Using Experiments To Practice The Scientific Method
Last week I shared the scientific method and the steps involved in it. This week I would like to share 3 fun and easy experiments kids can try that use the scientific method.
This is a fun experiment that lets kids create telephones and then test them out. I did it with my grandsons last weekend and they really enjoyed it. The oldest one did the worksheets and the younger two just played with the phones. We didn't have all the different types of containers, but we did do two different types and we tried 3 different string lengths. Check out the photos below.
If you are interested in finding out more, check out the preview for the resource. Click on the image to go to the resource.
Are You A Rectangle Or A Square?
This activity is actually a measurement activity that I did with my classes. It was a great way to learn more about measuring, while using the scientific method and investigating in a scientific way. I used it as a math activity for my student led conferences a couple of times as well. The kids were excited to see if their parents were rectangles or squares. Find out more by clicking the image below.
The Clink Clunk Test
If you want to surprise your kids, try this gravity experiment. They will be amazed to learn that the weight of the objects doesn't determine which will land first. It is also interesting for them to see how a crumpled ball of paper and a single sheet of paper react differently. Sign up for my newsletter and get your free copy of The Clink-Clunk Test.
These are only 3 of many different experiments that can be done using the scientific method. The more comfortable your students get with using this scientific process, the easier it will be to examine and investigate different things they wish to learn more about.
If you would like to get your own copy of the scientific method along with the worksheets that accompany the poster, click the image below.
Have fun trying out the above experiments and many more as your students explore the wonders around them.
Using The Scientific Method
The scientific method, also known as the scientific process, is a method used to test out experiments and solve different hypotheses. There are several steps that help to prepare, test, and evaluate the results of your testing.
It takes a question or problem that needs to be solved to begin the process. Once the question or problem is determined a hypothesis or good guess of what will happen is formed.
Once the question and hypothesis are determined, it is time to prepare to do the experiment to test out the hypothesis.
First the materials need to be gathered and then the steps needed to do the experiment are decided. This is the procedure.
It is important to observe what happens as the experiment progresses. These observations will help to determine if things are working or not. This is also referred to as data collection.
Once the experiment is complete, studying the data results will help to determine if the hypothesis was correct or not. Data analysis is necessary if we want an accurate evaluation.
The final step is the conclusion. Was our hypothesis correct or not? Based on the observations and data results, this can help with deciding the next steps. If the hypothesis was correct we were successful. if the hypothesis was not correct, we can try to figure out what went wrong and revise our experiment to try again.
Egg Drop Experiment
My grandson just completed an egg drop experiment with his grade 2/3 class. They started out the process with a class discussion of what would happen if an egg was dropped off a roof. They then discussed ways they could protect the egg so it wouldn't break.
Once they came up with some possible solutions, they were challenged with the task to invent a way to protect the egg from breaking when it was dropped.
The challenge was accepted and each student came up with a plan. They created their inventions and then the teacher took all the egg contraptions to the roof. The ultimate test was about to begin.
The students cheered as each egg was dropped from the roof. Did it break? According to the teacher, about half of the eggs did not break. That's a pretty good result.
Here is my grandson with his invention. Apparently it broke a few times during the trials at home, but when it mattered, it did not break.
You can see the egg is still intact.
Another student made a similar design, but he had a parachute attached to it. My questions to the class would be:
"How are the two designs similar?"
"How are they different?"
"Did the parachute make a difference?" "Was it needed?"
I am not sure how the results were tallied or what happened next in his classroom, but it made me think about all the different types of experiments I did with my classes while I was still teaching.
When I talked with my grandson after the experiment, I asked what they had done to prepare for the experiment. He had used the steps of the scientific method but didn't realize it. I suspect that the teacher will be sharing this method with the class soon. That is only a guess, but it would make sense.
The Scientific Method
I created a resource using the scientific method for my students to use when we did the various experiments. It was a way to document the scientific process that was used while working through the experiment. I found it to be an effective tool for organizing their thoughts and observations. You can click the image below to check it out.
There are so many different great experiments that kids can try to practice using the scientific method. The egg drop experiment is only one idea. I will share a few other ideas next time.
Life Sciences Study
Studying life cycles is fun to do in the spring. These can be plant or animal life cycles, depending on the interests and availability of resources.
