Hands-on science is a sure-fire way to connect with every kid.
Give your first grade science students a thrill by announcing that today, they’ll be doing a real experiment! The activities here are easy for kids to do, with concepts that will help build their science knowledge for the future. And most of them require no special equipment at all!
1. Make it rain
You need rain to make a rainbow. Simulate a raincloud in a jar with shaving cream and food coloring, and see how the coloring saturates the “cloud” until it simply must fall.
Learn more: Fun Learning for Kids
2. Give gummi bears a bath
Drop gummi bears into different liquid solutions to see how they change (or don’t) over time. Kids will learn about osmosis, as well as how scientists must be good observers.
Learn more: First Grade Buddies
3. Sort animals by features
Pull out the toy animals and have kids sort them into categories by their features, like number of legs, whether they have wings, and more. It’s an early introduction to classification systems.
Learn more: Roots and Wings
4. Play with Play-Doh to learn why we have bones
Ask kids to build a person from Play-Doh and see if it will stand on its own. Then show them how adding drinking straws give it structure and strength, and explain that bones do the same for us!
Learn more: Keeping My Kiddos Busy
5. Find out which objects are attracted to magnets
Equip students with magnets and send them out to explore and discover which objects the magnet will stick to and which it won’t. Record their findings on the free printable worksheet.
Learn more: Fairy Poppins
6. Experiment with marshmallow Peeps
Peeps used to be an Easter treat, but these days you can find them in different shapes throughout much of the year. Use them to practice making predictions and recording observations with this sweet experiment.
Learn more: Gift of Curiosity/Easter Peeps Science Experiments
7. Float food coloring on milk
Learn about surface tension by dropping food coloring onto different types of milk (whole, skim, cream, etc.). Then use dish soap to break down the fats and surface tension, and watch the colors dance!
Learn more: STEAMsational/Surface Tension
8. Drop water onto a penny
Continue your exploration of surface tension by adding water drop-by-drop to a penny. The surface tension will allow you to add far more water than you might think.
Learn more: Science Buddies/Surface Tension
9. Turn a plastic bag into a greenhouse
Turn your first grade science class into gardeners! Use a damp paper towel in a plastic bag to allow them to see a seed sprouting and growing roots.
Learn more: Lessons 4 Little Ones/Greenhouse Bag
10. Blow up a balloon using yeast
This is similar to the classic lemon juice and baking soda experiment many kids do at some point, but it’s better for younger kids since you don’t have to worry about them splashing the juice in their eyes. Kids will be just as astonished at the results as the yeast eats the sugar and produces carbon dioxide gas!
Learn more: The STEM Laboratory
11. Test your reaction time
Do your students have lightning-quick reflexes? Find out with this easy experiment. One student holds a ruler vertically, while another places their hand just beneath and waits. When the first student drops the ruler, the second catches it as quickly as possible, seeing how many inches passed through their fingers first.
Learn more: Science Sparks
12. Make a salt volcano
Your firsties are too young to remember the lava lamp craze, but this science project will give them a taste of it as they learn about liquid density.
Learn more: What We Do All Day
13. Learn the scientific method with candy
See the scientific method in action as kids hypothesize what will happen to various types of candy in the hot sun. Observe, record, and analyze your results to see if their predictions were correct.
Learn more: Playdough to Plato
14. Build a bird feeder
Set young engineers loose with wood craft sticks, glue, and string to create a bird feeder. Then research the best seeds to fill them with, and hang them outside your classroom window to draw in some feathered friends.
Learn more: Mombrite
15. Observe the birds at your feeder
Once your feeder is in place, teach kids to identify common birds and keep track of their visits. Report their findings to one of Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Citizen Science projects to let kids be part of real-life research.
Learn more: Science Buddies/Bird Feeders
16. Look into mirrors to discover symmetry
By now, first grade science students may have noticed that mirrors reflect objects backward. Ask them to write the alphabet in capital letters, then hold it up to the mirror. Which letters are the same when they’re reflected? Use those findings to talk about symmetry.
Learn more: Buggy and Buddy/Mirror Symmetry
17. “Bend” a pencil using light refraction
Tell your students you’re going to bend a pencil without touching it. Drop it into a glass of water and have them look at it from the side. Light refraction makes it appear to be in two pieces!
Learn more: STEAMsational/Refraction
18. Create an avalanche
Learn about the destructive power of an avalanche in a safe way with this experiment. All you need is flour, cornmeal, pebbles, and a plastic tray.
Learn more: A Dab of Glue Will Do
19. Melt ice cubes to make new colors
Color mixing is one of those incredibly cool activities that kids will want to try again and again. Make ice cubes using primary colors, then let them melt together to see what new colors you can create.
Learn more: Gift of Curiosity/Color Mixing With Colored Ice Cubes
Fabulous First Grade Science Projects That Little Learners Will Love