is a way of thinking and working toward understanding the world. Preschool
and primary level science is an active process of finding out and a system
for organizing and reporting discoveries. Concepts used in science grow
and develop as early as infancy. Babies explore the world with their senses.
They look, touch, smell, hear, and taste. Children are born curious and
want to know all about their environment. As they explore their surroundings,
they actively construct their own knowledge.
Grow a snowflake
in a jar during this winter science experiment from Carol W.
Materials you will
* wide mouth jar
* white pipe cleaners
* blue food coloring
* boiling water
(with adult help)
* borax (available
at grocery stores in the laundry soap section)
a little kitchen science you can create long lasting snowflakes as sparkly
as the real ones.
1. Cut a white
pipe cleaner into 3 equal sections. Twist the sections together in the
center so that you have a "six sided" star shape. Pipe cleaners and string
form a snowflake base for the crystals to grow on. If your points are not
even, trim the pipe cleaner sections to the same length. Now attach string
along the outer edges to form a snowflake pattern.
2. Attach a piece
of string to the top of one of the pipe cleaners and tie the other end
to a pencil (this is to hang it from). Fill a wide mouth jar with boiling
water. Mix borax into the water one tablespoon at a time. Use 3 tablespoons
of borax per
cup of water. Stir
until dissolved, (don't worry if there is powder settling on
the bottom of the
jar). If you want you can add a little blue food coloring now
to give the snowflake
a bluish hue.
3. Insert your
pipe cleaner snowflake into the jar so that the pencil is resting on the
lip of the jar and the snowflake is freely suspended in the borax solution.
Wait overnight and by morning the snowflake will be covered with shiny
crystals. Hang in a window as a sun catcher or use as a winter time decoration.
Comments: This is
an eye opening experience for the children as well as their
following 2 Sink & Float activities have lots of ideas that can be
incorporated into your pre-k and kindergarten science curriculum. Children
extend their vocabulary, learn cause and effect and begin graphing skills
during these science discovery activities.
uses this hands on activity to encourage observation and language skills.
1. Tray of
2. Two containers;
one labeled sink and the other container labeled
of resources such as: pebbles (different sizes), twigs, fir cones, cork,
natural sponge, metal key, plastic yogurt pot, wooden brick, different
of paper and cardboard, plastic farm animals (different sizes), piece of
matting, different types of fabrics, small china object, etc.
the tray with water.
Let the children
chose an object from the resources (taking turns) and place
it in the water
tray. Ask some children to place their object in carefully and
others to drop it
in from a height. Talk about the difference this makes.
Talk about whether
the object sinks or floats. When the children have made a
decision as to whether
it sinks or floats ask them to put the object in the
Talk about what the
objects are made from. Some objects will float for a while and then sink:
why is this? What tray should an object that does this be put into?
When all the objects
have been used the children can be asked if there are any
all the objects that float and a similarity between all those
that sink. How many
sink? How many float? What is there the most of?
Comments: With pre-school
children this activity works very well but could also be used for older
children with more complex comparisons and discussions. Children can make
their own boats to use with this activity. The boats are made as follows.
and Float Game
tubs (round or rectangular),
Lollipop or craft
Pre-cut paper sails.
1. Glue or
tape a 'sail' to the lollipop / craft stick.
2. Place a small
ball of clay into the margarine tub.
3. Stick the lollipop
/ craft stick into the clay.
We also make boats
using small sponge pads (like you can get for washing-up)
and pushed the lollipop
/ craft stick into the sponge.
Row, row, row the
boat gently down the stream
merrily life is such a dream.
Row, row, row the
boat quickly down the stream,
If you see a crocodile,
remember not to scream!
children scream at this point!)
This second sink
& float science activity is from Ava R. and begins the development
of graphing skills as children place items in
and float categories.
2 pieces of 8 1/2
" by 11" tag board
that will sink and float (i.e.. nail, rubber band, screw, sponge, floating
soap, button, shell, paper)
Contact paper or
Clear plastic container
to hold water (I use a rubbermaid container)
Plastic bowl to
Description: In advance,
mark one piece of tag board with the word 'Sink' and the other with the
work 'Float', then cover both with contac paper or laminate. I put pictures
of a floating object and a sinking object on mine before I laminated them.