I am going to share a couple of different life cycle activities and an animal research project that I found successful and exciting for my students.
Plant Life Cycles
Plant life cycles are fun to do because kids love to watch a seed become a plant. When a vegetable seed is used, they can eat the vegetable when it is ready. They can also take the seeds and use them to start the cycle over again.
Bean plants are great to use because they grow fairly quickly and the various stages are easy to see. There are different ways to watch the changes, but a couple of ones I found worked well are the baggie and wet paper towel version and a CD case version. Both versions make it easy to see the seed sprout and the roots develop. When leaves start to develop, the seedlings can be planted in a pot to continue growing.
If you are interested in recording observations, I created this journal for my students to use and it has been popular with many other teachers as well. I also did a plant investigation product about what plants need. Check them out here.
Butterfly Life Cycle
Butterflies are fun to watch as they emerge from the chrysalis. I remember studying the butterfly life cycle with my students. They were in awe of how a caterpillar could become such a beautiful creature. We ordered Painted Lady larvae and then watched them as they moved through the life cycle. We then released the butterflies into the schoolyard.
Painted lady butterflies are found all around the world. They take only a few weeks to go from egg to butterfly so they are great to study in a classroom situation. Here is a new resource that relates to the butterfly life cycle and includes some interesting facts, posters, and activities.
Other Life Cycles
There are many other life cycles that can be explored. Several of my colleagues have studied the life cycle of a chicken and a salmon. I didn't do these myself, but I did have my classes connect with those that were studying these life cycles and this allowed for some great conversations and opportunities for the other students to share their knowledge. They enjoyed seeing the baby chicks running around the classroom.
Animal Research Project
Animal research was a big hit with my students. They were able to find out basic information and interesting facts and then use the information to create a powerpoint of their animal. Check out these templateanim
One of the most difficult parts of this research was learning to write down the main ideas in point form and use their own words when creating the project. I was really impressed with the powerpoints that they created once they understood this concept.
These are just a few of the different activities that can be studied when learning about life cycles and habits of plants and animals. Kids love investigating the world around them, so the hands on nature of these studies will engage them.
I hope you have as much fun as they do as you study plants and animals.
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Taking Learning Outdoors
Spring is just around the corner and along with it comes longer days, sunshine, fresh breezes, and early buds and blooms. What a great time to get outdoors with your students and take learning outside as well.
Ideas For Social Studies And Science Outdoors
There are many different opportunities to cover academics outside and still enjoy the outdoors. Here are a few ideas that may help.
For social studies, neighbourhood walks, checking out the community, following maps, doing geocaching and using coordinates are just a few things that can be done. If you want more information, check out my post about social studies outdoors.
For science, you can do experiments such as coke and mentos to check out chemical reactions, the clink clunk test to investigate gravity, or do things to check out nature. Starting a garden, growing plants in pots and following their growth, taking a walk in the park or the forest, if you live near one, or visiting the seashore if you live near the ocean are just a few ideas. Kids love to interact with nature and they learn many life skills that they can use later on as well.
Reading and Writing Ideas For Outdoors
For reading and writing there are many different options to try.
Reading can be done in the environment by checking out signs, reading books with buddies while enjoying the sunshine, and playing games like Scoot for sight words are just a few ideas.
During the warmer weather, we would often take our books outside for silent reading and find a quiet spot on the hillside at the edge of the playground to do our reading.
One of my favorite activities for writing is to go outside and explore our senses. After making a list of different things for each of the senses, we use these ideas to develop stories. We choose a theme and use the list to create a descriptive story. My descriptive writing templates were developed for this.
Math Ideas For Outdoors
For math, the outdoors is a great place to work on measurement activities. You can do activities that work with larger units such as meters or yards and you can do perimeter and area activities. Kids love using the trundle wheels and measurement tapes to measure the fields, buildings, and other objects.
The information gathered outside can then be used for creating scaled diagrams on graph paper.
Taking Physical Activity And Gym Class Outdoors
Taking gym outside is an easy thing and I suspect is often done already. Many of the different sports can be done outside as well as inside. The fields and nearby parks are great open spaces for running activities, soccer, kickball, and games. Kids love being able to run around and get active without worrying about being too noisy.
At my school, there is a courtyard and blacktop area with basketball hoops, tetherball, foursquare areas, or hopscotch games available. I liked using this for doing rotations of activities. Everyone could be doing activities at the same time instead of some people waiting for their turn.
