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15 Easy Science Activities for the Classroom

November 10, 2021 by Janessa Fletcher




Do your students love learning science? Are you finding it hard to fit in science activities during the week? We know how important it is to give our students hands-on learning experiences, and science is a great way to do that! Here are 15 easy science activities you can do with your students that are low prep and will provide great learning while having some fun. Your students will be ‘wowed’ and super engaged! We are working on #10 this week and having a race on Friday.

Easy Science Activity 1 – Film Canister Rockets

Your students will love to see how high they can blast a film canister into the air by creating a little bit of gas inside it. Grab a film canister for each student. (The clear ones work better than the black ones.) They are getting harder to find, but any store that develops film should have them lying around. Or, you can purchase a set here. Along with the canister, your students are going to need half of an antacid tablet and water.

I highly recommend taking your students outside for this activity, as those canisters can really fly! 🚀 Once they have all of their materials, pour 5 ml (one teaspoon) of water into the canister. These next two steps will need to happen quickly. Drop the antacid into the canister and snap the lid on tightly. (If air can escape, the canister may not launch.) Place the canister lid down on the ground and take a few big steps back. After about 10-15 seconds, you will hear a loud ‘POP’ 💥 and the canister will go flying.

2 – Ice Cream in a Bag

What kid doesn’t want to have fun with science and then get to each a tasty treat afterward?! 😋 This is a good activity to talk about how ingredients change when the temperature changes. You will need measuring items, sugar, salt, ice, half and half, Ziploc bags (two sizes), and vanilla extract for flavoring.

Pour the half and half, sugar, and vanilla into the smaller bag and seal tightly. Then place the ice and salt into the larger bag. Add the smaller bag to the larger bag and seal that bag tightly as well. Hand these larger bags to your students and have them shake their sillies out for the next 5 minutes, feeling the smaller bag for any changes throughout the time. Did it work? Did they make ice cream in the bag? Talk with your students about what they noticed while shaking, as well as the final product. And then, of course, enjoy the ice cream. 🍨

3 – Jellybean Structures

Similar to marshmallow structures, this super easy science activity can entertain your students for a long time. All each student needs is a certain number of toothpicks and a binding agent. (Jellybeans, marshmallows, but I find that gumdrops work best.) The instructions for your students are simple. “Create a structure using the materials given.”

You can even include different contests. How tall of a structure can you make? How long of a structure can you make? Can your structure hold a notebook? How many? Who built the most unique structure? If you want to take this activity a step further and more in-depth, we have created an entire STEM challenge with a student journal and teacher guide on this topic.

Easy Science Activity 4 – Walking Water Rainbow

This is a nice easy science activity to use if teaching younger students because the results happen almost immediately. First, you will want to grab 6 wide-mouth cups. (The shorter the cup, the less food coloring you will have to use.) Rip off six sheets of paper towel and fold them into thirds or fourths. Place one of the paper towels between two glasses to test it, making sure that it touches the bottom of one glass and goes over into the bottom of the other glass without standing too high in the air. (Take the paper towels out before adding the water and food coloring.)

Add red food coloring and water to the first glass almost to the top, yellow watercolor to the third, and blue water and color to the fifth. Line the glasses up and start adding the paper towels. Make sure that the ends touch in the empty glasses so that the water transfers and blends together to create new colors. This activity is a great lesson on color mixing, or for older students, capillary action.

5 – Elephant Toothpaste

With only a few ingredients, you can create a foaming reaction so big it looks like toothpaste for an elephant. You will need an empty plastic bottle, dry yeast, warm water, liquid dish soap, hydrogen peroxide (3%), and of course a tray or bucket to catch all of the “toothpaste”. I recommend also taking this activity outside. You can add food coloring if you want your toothpaste to be a color other than white.

Place hydrogen peroxide and dish soap into the bottle and carefully mix them together. You can add food coloring to make your toothpaste one color, or if you want it to be striped, you can put the coloring along the inside of the bottle. Mix the yeast and warm water for about 30 seconds and pour it into the bottle, stepping back quickly. Then watch the chemical reaction! Test out variables by not adding one of the ingredients to see what changes.

6 – Solar Oven

Do you teach in a hot climate? I happen to live where it is warm all year, so in the summertime, solar ovens are a great easy science activity to do. (And guaranteed to work! 😉) Grab an old pizza box (or small single-serve meal or pot pie box for smaller ovens.) Cover the inside flap with aluminum foil. Line the bottom of the box with black construction paper. If you want to insulate your oven a little more, you can line the inside with newspaper. Place your s’more on the black paper and then seal it in with plastic wrap. Angle the foil lid above your food to allow more sunlight to filter in and then place it in direct sun.

Depending on how hot it is outside, you may only have to wait for about 20 minutes, but usually, it takes around 45 minutes. See what else you can make with your oven… maybe even a quesadilla.

Easy Science Activity 7 – Clean Mud

Only three ingredients are needed for this science activity. It can be made quickly and provide lots of entertainment for young learners. This “mud” is much cleaner than the real stuff, smells a lot better, and makes your hands feel much softer.