Next, gather the
children around the container of water and the bowl of objects. Have
the sink and float cards sitting on opposite sides of the container of
Ask them questions
about each object. Do you think it will sink or float? Why?
Is the object heavy or light? Introduce the word hypothesis
explaining that it means
a guess about what
After the children
place the items in the water ask questions. How many things sank?
How many things floated? Show me something else that floats. Can
you make it sink? What are the objects that sink made of? What
are the objects that float made of?
As the children figure
out what floats and what sinks, have them put the items in the
When finished, have them count the objects in each pile and
tell which pile
Comments: I also
keep two washcloths nearby when I do this. I usually put my
sink and float signs
on top of a washcloth so it will soak up the excess water.
says that with this science activity she, "Teaches children about how salt
is used to help melt ice on winter roads and sidewalks."
Bowl full of ice
Yarn cut into 12"
2 cups of water
put one ice cube in each of the 2 cups of water. Wait for the ice cube
to come to the top of the cup. Next, lay a piece of yarn on the top of
cube, with the ends
hanging over the sides of the cup. Sprinkle salt over only one of the ice
cubes, directly on top of the yarn (use quite a bit of salt).
Wait a few minutes,
then grab the ends of the piece of yarn and lift the cubes
out of the water.
Only the ice cube with the salt on it should lift up out of the water.
The salt has melted the ice cube, fusing the yarn into it.
You can also place
extra ice cubes on the tray and sprinkle with varying amounts
of salt. Let the
children guess which ones will melt first. Then observe / check up on the
ice every few minutes.
is for Crystal
is not a hands on activity for children. Adults
conduct this science activity from
B. while children observe and latter discuss the outcome.
2 large bowls
10 tablespoons of
Green food coloring
(or another color)
10 tablespoons of
2 tablespoons of
1. Break the
charcoal briquettes into large pieces
2. Place the charcoal
briquettes into the bottom of a large bowl.
3. In the other
bowl, mix 10 tablespoons of dry laundry bluing with 8
tablespoons of water, or 10 tablespoons of liquid laundry bluing with two
tablespoons of water
handle the bluing.
4. Add 10 tablespoons
5. Add 2 tablespoons
of ammonia only adults handle ammonia
pour this mixture over the large pieces of charcoal briquettes.
sprinkle drops of food coloring over the liquid mixture in the bowl. Try
different colors in different areas of the bowl.
8. Set the bowl
where everyone can see it without disturbing or jarring it.
9. Have students
observe the results of this mixture the rest of the day and
over the next several days.
10. The solution
must not be disturbed. The crystals will usually grow very
rapidly. Be patient if you do not see the results the first day.
Comments: Talk about
the shapes and sizes of the crystals.
Fun with Water Glasses
this classic activity saying, "The objective of my activity is for the
children to observe the different sounds that each glass of water makes
when you tap each one individually."
Spoon or fork (metal)
Colored water (optional)
Description: In your
science area, place different amounts of water in each of
the five glasses.
Demonstrate during small group how each glass sounds different when tapped
and discuss rules with this experiment such as taking turns and just tapping
Comments: You can
play songs with the glasses of water and it makes a great
science as well
as a music activity!
Kim B. offers
a science experiment that can make spaghetti dance.
Clear plastic jar
or plastic cup
1 cup water
1 tablespoon baking
10 tablespoons vinegar
broken into very small pieces.
1. Pour 1 cup of
water into jar or cup
2. Add small pieces
3. Add 1 tablespoon
of baking soda and stir
4. Add 4 tablespoons
of vinegar and let students observe. Ask them to describe
what they see.
/ Background: Tiny bubbles form on the spaghetti. The
spaghetti rises and sinks. When baking soda and vinegar are mixed, a chemical
reaction occurs and
carbon dioxide is
formed. The bubbles of gas cling to the pieces of spaghetti.
The gas rises, taking
the spaghetti with it. When the bubbles burst, the
thus the spaghetti "dances" up and down.
Ask the kids to observe the spaghetti and see if they notice that the "bubbles"
carry the spaghetti. Try more or less vinegar or baking soda. If you use
a taller jar will the bubbles will take the spaghetti all the way to the
top? Make a drawing of the spaghetti- very easy for preschoolers to draw.
explore the nature of gases during this science activity from Felicity
which can be used for problem solving & predicting.