Try Music Games Outdoors
Even music class can go outdoors. I used to take my primary music classes outside to do circle games that require running and even rhythm games. One of my favorite rhythm games was a version of California kickball. Instead of just pitching the ball, I would clap out rhythms and they would have to say the rhythm correctly in order to get the ball thrown for them.
These are just a few examples of how you can take learning outdoors this spring. It really comes down to your own comfort and creativity. Enjoy the weather and have fun teaching outside.
Back To Basics Is Key
Getting back to basics is key this year as many children strive to catch up after a year of online learning and missed opportunities for individual support due to the pandemic. Last week I spoke about focusing on the mental health of the kids first and academics second. That doesn't mean that we stop teaching the academics and following the curriculum, but we need to find the balance that will support the students where they are at. Returning to some of the basics will be key.
For younger children, literacy is huge. Developing and nurturing literacy skills is important. This may include phonics, phonemic awareness, word attack skills, emergent reading and writing activities, and guided reading groups. Sometimes all of these will be needed as the range in primary classrooms can be developmentally wide.
Choosing activities that are interactive and hands on will be more engaging than worksheets and will also allow for small group work so that everyone can be working on different skills or concepts that are appropriate. This will require some assessment, preparation, and scheduling, but it will be worth it.
Check out my guided reading post to see how I managed this in a multi-level classroom.
For math, most curriculums work with a spiral approach so that skills are reviewed and then built on as the concepts are mastered. This is a good practice and makes it easier to adjust to meet the needs of the kids. In the primary grades it is important to make sure that the activities start with the concrete before moving to the abstract. Some kids are able to do this quickly and others will require additional practice with hands on activities. Small group activities and guided math situations will help with this as well. As with the literacy activities, you will need to assess, prepare, and schedule things to make them run smoothly. Check out this blog post for tips that help kids struggling with math.
Social studies in the primary grades can be global or community based depending on the specific concepts being taught. Mapping activities can be simple or complex to fit the needs of the children. Studying about the community and more global ideas can also be made simpler or more detailed for the children. Project based activities work well for this. Check out this post to see how I successfully used projects with my primary classes. You can also grab a mapping activity from my followers free resources page if you have subscribed to my newsletter.
As for science choose a few different areas and focus on them. It isn't necessary to do all the different topics. This will allow deeper learning and concept development. Kids love doing science experiments and learning about how things work. You can even add in a project if it works. There is a free gravity experiment on my followers free resources page as well as some other free resources in my TPT store that may help you out.
Fall Is Almost Here
Fall is around the corner. I don't know about you, but we had a beautiful summer. Some days it was a little hotter than we liked, but for the most part, we couldn't have asked for better weather. It was a great time to get outdoors and enjoy nature.
Now that fall is arriving, this doesn't have to end. There is still time to get outdoors and do things before the weather gets too cold or wet. This is also a great time to focus on nature and science in the classroom using the outdoors as your source for material and data. There are also many opportunities for math and literacy activities.
Fall colors are so beautiful. Driving along the streets, the different colored leaves create a wonderful backdrop. Kids love to explore the different kinds of leaves and collect them as they begin to fall off of the trees.
There are many different activities that can be done with the leaves such as math activities, science activities, writing activities, and art activities. You can use the colors and shapes for creating art projects, do sorting and classifying activities in math, investigate how the colors change and why as a science activity, or maybe use the collecting of the leaves as a story prompt. These are only a few ideas. Get creative.
Beach walks can still be done in the fall, and different activities can be included that explore the sea life there. It is always fun to watch the kids explore the seashore and search for the different sea animals and plants there. They can be found in the tide pools collecting shells, crabs, seaweed, and other things for scavenger hunts. The sea stars and sea cucumbers are always a big hit as well. I remember taking along lots of magnifying glasses so they could get a closer look at the different things they found.
Note: We were careful about handling the sea life and we made sure that we were able to return them back to their environment safely. We always put everything back before we left. It is important to leave the sea creatures in their environment.
Exploring Parks And Forests
Going for walks in the parks and forested areas can also be fun to do in the fall. Taking a look at how things might have changed during the different seasons, what different animals might be around, what different plant life looks like, checking out the streams or creeks, etc. are just some of the possible things that can be investigated.
