, but be careful not to disturb any living animals. Be patient and watch quietly from a distance.

Make observations

Look closely and try to see something you haven't noticed before. Use the investigation toolkit if you are stuck.

Investigation toolkit

This activity is more about using scientific skills than learning facts. Here are some questions that might be useful:

  • Why did you choose this specimen?
  • How does it look and feel?
  • What patterns, colours, and textures do you notice?
  • Have you seen anything like this before?
  • What questions do you have about your specimen?
  • Can you see any clues that might help you to answer your question?
  • Does your sibling, parent, guardian or friend agree with your idea to answer your question? What do they think the idea might be?
Rock being weighed with scales

Record your observations

Draw what you can see, and describe, it using as many adjectives as you can. Try to be precise by taking measurements - how much does it weigh, how long is it? You can record it on an investigate recording sheet (PDF) which can be printed at home.

Take your investigation further

  • Ask questions. What would you like to know about your specimen?
  • Suggest answers. Are there any clues on your specimen that might help you?

You don't have to know anything about your specimen. Investigations are about looking closely, asking questions and searching for clues.

Let's begin!

Download your investigate recording sheet. If you don't have a printer - no problem, you can copy it on a piece of paper. 

You could also make a journal to record your investigation in. Use our How to make a nature journal video for tips.

  • Curriculum links and guidance for parents and teachers