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Hands-On Science Activities

Click on the tabs below to access hands-on activities related to Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. You will find dozens of activities with corresponding tools and videos that will wow your students.

ACTIVITIES FOR GRADES K-3

  • SUN! POWER! ICE! POP!  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    NGSS

    In this activity, students will assess solar power by comparing its effect on rain (water), sleet (ice), and snow (popsicles). Students will observe the temperature changes on these elements and compare the temperature of the elements in direct sunlight with the same elements out of sunlight.

  • The Dynamic Trio  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    NGSS

    In this activity, students will learn about the stars, planets, and Moon found in our solar system and how they relate to one another. Students will work in groups to create models of the Solar System.

  • Visibility of Light  
    Level of Difficulty:
    1
    View Activity
    NGSS

    In this activity, students will learn about the nature of light, make predictions about and assess its ability to pass through various substances. Students will learn that the material of the object in the light's path will determine the light's ability to pass through it.

  • A Rocky Test  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will gain an understanding of rock types and their different responses to physical and chemical weathering.

  • Create a Crater  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students drop small spheres of different sizes and weights from different heights into flour. The students then describe the craters that form, measure the diameter of the craters, and draw conclusions about how different variables affect the characteristics of the craters.

  • Play Ball  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students drop rubber balls in order to observe and measure the effects of elasticity. They use graphs to make predictions for further trials.

  • Water Cycle  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will be able to describe the water cycle by creating and observing a model.

  • Warm Colors  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will participate in a hands-on exploration to observe how varying materials absorb solar energy differently.

  • Going with the Flow  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will gain an understanding of the value of using a scale model and the effect of water speed on erosion rate and stream formation.

  • Will There Be Enough  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will play a game in order to model how and why people have to work together in order to prevent overuse or destruction of natural resources.

  • What Am I?  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will examine and sketch various fossils from an unknown creature and then construct an image of the creature that they believe produced these fossils.

  • Layers of Earth  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will work with a model that shows several layers of different rock types. They will then use simple tools to sample the layers and take a simple core sample from the model.

  • Fossil Puzzler  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will examine and sketch various trace fossils from an unknown creature and then construct an image of the creature that they believe produced these fossils.

  • Shaky Ground  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will design a bridge or a building and observe how it performs in a simulated earthquake. Then, they will revise their designs to make them stronger and perform the simulation again.

  • Tornado In A Bottle  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    NGSS

    In this activity, students will learn about tornadoes and simulate one inside a small bottle.

  • As Far As I Can Sea  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will learn the different techniques used to map the ocean, and will practice using those techniques themselves in the classroom.

  • Splendid Soil  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will gain an understanding of the physical characteristics and absorption of types of materials that make up soil.

  • Watching Weather  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will make their own weather station consisting of actual and simplified versions of real weather equipment. They will use that equipment to make observations about the local weather.

  • Mapping It Out  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    NGSS

    In this activity, students will use a topographic map of their school grounds to identify geologic features using a printed map. Students are asked to identify different features that are on the map by exploring their school grounds.

  • Erosion Rates  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    NGSS

    After completing this activity, students should be able to recognize that waves, wind, water and glaciers all break rock and soil into smaller particles and move them around. Students in grade 6 should also be able to explain how the flow of energy drives these processes.

  • Motion In The Ocean  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will model the process of heat transfer by convection in Earth's oceans.

  • Keep It Up  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will design a bridge or a building and observe how it performs in a simulated earthquake. Then they will revise their designs to make them stronger and perform the simulation again.

  • Look Out Below!  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will create a model of a sloped hillside using sand, and then they will simulate conditions that can cause a landslide to occur.

  • By All Indications  
    Level of Difficulty:
    5
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students create an acid-base indicator using red cabbage extract. Students then use this indicator to create a scale using liquids of known acidity. Finally, students use this scale to identify the acidity of unknown liquids.

  • Impact!  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students drop small spheres of different masses from different heights into flour. The students then describe the craters that form, measure the diameter and depth of the craters, and draw conclusions about how different variables affect the characteristics of the craters.

  • It's All Relative  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will excavate a box containing several layers of sediment. They will then create a diagram of the geologic column and compare their diagram with diagrams from other groups. They will then work as a class to complete a comprehensive and sequential diagram of the overall geologic column.

  • What Lies Beneath?  
    Level of Difficulty:
    5
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will build a model to show several layers of different rock types. They will then use simple tools to sample the layers and create a cross-sectional map of the subsurface layers.

  • Weathering Cubes  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will model the weathering of rocks by shaking sugar cubes in a container. They will make observations and draw conclusions about the relationship between surface area, volume, and weathering.