Geocaching is also a fun activity to do. It is difficult to do with a large group because it is supposed to be stealthy and not attract attention, but it still can be done in certain settings. A modified scavenger hunt could also be done that mimicks geocaching but is set up for a specific group instead of the public.
Most people think about planting seeds in the spring and watching them grow throughout the summer, but there are also many things that can be planted for the fall. Checking out some of the fall harvests and taking a field trip to a pumpkin patch or farm could also be fun to do. Perhaps some plant investigations can be done now and even compared with plant investigations in the spring.
This is only a sampling of things that can be done in the fall that get kids outdoors. The key is to find ways to keep them actively exploring and learning both inside and outside the classroom. The more connections to real life, the richer the learning will be.
I hope you find some of these ideas helpful for your students. I would love to hear about some of the things you do outdoors with you class. Let me know in the comments.
Getting back into the swing of things
Summer break is over. School is back in session! For some, you have already been in session for a few weeks. For others, this is your last weekend of break. The question on many teachers' minds is "What will this year bring?"
Some kids are excited, some are anxious, some are disinterested, and some are unhappy. There are so many emotions during the regular return to school, but with the uncertainty and constant changes last year as we navigated through the unknowns of the pandemic, some emotions escalated. Many kids experienced more anxiety, confusion, and frustration as they tried to learn in new environments and situations, many parents experienced anxiety and frustration as they navigated online and at home instruction, and teachers experienced anxiety, uncertainty, frustration, and burnout as they tried to balance in person, online, and hybrid teaching situations.
There was hope that we would be closer to a more normal school year, but things are still changing and we need to be ready to change gears at any moment. This uncertainty is causing teachers stress even before school begins. Many of my teacher friends are still waiting to find out what grade level they are teaching, how many students they will have, and even where they will be teaching.
Primary teachers ready to go kit
It is important to have some things ready for any situation to help get through the transitions of the first weeks. You might call it a survival kit. This kit would need activities for various grades, subjects, and configurations of students. The question is, what should be in this kit? Here are some ideas for primary grades. (Some could be modified for intermediate classes, but since most of my teaching was in primary, I have decided to focus on that level for this sample.)
Literacy ideas that are ready to go
Here are some literacy activities that will engage and provide reading and writing practice for your students.
Selections are from various free and paid products. The full products are listed below.
Refreshing Idioms Task Cards (sample from the full product)
5 Senses Stories
Story Board Fun (activity from Back To School Math And Literacy Ideas)
Summer Parts Of Speech (one set of cards from the package)
Fall/Autumn Parts Of Speech (one set of cards from the package)
Find The Evidence (sample pages)
Soundo (part of Alphabet Game Boards)
Vocabulary Mandalas (one mandala)
Basic Vocabulary Activities ( activities from the product)
Quick and fun math activities
Here are some fun math activities to help your students work on basic math skills.
Selections are from various free and paid products. The full products are listed below.
Ipad Glyphs (sample from the full product)
Pumpkin Glyphs (sample from the full product)
Measure Up! (activity from Welcome Back To School)
Summer Sports Activity Bundle (activity from the bundle)
Measurement Games Team Events ( one event from the games)
Number Mandalas Addition and Subtraction ( one of the mandalas)
Literacy and Math Game Cards (2 game cards)
Science fun and experiments
These science activities will keep kids entertained while learning about science facts. Selections are from various free and paid products. The full products are listed below.
Amazing Weather Facts Posters (freebie)
Are You A Rectangle Or A Square (freebie)
The Clink-Clunk Test
Team building activities
Team building is important at the beginning of the year, but also throughout the year. Here are some activities that can be done in groups or with partners.
Back to School Ice Breaker (freebie)
Escape Room What Am I? Vocabulary activity (one activity from the set)
Find Someone Who (activity from Back To School First Week Activities)
Stumpers (activity from Back To School First Week Activities)
What Am I? (sample pages from What Am I?)
Self esteem activities
Making sure that children understand that they are valuable and important will help to develop positive self esteem. Here are some activities that will help with this.
Paying It Forward (freebie)
Optimist or Pessimist Task Cards (one set of cards)
Goal Setting And Reflections (freebie)
Brain breaks and active games
Here are some active classroom games that can be played as brain breaks or in the gym or outside to provide movement and stimulation between other subject activities.
