Lots of people have been asking me for school science club ideas, so I’ve put together a collection of activities that I think would work really well for Primary/Elementary age children.
First up are these Scribble Bots. These are quite simple to make and the parts inexpensive and reusable. Children can try changing the size of the container, location of pens and alignment of the moving arm.
Build a robot that can draw an almost perfect circle.
Create a robot that can draw a dotted line.
Construct a robot with 8 pens.
Craft Stick Chain Reactions
Craft stick chain reactions are great fun and easy to set up once you get the hang of them.
Who can build the longest chain reaction?
Make a Superhero Float
Give children a selection of buoyant and non buoyant materials and ask the children to find a way to make a small action figure float.
What’s the smallest amount of material that can be used to make a figure float.
Can you get an action figure to float by another method? ( *how about adding salt to the water? )
Blow up a balloon with Alka seltzer.
Try blowing up a balloon with Alka Seltzer, an effervesecnt vitamin tablet or popping candy. If you have the outdoor space this works really well if followed by a film canister rocket. The fact that the children have seen just how much gas is released makes it easier to understand why the pressure builds up so fast inside the film canister.
How can you speed up the blowing up a balloon reaction?
Can you draw a picture on a balloon so it grows with the balloon?
These are a super easy, low cost activity using just paper and paper clips. The paper spinners can be used for lots of different investigations, children can try dropping them from different heights, making different sized spinners and observing how they fall differently or adding more or less weight to the bottom end.
Who can make the biggest spinner than spins at least once on its descent?
Who can make the smallest spinner that still spins?
Who can make the slowest falling spinner?
Try catapulting different size and weight balls to see which go the furthest, or release from different angles. Children could also design a target and find a way for the ball to make a mark when it hits.
See how to make a catapult here.
Who can make their ping pong ball go the furthest?
Who can build the biggest catapult?
Make ice cream with ice and salt
This is another easy activity and a great demonstration of how salt lowers the freezing point of ice.
To make ice cream with ice and salt, simply place sugar, cream and flavouring into one sealed bag, then place that big inside a bigger bag container ice and salt, roll and twist the bags together until your cream turns into lovely squishy ice cream! Experiment using milk, cream, flavoured milk and syrups to see which give the best flavour.
Remember this can get very cold for little hands so gloves or a tea towel might be a good idea.
Make a density jar and ask the children to find objects to float on each layer. Give the jar a good shake and watch how the layers separate and use a pipette to drop water into oil observing how it makes spherical shapes.
Once you’re finished with the density jar you can add a bit of food colouring to the water and turn it into a lava lamp by adding an alka seltzer.
Who can make a density jar with the most layers? Try treacle, golden syrup, ice cream syrup, milk, water, honey, washing up liquid.
Viscosity Races are brilliant fun and a great way to learn how the thickness of liquid changes how it flows.
Simply mark two points on a large piece of paper and time how long each liquid takes to run between the two lines.
Who can find the slowest moving liquid?
Place skittles in water and watch as the colour dissolves from the sweets. You could try using warm, hot and cold water to investigate if changing the temperature of the water speeds up the reaction.
Egg Drop Experiment
How about this nice twist on the traditional egg drop experiment? Ask children to place different materials into sealable plastic bags, place an egg inside and then drop from high up to see which protects the egg the best.
Try changing the material inside the bag, the surface the egg drops onto or size of the bag to extend the task.
Who can build the most effective landing pad for an egg to drop on without breaking?
Or try some challenges:
Build the tallest spaghetti and marshmallow ( or straws and plasticine ) tower.
Construct a tower with sugar cubes.
Create a working water slide or marble run using cardboard tubes and foil.
Let us know if you have more school science club ideas for us.