Now that spring is finally here; you might consider making some science experiments with your students. Spring is a perfect time to learn about the environment, so why not bring a bit of nature into your classroom? This time of year has many great opportunities for fun hands-on science activities using the outdoors. Why not get things started with one of these seven science experiments?
1. How do Plants Grow from Seeds?
Have students plant a seed in soil and place it in a sunny spot. Repeat the process with another seed planted in soil, but this time place it in a dark spot where no sunlight is available. Compare how the two seeds grow over time and discuss the results.
2. Which Colors of Flowers are Bees Most Attracted To?
Put three vases of flowers on a table outdoors: one holding yellow flowers, one holding blue flowers, and one holding red flowers. Place a cup of sugar water near each vase of flowers to attract bees. Keep track of which vase attracts the most bees after an hour or two. Discuss what might have happened if you had placed white or orange flowers on the table instead.
3. Build a Terrarium
This is a great activity for kids of all ages. A terrarium is an enclosed environment that allows plants to grow in a self-sustaining way. Plant terrariums are easy to build and maintain, and they can be as simple or elaborate as your kids want them to be. If you’re short on space, try a mini terrarium.
4. Make a Rain Gauge
If your students are interested in tracking the weather and measuring rain, then this experiment involving a simple rain gauge will definitely pique their interest (and hopefully encourage them to read more about weather patterns this spring).
5. Make a Tornado in a Bottle
When the weather gets warmer, tornadoes become more common, so spring is the perfect time to teach your students about these terrifying weather phenomena using this tornado in a bottle science experiment. It’s easy, safe, and fun.
6. Growing Crystals
Growing crystals is a fun, easy experiment that teaches children about solubility, solutions, and how crystals form. All you need are household ingredients like salt, sugar, borax, alum, or Epsom salts. Have your kids mix two parts of water and one part of their ingredient of choice into a small cup, stir it until the powder dissolves, and then place it in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day they can see the crystals formed on top of their solution. You can even tie in a lesson about geology by explaining how different types of rocks are made from various minerals and crystals.
7. Sunscreen Test
This experiment will teach students how sunscreen works and how much it helps protect their skin from harmful UV rays. Place construction paper with the hole in it on a sunny windowsill. The edges of the construction paper should be resting on a piece of aluminum foil to catch any excess sunscreen. Carefully apply sunscreen to the exposed portion of construction paper that represents your head and shoulders.
Cover the entire exposed surface area with sunscreen. Use a different type of sunscreen for each sample of construction paper. For example, put SPF 15 on one piece and put SPF 30 on another piece. Set your timer for 15 minutes.
This is how long it takes for someone to get sunburned if they aren’t wearing any sunscreen. Set another timer for 30 minutes. This is how long it takes someone wearing SPF 15 to get sunburned.
Science is often difficult to teach because students get confused when it involves experiments and hard-to-understand theories. In many cases, students simply need an introduction to related topics to build upon their prior knowledge. These seven science experiments are great examples of activities to help students build a foundation in spring and its many aspects.