  • Anchors Away!  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will examine two different techniques for mapping different aspects of the ocean, and will model those techniques on a small scale in the classroom.

  • Smoke on the Water  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students use simple materials to produce and observe cloud formation. Students will experiment with different substances to observe their effects on cloud formation and the water cycle.

  • Sand Shake  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students experiment with sand and hair dryers to observe how wind, sand, and barriers interact to form sand dunes.

  • Solar System Scale  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will gain an understanding of the comparative size of the objects in our Solar System and the great distances between them.

  • The Great Diamond Heist  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will investigate the physical characteristics of rocks and minerals to identify the diamond. Focusing on hardness, students will use the Mohs Scale in their investigation. By process of elimination they will identify the diamond.

  • This Is How I See It  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    NGSS

    In this activity, students will construct interactive lunar cycle models to illustrate the phases of the Moon in 3 dimensions. They will demonstrate how the orientation of the Sun, Moon and Earth at certain points in the lunar cycle causes the phases as observed from Earth.

  • Bounce  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students drop rubber balls in order to observe and measure the effects of elasticity. They use graphs to make predictions for further trials.

  • Get Cooking  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will build a simple solar cooker. They will make observations and qualitatively describe the melting rate of a piece of chocolate in the cooker.

  • How's the Weather?  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will make their own weather station, consisting of several home-made versions of real weather measurement equipment and use that equipment to make observations about the local weather.

  • Super Soaked Soil  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In the first part of the activity, students will examine the physical characteristics of three types of materials that make up soils.

    In the second part of the activity, students will observe the absorption and drainage properties of three types of materials that make up soils.

  • Let's Get Carried Away!  
    Level of Difficulty:
    5
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students use a stream table to model the processes of erosion and streambed formation. The students make changes to the stream environment and make predictions about how these changes will affect the stream. They then study and sketch the resulting streams.

  • School of Rock  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students explore the effects of physical and chemical weathering on various types of rocks. They use abrasive tools to model physical weathering and a weak acid to model chemical weathering's effects on rocks.

  • Tragedy of the Commons  
    Level of Difficulty:
    1
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity students will play a simple game designed to simulate the situation known as "the tragedy of the commons." Students will later work together in groups to craft rules for sharing resources so that those resources are not overused.

  • Mapping It Out  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    NGSS

    In this activity, students will use a topographic map of their school grounds to identify geologic features using a printed map. Students are asked to identify different features that are on the map by exploring their school grounds.

  • SUN! POWER! ICE! POP!  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    NGSS

    In this activity, students will assess solar power by comparing its effect on rain (water), sleet (ice), and snow (popsicles). Students will observe the temperature changes on these elements and compare the temperature of the elements in direct sunlight with the same elements out of sunlight.

  • The Dynamic Trio  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    NGSS

    In this activity, students will learn about the stars, planets, and Moon found in our solar system and how they relate to one another. Students will work in groups to create models of the Solar System.

  • Visibility of Light  
    Level of Difficulty:
    1
    View Activity
    NGSS

    In this activity, students will learn about the nature of light, make predictions about and assess its ability to pass through various substances. Students will learn that the material of the object in the light's path will determine the light's ability to pass through it.

  • Erosion Rates  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    NGSS

    After completing this activity, students should be able to recognize that waves, wind, water and glaciers all break rock and soil into smaller particles and move them around. Students in grade 6 should also be able to explain how the flow of energy drives these processes.

  • A Rocky Test  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will gain an understanding of rock types and their different responses to physical and chemical weathering.

  • Motion In The Ocean  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will model the process of heat transfer by convection in Earth's oceans.

  • Keep It Up  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will design a bridge or a building and observe how it performs in a simulated earthquake. Then they will revise their designs to make them stronger and perform the simulation again.

  • Create a Crater  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students drop small spheres of different sizes and weights from different heights into flour. The students then describe the craters that form, measure the diameter of the craters, and draw conclusions about how different variables affect the characteristics of the craters.

  • Play Ball  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students drop rubber balls in order to observe and measure the effects of elasticity. They use graphs to make predictions for further trials.

  • Look Out Below!  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will create a model of a sloped hillside using sand, and then they will simulate conditions that can cause a landslide to occur.

  • Water Cycle  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will be able to describe the water cycle by creating and observing a model.

  • Warm Colors  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will participate in a hands-on exploration to observe how varying materials absorb solar energy differently.

  • By All Indications  
    Level of Difficulty:
    5
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students create an acid-base indicator using red cabbage extract. Students then use this indicator to create a scale using liquids of known acidity. Finally, students use this scale to identify the acidity of unknown liquids.

  • Going with the Flow  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will gain an understanding of the value of using a scale model and the effect of water speed on erosion rate and stream formation.