Each of these areas is available as a separate package, or you can get the whole bundle to keep on hand for activities to use throughout the year. It will be helpful when you need to prepare for substitute teacher on short notice or if you just need a quick activity to use.
You can find the kit here.
As I indicated, this is just a sample of some of the things that could be done. It will be up to you to add your own creativity, experience, and preference to your ready to go kit.
For more ideas and resources, you can check out the various categories in my TeachersPayTeachers store.
If you are looking for back to school resources, you can check out my recent blog post for resources and tips. I wish you all the best as you venture into a new school year.
Note: This resource has been updated and more resources have been added to it.
Week 6 Focus: Summer Support For Primary Kids
Have you ever worried about your child forgetting what was learned during the school year because of the long summer break? This is often referred to as the summer slide. Maybe you have had some experience with that yourself if you have taken a course and then not looked at the material for a long time.
Although there will be some lag after a break, if we do things to help make connections with the skills and concepts during the break, the lag will be short lived and with a bit of review, learning can continue. Here are some different ideas for summer support for your child.
Take a break from academics
Just as we need to recharge and refresh, so do children, especially this year after a much more stressful and different type of year. Taking a break from the academics and doing something different for awhile may actually help with improving learning and retention. Fresh ideas and more attention will be easier after a break as long as the break isn't too long.
Connect activities with real life
Do activities that connect the real world with the skills and concepts taught at school. If you would like more details about the various subjects, you can check out my previous blog posts in this series.
Week 1 Focus: Primary Language Arts
Week 2 Focus: Primary Math
Week 3 Focus: Primary Science
Week 4 Focus: Primary Social Studies Part 1
Week 5 Focus: Primary Social Studies Part 2
Make activities engaging and fun
Kids want to feel like they are having a break from school. There are many ways to help them continue learning without making them feel like they are doing schoolwork. Using games and hands on activities help to engage them and the concepts get reinforced while they are having fun. Here is an example. This is a blog post I wrote about using manipulatives and games in math.
Enjoy the outdoors while learning
Let them get outdoors and soak up the sun while learning at the same time. There are so many ways that learning can be done in the real world. Here are some examples.
Try having races and using stopwatches to see how fast they can go. Compare with others. See if they can better the times.
Go geocaching as a family and search for treasures. This is a great way to learn about places around the community that you may not have known existed. It is also a good way to practice using coordinates and mapping skills.
Collect rocks and sort them by different characteristics. Then find ways to use them for other activities such as graphing, crafts, and rock studies.
Let your child help plan a camping trip. They could help with planning meals, doing the grocery shopping, making lists of what equipment is needed, and looking at routes and distances.
History, Family Heritage and Traditions
Learn about local history by visiting museums, historic landmarks, interviewing long time residents or doing research at the library.
Help your child learn about your family heritage, culture, and traditions.
Create a pictorial timeline of the family.
Get creative practicing academics
It is important to sometimes do activities that specifically reinforce and review skills and concepts in order for them to be maintained. This is the time to get creative with the academic activities. Mix them up with active games and brain breaks to keep learning fun. Try to avoid too many worksheets and drills. Engage your child in reading and writing activities that have themes or special hooks to make them interesting. Perhaps the library has a summer program where different authors visit or they may have incentives for reading a certain number of books.
Puppet shows are a great way to practice acting out stories. Maybe your child could write some different stories and then create puppet shows to present to the family.
Try using nursery rhymes or simple songs and using them as the springboard for writing new lyrics based on a variety of themes. There are many different examples floating around on the internet this year that are parodies using popular themes.
Check out my blog posts for struggling readers, writers and learners for more ideas.
Motivating Reluctant Readers
Tips For Helping Struggling Writers In The Classroom
How To Engage Your Reluctant Learners In The Classroom
Math is definitely an area where I suggest using hands on activities and making things as visual as possible. Math is abstract and therefore hard for many young children to understand if they don't get lots of practical exposure first. I have worked with many older children that struggle with understanding how to do basic operations and more complex math because they haven't figured out how it works. By doing lots of games and hands on activities with them, they have been able to move on and be successful in more difficult math situations.
Check out some ways that I have worked with them to help math make sense.
