Science Fun in First Grade

For the past year, I’ve had a blast volunteering in my son Finian’s First Grade class. Knowing my interest in science and background in education, his teacher gave me free-reign to bring in various hands-on experiments every few weeks. My criteria for selecting experiments for the class was simple: If it made me giddy, it was in. If it felt “too educational,” I nixed it. Since this was a volunteer situation, I wasn’t too worried about what supported the curriculum–but rather focused on phenomena that inspired wonder, and encouraged children to ask questions and make predictions.

If you’re a parent looking for some fun activities to do this summer with your kids, (or if you’re a big kid at heart to loves to explore and get a little messy), here are some of the experiments that the First Graders loved the most. A big thanks goes out to the good folks at Steve Spangler Science, a terrific company with many wonderful resources for young scientists. (Spangler’s claim to fame is that he popularized the Mentos-Diet Coke experiment a few years ago.) His web site also has lots of free video clips and lesson plans.

Give these experiments a whirl, and let me know what happens:

Making Square Bubbles
Link 1, Link 2

Stacks of Color (a cool lesson in density)

Balloon Blow-Up
Link 1, Link 2

Fun with Flexagons
Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

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