  • Impact!  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students drop small spheres of different masses from different heights into flour. The students then describe the craters that form, measure the diameter and depth of the craters, and draw conclusions about how different variables affect the characteristics of the craters.

  • It's All Relative  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will excavate a box containing several layers of sediment. They will then create a diagram of the geologic column and compare their diagram with diagrams from other groups. They will then work as a class to complete a comprehensive and sequential diagram of the overall geologic column.

  • Will There Be Enough  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will play a game in order to model how and why people have to work together in order to prevent overuse or destruction of natural resources.

  • What Lies Beneath?  
    Level of Difficulty:
    5
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will build a model to show several layers of different rock types. They will then use simple tools to sample the layers and create a cross-sectional map of the subsurface layers.

  • Weathering Cubes  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will model the weathering of rocks by shaking sugar cubes in a container. They will make observations and draw conclusions about the relationship between surface area, volume, and weathering.

  • Anchors Away!  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will examine two different techniques for mapping different aspects of the ocean, and will model those techniques on a small scale in the classroom.

  • What Am I?  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will examine and sketch various fossils from an unknown creature and then construct an image of the creature that they believe produced these fossils.

  • Layers of Earth  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will work with a model that shows several layers of different rock types. They will then use simple tools to sample the layers and take a simple core sample from the model.

  • Fossil Puzzler  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will examine and sketch various trace fossils from an unknown creature and then construct an image of the creature that they believe produced these fossils.

  • Smoke on the Water  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students use simple materials to produce and observe cloud formation. Students will experiment with different substances to observe their effects on cloud formation and the water cycle.

  • Sand Shake  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students experiment with sand and hair dryers to observe how wind, sand, and barriers interact to form sand dunes.

  • Shaky Ground  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will design a bridge or a building and observe how it performs in a simulated earthquake. Then, they will revise their designs to make them stronger and perform the simulation again.

  • Solar System Scale  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will gain an understanding of the comparative size of the objects in our Solar System and the great distances between them.

  • Tornado In A Bottle  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    NGSS

    In this activity, students will learn about tornadoes and simulate one inside a small bottle.

  • The Great Diamond Heist  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will investigate the physical characteristics of rocks and minerals to identify the diamond. Focusing on hardness, students will use the Mohs Scale in their investigation. By process of elimination they will identify the diamond.

  • This Is How I See It  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    NGSS

    In this activity, students will construct interactive lunar cycle models to illustrate the phases of the Moon in 3 dimensions. They will demonstrate how the orientation of the Sun, Moon and Earth at certain points in the lunar cycle causes the phases as observed from Earth.

  • Bounce  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students drop rubber balls in order to observe and measure the effects of elasticity. They use graphs to make predictions for further trials.

  • Get Cooking  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will build a simple solar cooker. They will make observations and qualitatively describe the melting rate of a piece of chocolate in the cooker.

  • How's the Weather?  
    Level of Difficulty:
    4
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will make their own weather station, consisting of several home-made versions of real weather measurement equipment and use that equipment to make observations about the local weather.

  • Super Soaked Soil  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In the first part of the activity, students will examine the physical characteristics of three types of materials that make up soils.

    In the second part of the activity, students will observe the absorption and drainage properties of three types of materials that make up soils.

  • As Far As I Can Sea  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students will learn the different techniques used to map the ocean, and will practice using those techniques themselves in the classroom.

  • Splendid Soil  
    Level of Difficulty:
    2
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will gain an understanding of the physical characteristics and absorption of types of materials that make up soil.

  • Watching Weather  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    Students will make their own weather station consisting of actual and simplified versions of real weather equipment. They will use that equipment to make observations about the local weather.

  • Let's Get Carried Away!  
    Level of Difficulty:
    5
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students use a stream table to model the processes of erosion and streambed formation. The students make changes to the stream environment and make predictions about how these changes will affect the stream. They then study and sketch the resulting streams.

  • School of Rock  
    Level of Difficulty:
    3
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity, students explore the effects of physical and chemical weathering on various types of rocks. They use abrasive tools to model physical weathering and a weak acid to model chemical weathering's effects on rocks.

  • Tragedy of the Commons  
    Level of Difficulty:
    1
    View Activity
    National Education Standards

    In this activity students will play a simple game designed to simulate the situation known as "the tragedy of the commons." Students will later work together in groups to craft rules for sharing resources so that those resources are not overused.

Level of Difficulty Scale Each hands-on science activity has been ranked based on difficulty of set up and how difficult they are to perform. The rating scale is from 1 to 5, with 1 being the easiest and 5 being the most complicated.

5-MINUTE REFRESHER

TAKE FIVE

Use these quick refreshers to prep for your next class.