Tips For Helping Math Make Sense
These are just a few ideas that may help to keep the learning going throughout the summer. Remember to have fun and the learning will happen.
Week 3 Focus: Primary Science
This week, I am sharing some tips and activities that can help primary kids with science as they develop a better understanding of how our world works. Science is involved in every aspect of our lives. At school, kids are introduced to some of the basics, and various experiments and investigations are done. At home, more of these types of activities can happen and deeper learning can be accomplished.
I know that as I was preparing for this blog post, I was amazed at how much we do that I hadn't even thought of as science, but rather, just part of my daily life. If you stop and look around you, it is amazing to discover all the science that is happening right in front of your eyes.
The ideas I am sharing, are divided into several different areas, but they are only a small glimpse into the world of science. They are like a springboard into where you can go to continue to further investigate the different areas.
The Scientific Method, or Scientific Process, is a way of looking at how things work in science. We begin with a question, form a guess as to what we think might happen (hypothesis), gather materials and make a step by step plan (materials and procedure), notice what happens (observations and results), and form a conclusion that may or may not be the same as our initial guess.
Here is a resource that sets it out in a way for kids to understand.
Chemistry and experiments
Chemical reactions are fascinating for kids to watch and try out. There are many different experiments that can be done at home that show how things change when different ingredients are combined. Just think of times when you may have gone to a science fair at the school, or maybe even participated in one. There were undoubtedly a few chemical reactions going on there. Here are a few popular ones that I have used or remember seeing others do:
making a volcano, elephant toothpaste, Coke and Mentos.
Sometimes these chemical changes require added things like heat or cold to happen. Cooking and baking are examples of how we use chemistry in daily situations.
Biology and life cycles
Studying the life cycles of plants and animals is a great way to introduce biology and the study of living organisms. It is exciting to see how a seed begins to sprout and grow into a plant that produces more seeds that continue the cycle. If it is a fruit or vegetable seed, it is an added bonus to be able to eat what has been grown as well. Here is a resource that may be useful for recording what happens.
My Bean Plant Observation Journal
Another fun thing to do, is to study the different animals and learn more about them and their lives. This was always a great research project for my students. Here are a couple of research templates that you could use if you would like to try to do this. I would sometimes add in a powerpoint component with my students so they could share with others later.
Animal research planning templates
Studying about the earth and the solar system that it is part of are fun ways to learn about where we live and how it works. Checking out solar eclipses or lunar eclipses, learning about the phases of the moon, the planets and how they orbit the sun, investigating rocks and minerals, and studying the weather are all part of earth sciences and there are many ways they can be studied both at school and at home.
How many times have you come across interesting rocks or seen land formations that are intriguing and wondered how they may have been formed? Rock collecting and sorting is fun and it can also be a great learning experience. Combine that with learning about volcanoes, mining, and how different rocks are formed, and how they are used, can be a great way to study about rocks and minerals together. I still remember when I first went to Hawaii and saw the lava fields and the different rock formations and layers as we drove around. It was so interesting to see what we had studied at school in person and to experience how it impacted the area.
When studying the moon phases, we used Oreo cookies to make the different phases. Not only was it a great way to reinforce what we learned, it was fun to do and we got to eat them afterwards.
I have yet to find a student who didn't enjoy learning about the solar system. One of my favorite ways to study this, is to do it as a project. We do lots of research and activities along the way, but ultimately, each child gets to share what they have learned as a presentation style of their choice. This has always been a family affair, because families are encouraged to work with their kids on the final project. We have had so many amazing projects over the years and the kids have always been able to competently explain their knowledge in a way that they felt was best for them. You can check out the project and read more about it here.
Our Solar System Project
Physics-gravity, magnets, soundwaves, buoyancy and density
Physics encompasses so many things. Here are a few different aspects that may be fun to explore.
Gravitational force is what keeps us on the earth and not floating around in space. When we think of gravity, we often think of astronauts floating around in the spaceship. We don't really think about how it affects things around us. Without the pull of gravity we would not be able to walk, sit, take a shower, or do any of the basic things we do every day.
There are many different ways to look at how the gravitational pull works. One way is to do what I call the "clink-clunk" test. This is a fun way to test gravity and practice using the scientific method at the same time.
Studying about magnets is another great way to see how the gravitational forces work. Kids love to see how things attract and repel. There are so many cool ways to test out if objects are magnetic or not and this can keep them busy for quite a while. They may start to drive you crazy, but they will be engaged!
