In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about science projects. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Science Projects topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Teaching About Science Projects
Paper Airplane Challenge
Teach students how to make a classic paper airplane. You can find simple directions on the Internet. Then ask students to think of ways to change the design of the plane. How might changes affect how the plane moves? Then divide the class into pairs or groups. Ask groups to design a plane that travels farther than the classic paper airplane. They may want to experiment by adding weight to different parts of the plane or lengthening different parts of the plane, such as the wings or body. Let students write down their hypotheses and change the design of the plane to match. Then, take your students outside. Have groups make their airplanes, fly them, and measure the distance they traveled. Discuss what made the planes travel farther and what did not.
Hold a science fair in your classroom or in conjunction with other classrooms. Review the scientific method and help students find science projects that are right for them. Remind them about the importance of asking the right question and planning an experiment to answer the question. Allow several weeks for your students to complete their projects, and have students organize their time schedule accordingly. Students should prepare a presentation of their projects to share their work. Then hold a science fair and invite friends and family members.
Ask an Expert
If possible, bring in a scientist, such as a biologist, medical researcher, paleontologist, archaeologist, or botanist, to discuss his or her work with your students. Some local museums have experts on hand who are available for school visits. Local universities and colleges are also great places to find interesting scientists. Before the visit, have your students prepare a list of questions they would like to ask. If possible, bring your class to visit a scientist at their workplace. The scientist can explain their scientific process and all the tools he or she uses to do research.
Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching About Science Projects
Growing plants is a fun way to do science and care for the environment. Together with your child, come up with questions you want to ask and explore. Can seeds grow in the dark? Can seeds grow upside down? Do seeds need soil to grow? Do tomato plants grow faster than apple trees? Then complete an experiment together to answer the question. Make sure your child comes up with a hypothesis and observes and records data as you complete your experiment together.
Cooking is a great way to learn about the scientific method. Find a recipe together with your child and have him or her predict what might happen if you leave an ingredient out or double it. Will adding more baking soda make cookies chewier? Will adding more baking powder make cookies crispier? Your child can do research online beforehand to learn the properties of various ingredients. Be careful to only change one variable of the recipe. Then bake and observe what happens. Discuss the results with your child and eat the results (if possible).
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