Have your students rip strips of toilet paper and put them into their bin. The smaller pieces your students can rip, the more likely their mud will squish between their fingers. Add in one cup of soap flakes and two cups of warm water. Once the ingredients have been added, it is time to put those fine motor skills to work kneading the mixture into ‘mud’. If the texture is too dry, add more water and if it is too wet, then add in more toilet paper.

8 – Mini Volcanoes

No science list would be complete without the volcano activity. How about each of your students gets to make their own with this mini volcano science project. You will need a couple of empty egg cartons that have had each cup cut apart.

Give each student one of the egg cups and have them cut a hole in the bottom, then flip it over onto their plate. Pour some baking soda into the bottom of each volcano and add a little vinegar and food coloring to each one. Your students will love seeing their own little volcano erupt right in front of them.

9 – Oobleck

Is it a solid or is it a liquid? It’s oobleck! Grab some water, corn starch, mixing bowl, and food coloring (optional). Pour one cup of cornstarch into the mixing bowl. Start adding water to the mixture – put food coloring in if you want your oobleck to have a different hue, noticing how the mixture starts to get thicker. Feel free to add more cornstarch if it gets too runny, or more water if it is too thick.

Easy Science Activity 10 – Balloon Rocket Car

On your mark, get set, GO!!! Before this activity, make sure to collect a variety of recycled materials, such as empty water and soda bottles, straws, bottle caps, cardboard, etc. then purchase some regular latex balloons.

Your students can design their cars, making sure to include wheels. They will then add the straw and balloon to their vehicles and can test to see if their cars will move. This is another STEM Challenge that we have created a teacher guide and student journal for. Grab this print-and-go activity here.

11 – Rainbow Flowers

In this easy science activity, your students will learn how plants take in nutrients from the soil. This will take a day or two to complete. You can use white flowers (carnations work best), or stalks of celery. Fill cups with a mixture of water and food coloring (darker colors show a better transformation). Place one or two flowers or celery stalks in each cup and then wait. This is a great “experiment” for young learners to get their feet wet developing a hypothesis and taking observations. You can check on the flowers throughout the day every hour or so and have them take note of what they are seeing.

12 – Magic Bag

You will need super sharp pencils, a Ziploc bag, and some water. I recommend doing this over the sink, just in case it doesn’t work like it is supposed to. Start by asking your students what they think will happen if you poke some pencils into a bag of water. (Usually, you get some wide eyes and kids say that you are going to make a huge mess. 😉) Fill the Ziploc bag halfway with water and seal it tightly. Make sure your pencils are super sharp, poke one at a time through the bag. Do not poke the pencil all the way through, as you will definitely create quite the mess.

Your students will be amazed that the water stays in the bag and nothing drips out as you poke pencils into it. How many can you fit through the bag? This is definitely a science project your students will want to recreate at home!

Easy Science Activity 13 – Lava Lamps

Give each of your students a container. They can be empty bottles or jars, as long as they have a lid that can be sealed tight. Fill the container 1/3 of the way with water and then add the vegetable oil (for a clear lava lamp, use baby oil instead of vegetable oil). Put a few drops of food coloring in the container. It will sink down to the bottom and color the water. Your lava lamp is not complete.

The next step can be done in two separate ways. For less mess, I have my students tightly seal their containers and they can then turn them upside down and watch the lava flow. Other teachers have their students add a small piece of Alka-Seltzer to the container and watch the water fizz to the top to make the lava flow. When it stops, just add another piece of the tablet for it to start over again.

14 – Egg Drop

This is an activity you can involve your student’s families in. They will need to create a contraption that will protect an egg when it is dropped from a high location. Your students will have fun creating their egg structure and then testing it to see if the egg stays safe.

Make sure that on the day of the drop test you pass out fresh eggs to your students to place in their contraptions. You can drop them from a ladder, or as the custodian to help out and potentially drop them from the school’s roof. 🪂 How many eggs stayed safe and how many didn’t make it to see another day?

15 – Cloud in a Jar

One of my favorite science activities to do with my students is to make a cloud in a jar. As part of our Weather and Science Unit, this activity amazes me every time we do it. You will need a jar, hot water, ice, and hairspray. Pour the hot water into the jar, swirling it around to warm the sides a little bit. Turn the lid upside down, cover the top of the car, and place ice on the top of the lid. Let the lid rest on the jar for about 20-30 seconds. Remove the lid quickly, spray the hairspray inside the jar, and then recover the jar with the lid and ice. Watch the cloud form. This is a super cool science activity to use when teaching about the water cycle and how clouds form.

 

Have some science fun with your students this school year without having to prep for hours or break the bank. These easy science activities won’t take a lot of time for you to prep, and they can be done in a short amount of time during your school day as well. Which one will you choose to do this week?

I’m continually adding to my science activity list. If your class has a quick and easy favorite, I would love to hear about it and see the pictures. Please leave them in the comments below.

Written by – Janessa Fletcher

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