There are lots of different fun activities that can be done to learn about sound waves and how sound travels. One of my favorites is making string telephones. Here is a craftivity and experiment that can be done to test out different types of containers and how well they can make sound travel.
Another interesting thing to test out is how size and vibration speed changes the pitches of the sound. I have an old fashioned car horn that I used to keep for this type of activity. When a bicycle horn is squeezed, it makes a fairly high pitched sound, but when the car horn is squeezed it make a much lower pitched sound. This can be a good topic for discussion and one of the activities that can go along with it is to try to find other examples of how size and speed of vibrations change the pitch. Here are a couple of examples: a violin and a double bass, a short ruler and a longer ruler.
Buoyancy And Density
Buoyancy and density are also fascinating to study. One of my go to experiments is dancing raisins because they demonstrate how things that are more dense sink, but that with the gas bubbles attached to them, they become less dense and float until the bubbles pop and then they sink again.
Adding salt to water and then placing an egg in it is another experiment that amazes the kids. They are surprised to see how the salt water causes the egg to float. The salt makes the water more dense than the egg causing it to float.
Because different liquids have different densities, they can create an interesting display of layers when added together. The more dense liquids settle to the bottom and the less dense liquids float to the top.
Have you ever noticed how quickly a person sinks when they are in the water in an upright position, but that they float when they are stretched out on their back or stomach? This is a great way to visually show buoyancy and how the water is displaced differently when the body is spread out allowing it to float.
These are just a few examples of ways to show how buoyancy and density work.
States Of Matter
Solids, liquids, and gases are also fun to explore. Learning about the different states of matter and how they are the same or different peaks the curiosity of kids. They love to do hands on activities too, so it is fun for them to create their own water cycle and do experiments with ice. Being able to connect the water cycle with how the weather works and how nature recycles is also a great learning experience. It might also be interesting to discuss and explore how the gases in the air we breathe can be found in other states as well.
A popular experiment at recent science fairs with younger students has been creating electric currents using fruits and vegetables. They are excited to see how these act as conductors for the electricity. Working with batteries and other electronic devices also fascinates them.
Electricity is fun to study, but can be a bit dangerous too. It is important to make sure that these activities are monitored. I learned through experience as a child that it isn't something to take lightly. I had not been taught much about electricity when I was young and I tried to get a plug out of a socket with a knife. Not a good move. The electrical shock went through me and into my sister who was leaning up against me. It also made a big black mark on the knife. We were very lucky not to have been seriously hurt. I definitely have a much more cautious approach to electricity now.
Static electricity is also interesting to investigate. Have you ever petted an animal and then touched something and felt a shock? What about walking across carpet and then reaching to touch a door handle? This shock is caused by static electricity. There are other fun examples that don't give you a shock but demonstrate the electricity. We used to have fun rubbing a balloon in our hair and then sticking it on the wall. Sometimes, your hair will have static electricity when you take off a hat.
Lightning is also a form of static electricity. This might be a great place to do some research about how static electricity works.
As you can see, there are many different ways we can explore science. I have only just touched on a few. If you would like to explore more ideas, there are several places that have science activities for kids. Here are a couple that I found that might be interesting to check out.
100 Amazing Food Experiments For Kids
Fun With Science: 27 Sensory Science Experiments For Kids
I hope you have found some helpful tips and ideas for connecting what is being taught at school with ways to continue investigating science at home in every day situations. A child's natural curiosity can be a great springboard into many scientific adventures. Happy investigating!
Don't forget to grab your free copy of The Clink Clunk Test.
Kids love to measure things and they love to measure their friends. Here is an activity that they are sure to enjoy. Not only do they get to find out if they are a rectangle. It is a great way to learn to use measuring tapes accurately as well.
Adding Scientific Process To Measurement
A few years ago, we were learning about this just before student-led conferences, so I decided that this would be a great activity to do with the parents and students. The kids had such fun finding out if their parents were rectangles or squares. The parents were often surprised by the results as well.
I decided to bring it back with a twist.
We were studying about the scientific process, so I added the scientific process as a component. I also included both metric and imperial measurement so it could be used for working with both types of units.
If you would like to have a copy to try out with your students, just click on one of the images.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.