Science activities to wow your class
The science curriculum is demanding and packed full of concepts and facts. It can feel like a slog for you and your class to get through it. Resources for experiments are expensive and budgets are tight, but you can put the 'wow' back into science using some ordinary items to do some extraordinary activities with your class. Get them excited about science with these amazing ideas that give them the chance to explore what they need to know with a healthy dose of creativity and fun thrown in.
Design a space dinner
Space can be a particularly dull topic to teach; it's really difficult to be hands on, but once you've discovered these fantastic resources from STEM, you'll never look back. Since Tim Peake's historic space flight, space travel has become real to millions of children. Inspire the next generation of astronauts and space scientists with these ideas. Children will learn about staying fit and healthy in space, including what astronauts eat. If you're feeling really adventurous, why not make vacuum packed space food with your class? Fruit is an easy one to try. Make sure your class are trained and competent in basic food hygiene and safe cutting techniques first. Chop up the fruit, cutting away any seeds or skin that cannot be eaten. Put the fruit in a sealable freezer bag and then extract the air using a hand pump. You'll end up with vacuum packed space food (which the children can then enjoy here on earth).
Children will usually overlook everyday objects such as school stationery, so why not get them thinking with this Mystery Markers activity. It uses water and paper towels (or coffee filters), and it shows children how the different colours are made up. Watching as the colours separate is fascinating. Be really creative with this one and turn it into an art activity as well. It's a great opportunity to explore primary and secondary colours as the primary colours won't separate.
Get children thinking about how paper is made and the importance of recycling with this paper making activity . Paper is everywhere in the classroom: exercise books, displays, reading books. This is a chance for your class to find out how it is made and to have some fun producing different types of paper by adding flower petals, glitter or anything else they can think of! Adult supervision will be required if children are using a blender to pulp the paper, but using a hand whisk is safer and more fun.
Bring a touch of wonder to the study of absorbent and nonabsorbent materials with these kirigami water blossoms . You can design and make these in your art lesson before placing them in water and watching as they slowly unfold. There are lots of opportunities for discussing why this happens. Develop an investigation trying different types of paper to see if it makes a difference to the speed at which they unfold.
There is lots of fun to be had with magnets in the primary classroom. Simply allowing children to play with magnets will spark their interest and, once they understand what magnets can do, they'll have lots of ideas about things they want to try. Get them started with this simple activity that looks just like magic . Use a clear plastic jar rather than a glass one to avoid any danger of broken glass.
This one doesn't have the instant wow of some experiments, but the anticipation makes the overnight crystal garden a definite winner. Using only Epsom salts and colouring (and just a little patience), your class will be amazed at the awesome crystal forests they can grow. Discuss dissolving and evaporation with your class as they mix hot water (from the tap is fine, no need to use boiling water) with Epsom salts and colour. Where does the water go? What is left behind? This activity cannot fail to excite and engage your class.
So put that pile of worksheets on hold and get creative with science. Use some everyday classroom and kitchen supplies to bring science alive for your class and put the 'wow' back into scientific learning.