A bottle of soda
water (really cold seltzer works best),
Clear plastic glass
Raisins - make sure
you have some raisins for children to eat.
with children about water and soda water / seltzer - the addition of gases
which make the water bubbly.
1. Put the
raisins in the clear plastic glass
2. Pour in the seltzer
3. Watch what happens
to the raisins
1. How many
raisins were floating at the same time?
2. What caused
the raisins to float to the top of the glass?
3. Would this
work with a glass of plain water?
4. What causes
the raisins to fall back down?
Air bubbles underneath the raisins carry them to the top of the glass.
When the air escapes, the raisins fall back down to the bottom of the glass.
Any drink with bubbles
in it is carbonated. The bubbles are trapped air. The air is lighter
than the water, so they travel up the glass to the top where they are released
into the air. Raisins aren't actually dancing - they travel up the
glass on the air bubbles and when the bubble is released, they fall back
Open a bottle of cold clear soda and add a few raisins - watch them
dance as the bubbles collect around them. Close the lid & they stop.
Young children observe
the effect of osmosis on a raisin during this science experiment from Steve
raisins and a glass of water.
the raisins in glass of water over night.
Results:: The raisins
swell, and become fluffy and smooth.
WHY? during osmosis, water moves from a greater concentration through
a membrane to an area of lesser water concentration. The raisins
inside, thus the water in the glass moved through the cell membranes into
the raisins. As the cells filled with water the raisins became plump and
Comments: Not all
the kids will understand osmosis but they will all enjoy seeing the raisins
that you try this easy volcano experiment.
2 small paper cups
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup vinegar
4-6 drops of any
color food coloring
1. Fill the
bottom of one small paper cup with 1/4 cup baking soda
2. Place 4-6
drops of food coloring on the top of the baking soda
3. Poke a
hole, about the size of a dime, in the bottom of the second paper cup
4. Place the
second paper cup upside down over the paper cup filled with baking
5. Pour vinegar
into the hole until the volcano begins to erupt.
Children have fun
with science while learning about light during this preschool activity
(plastic wrap, poster board, waxed paper, fabric, paper towels,
cardboard, foil, etc.)
a table with a dark blanket. Explain to students that light
can pass through
some materials but not others. Demonstrate by passing the
several different materials to see whether light will pass
through them or
not. Then invite students to sit under the table and test all of
the materials to
see which ones will filter through the light. You can add math
to this activity
by making a chart of the results.
of Sight: Reflections
Children can do
this simple science experiment from Maria M. when they use their
sense of sight to learn about reflections.
1. All kinds
of unbreakable mirrors; hand-held, stand-up, pocket etc.
2. Other items
in which children can see their reflections such as appliances,
windows, metal spoons, foil and water
3. A piece
of experience chart paper and a felt tip marker.
a few children (3 or 4) to walk around the classroom with
you to find places
where the can see their reflections. Talk about what a reflection is and
in which shiny items children have seen themselves, such as metal appliances,
toasters or toaster ovens, windows, metal spoons, foil or water. Together
find examples of reflections.
Emphasize the word
reflection by holding up a mirror and saying, "I can see my
reflection in this
mirror. It's ....... just like a picture of my face." Then offer
the mirror to each child to see his or her reflection.
After your classroom's
sit with a few children and show them
of mirrors. Permit plenty of time for youngsters to look into
the mirrors thoroughly. What happens when children breath onto the
mirror? Ask them
to hold a mirror in different locations such as in front of their mouths
with their mouths open, at arm's length - slightly higher than
and against a corner in the classroom.
Suggest that children
try to holding a mirror out a doorway while standing
inside. What can
they see now? Use a piece of experience chart paper to record
Later, hang the experience chart in your science area with the mirrors
for further independent investigation.
children may enjoy looking in mirrors while they draw pictures
youngsters to the components of mud during this science and math activity.
3 medium sized tubs
If using for a math
activity - measuring cups
Also a water table
would be nice
1. Have the
three tubs set out in a row (could be put in a water table)
2. Put soil
in one of the outside tubs and water in the other outside tub
3. If using
for math, put measuring cups in the dirt and water
1. You could
start off by reading the book "Mud" to the children
2. Ask the
children questions, "Do you like to play in the mud? How do we make
One: Let the children play in the tubs with their hands
and see what
they do. Some children will mix the dirt and water on their own
and suddenly get mud.
