*Six years ago, I was given the title “Science Activities for K-3” for publication on eHow. The article was originally published on May 3, 2010. It is no longer published on eHow or anywhere else so I am free to publish it here.
Hands-on science activities provide opportunities for teachers to enhance lessons, while providing children with a method to increase retention of the subject matter. Plan science activities that support current lesson plans while allowing children to engage in the experiment. Children retain more information when they participate rather than just watch someone perform the activity.
Classroom Solar System
Build a classroom solar system. Obtain balloons and blow them up to different sizes to represent the sun and the planets. Try to choose different colored balloons. For example, a large yellow balloon could represent the sun and a blue balloon could be the Earth. After teaching a lesson about the solar system, hang the balloons from the ceiling to represent the solar system. Allow students to paint on the balloons so that they more accurately represent specific planets. For a longer-lasting solar system, allow the students to papier-mache the balloons and paint them. Leave the solar system hanging and refer to it when studying other space-related topics, such as space shuttles, astronauts, or constellations.
A Chemistry Experiment
Spark students’ interest in chemistry by conducting a brief science experiment. Ask the children to guess how much salt it takes to float an egg. Record their suggestions on a board. Pour water into a glass until it is approximately three-quarters full. Gently drop in the egg. Begin pouring salt into the glass, one teaspoon at a time. Count how many teaspoons it takes until the egg floats. Allow the children to try other safe chemicals to see if they cause an egg to float. Students might like to try pepper, sugar, lemon juice, or flour. Allow them to try the experiment using a boiled egg and an unboiled egg. Then, instruct the students about how and why salt causes an egg to float.
Butterfly Life Cycle With Pasta
Teach a unit on the life cycle of a butterfly. Enhance the lesson by creating a visual using pasta shells. Give the children a strip of construction paper and have them fold it into four sections. Provide them with spiral, shell, and bow-tie pasta shells. Then give them each a tiny broken piece of pasta. Tell them that each type of shell represents a different phase in the life cycle of a butterfly. The broken piece represents the egg. The shell pasta represents the chrysalis. The spiral pasta represents the caterpillar. The bow-tie pasta represents the butterfly. Ask them to glue one piece of pasta onto each square so that they represent each life cycle stage in order and label the stages.