Kindergartners LOVE science. They are naturally curious so anything that has to do with figuring things out, nature, animals, water…kindergartners want to know more. Even with their natural curiosity, sometimes it’s hard to keep them focused on the lesson or activity. Here are some teacher-friendly activities that you and your class will enjoy.
K-ESS2-1. Use and share quantitative observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.
*Give your students a graph or chart so that they can record the weather each day. They love having a science journal or weather journal. Call them scientists or meteorologists (the longer the word the better) and it is even more exciting.
*Have a local meteorologist come in to talk about weather patterns
K-ESS2-2. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment.
*Read the book The Lorax to your class. It’s like this book was written for this standard. After reading it, make a chart of how the environment changed and who caused the change.
K-ESS3-1. Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants and animals (including humans) and the places they live.
*Go on a scavenger hunt around the school to find plants/animals that are indigenous to the area where you live. Take pictures of the plants/animals or have them sketch the plant/animal. If you take pictures, they can draw a picture from the photos when back in the classroom.
K-ESS3-2. Obtain and use information about weather forecasting to prepare for, and respond to, different types of local weather.
*Discuss what the weather is supposed to be the next day of school and ask what they need to wear or bring to school to be prepared for that weather.
*In the winter, talk about why we have snow days (if you live in a snowy area).
*Have a local meteorologist come in to talk about weather forecasting.
K-ESS3-3. Communicate solutions to reduce the amount of natural resources and individual uses.
*Use paper from the recycling bin for free drawing or other activities.
*Put a reusable water bottle on your supply list at the beginning of the year
K-LS1-1. Observe and communicate that animals (including humans) and plants need food, water, and air to survive. Animals get food from plants or other animals. Plants make their own food and need light to live and grow.
*Plant seeds and watch them grow.
*Visit a farm and observe cows.
K-PS2-1. Compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.
*Use K’Nex to build slides and swings; have students roll the ball down the slides.
*Use books to make a slide (stack a few and then make a ramp with one) and have students roll the ball down the slides.
K-PS3-1. Make observations to determine that sunlight warms materials on Earth’s surface.
*Go out to the playground and have students feel the slide or other playground equipment that is in the shade. At recess, have them feel it again.
K-PS3-2. Use tools and materials to design and build a model of a structure that will reduce the warming effect of sunlight on an area.
*Make bugs out of UV beads and have children build structures to keep those bugs from changing color.
All of these projects take limited supplies and can be done easily in the classroom or around the school. Students can write or draw about any of these observations in their science journal. Again, tell them that all scientists take notes and that they are scientists too. Although kindergartners are limited in their writing abilities at the beginning of the school year, many of them can write about their observations by the end of the year.
Modifications for activities include: scribing for students, printing out coloring sheets of a topic if they are unable to sketch on their own, have parents come in to help scribe, take pictures of students’ constructions to put in their science journals, have students from upper grades come in to be science buddies to help students.
Try out mysteryscience.com for free! It is a great resource that you can get one year for free. After that, it is fee based. If it works well for your class or school, you may be able to get it into the budget for the next year. Some districts are using it as their science curriculum. It ranges from K-5th so if other grades are in need of science enrichment, they can use it too.
You may think that some of these topics are over the heads of kindergarten students, but you will be pleasantly surprised by their knowledge and problem-solving abilities. Give them a little challenge and they will rise to the occasion. We need to incorporate more science and problem solving to give students the opportunity to learn and grow.