Two: You can be with the children helping to make mud. Have
take the measuring cups and help them count how many cups or scoops
of each they think they will need to get the end result.
3. Talk to
the children about how they made mud.
are 2 variations on the classic Rubber Egg Experiment.
Idea: Rubber Egg
Dawn F. offers
this first experiment that can be used with a
Two hard boiled
A glass jar with
the vinegar into the jar to fill it until about ¾ full. Then put
the hard boiled eggs into the jar and close it with the lid. Let it sit
like that for about a week and a half. In the meantime, talk about
Dinosaurs and how they laid eggs. Ask questions like, "What do dinosaur
eggs feel like?" Leave the jar out where the children can observe
it and then, after about a week and a half, take the eggs out. The shell
that was once hard will be rubbery feeling, just like a real dinosaur
Comments: The children
and other teachers were amazed and so was I because I wasn't sure it would
work! We talked about how the egg went from a hard shell to a rubber
uses raw eggs instead of boiled eggs in her experiment. You can try both
ways to find out what happens.
a raw egg in it's shell, a container large enough to hold the raw egg,
and enough white vinegar to cover the egg.
the children touch the shell of the egg to see how hard it is. Let
them smell the vinegar and help pour some in the container. Gently put
the raw egg in the container and make sure the vinegar completely covers
egg. Have children wash their hands after pouring the vinegar. Tell
the children that when they come to school tomorrow something will have
happened to the egg.
Sure enough by morning
the egg's shell will have started to soften and in two or three more days
it will feel like rubber and the egg will have swollen to almost twice
it's size. The children will be amazed.
Comments: If you
haven't seen this experiment you will likely be amazed too.
how different chemicals react with each other while developing fine motor
skills during this easy science experiment by Sandra W.
Plate or bowl
Old dirty pennies
materials to children. Ask them how they might clean the
dirty pennies. This
is a good graphing project. Let them try using salt on a
penny and record
their reactions. Try vinegar next, and record those reactions.
Finally, let the
children try mixing the salt and vinegar. Again, record their reactions.
The salt and vinegar work together to clean the pennies. This activity
leaves much room for open ended questions and discussion.
Comments: This activity
is a good one to leave on the shelf. You can also try
using other dirty
coins and see what happens.
suggests this activity saying, "This is a great activity for Earth
Description: In the
Fall, take the children on a nature walk and have them collect acorns.
Once inside, give each child a paper towel and some acorns. Wet the paper
towel until it is just dampened. Place an acorn in the center of the damp
paper towel and wrap it well within the paper towel. Place in a lighted
place; preferably a window. Keep the paper towels damp by re-wetting
them each day. Observe them over the next couple of weeks. They will sprout
and then they can be planted to grow a new tree.
bubbles during the winter and explore the concept of freezing with this
activity by Robin J.
1 quart of water
1 box of sugared
Jello (for color and smell)
1/8 cup of glycerin,
½ cup Joy
dishwashing liquid. Mix well.
Bundle up the class and head outside. Give each
child a wand and
some of the bubble mixture. Invite them to blow bubbles or wave their
wands to create bubbles. They should discover that these bubbles
don't always pop. Some will freeze and bounce. Allow the children
lots of time to experience the bubbles.
As an inside activity, place a small amount of bubble solution in a
cup. Use a
straw to blow into the solution to create a mountain of bubbles.
Make sure that the children understand that they can only blow into the
Try to catch the bubbles that are blown. Have a bubble race to see
who can cross the
finish line without popping their bubble.
Discuss the fact that bubbles are made of air trapped inside a hollow liquid
ball. They float up because the warm air blown inside is lighter
than cool air outside the bubble. The colors visible in bubbles come
from light reflecting on the bubble's surface.
the growth cycle of a tadpole into a frog during this long term science
activity from Debra V.
and instructions that you can order from a science catalog.
Your local librarian can help with this activity.
Description: I read
the book Growing Frogs with my first graders.
the many changes
that occur until a frog is grown. Every time the students come
to the library we
observe and write down any changes we see. At the end of this
activity the students
draw pictures to illustrate the cycle of a tadpole. I am a librarian so,
the entire school gets involved with this project. Since the tadpoles are
on display in the library, the entire school becomes excited as we watch
the progress and at the end we have mascots for the library
Themes in the Resource Room: