In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about making scientific observations. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Making Observations topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Teaching About Making Observations
Bring in different flowers for students to observe. Have small groups examine each one and record their observations. Encourage students to draw pictures and write down what they see using words and numbers. Groups can create their own charts and graphic organizers to record their observations or you may wish to distribute one for everyone to use. Then have groups make comparisons of the different flowers. What did they learn by observing? Students can share their ideas with the whole class.
What’s the Weather?
Have your students observe the weather for a week, month, or year. They can use thermometers and make rain or snow gauges by putting a ruler in a clear cup. Remind them about the importance of observing the weather during different times of the day and always checking around the same times each day. How will they decide who writes the observations down each day, and when? Gather the data in a graph or chart and have students interpret the data, make inferences and predictions, or come up with questions to investigate further.
Divide the class into small groups and have one member get blindfolded. Other members can give something for the blindfolded person to observe with the senses. Some suggestions are a potato, a rubber band, a pencil, a leaf, etc. What does he or she feel, smell, or hear? Encourage blindfolded students to compare the objects to things they know and ask questions to the other group members. Once the blindfolded person names the correct object, they can change roles. Students will learn that they can observe when they are not even using their eyes.
Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching About Making Observations
For the Birds
Go bird-watching with your child. You may wish to do it in your backyard or at a local park. You can also find simple and inexpensive ways on the Internet to make a bird feeder to help attract birds to the area. Have your child observe different birds, comparing their size, color, and behaviors. He or she may want to count each type of bird or record different birds’ chirps and songs. If possible, repeat the activity during different times of the year. Which birds appear the most? What time of day do the birds appear most often? Help your child make connections and find patterns.
Help your child grow two plants from seeds. He or she should put one plant in a sunny spot and put another in a shady spot. Have your child predict which will grow faster and why. Remember always to give each plant the same amount of water . Then help your child observe each plant over an extended period of time. He or she can use a ruler to measure the height, count the number of leaves that grow, and take photographs or draw pictures. Which plant “wins” the race? Why?