Grade-Specific Science Fair Project Ideas

My kids love to get their hands dirty when they learn, sometimes quite literally. This makes our home that much messier and livelier. With two kids in separate grades, discussions over what to work on can turn into a rough tumble of ideas.

Over the years, I have compiled a list of science fair project ideas that I have used and sorted them out grade-wise (kindergarten to third grade so far) so that we have an easier time finding the right project (or subject) based on my kids’ curriculum, interest and relevance.

1DSC01160” by Laurie Sullivan is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Kindergarten – Projects can be nature-based. Science fair project ideas that kids can explore include the weather, plants and animals. Kids can grow plants to understand what a plant needs to grow. This could be in the form of growing a bean plant in cotton wool or grouping plants and studying their growth when they are exposed to sunlight and water, and when they are not. Other simple experiments include understanding the density of fluids (oil and water) and demonstrating displacement by dropping pebbles into a jar of water. Collecting different types of leaves and flowers to understand their structure, and sorting seeds from fruits and vegetables is something kids enjoy.

2Test site 3 & 4” by Dave is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

First Grade – Kids can move beyond curiosity and start learning to make and record observations. They can perform experiments with water to understand the states of matter (solid, gas and liquid). Other experiments can revolve around the five senses. Kids can interact with objects using only one of their senses and jot down observations. Other concepts that kids can learn include rain and cloud formations, the solar system, colors and surface tension.

Second Grade – When your kids get to the second grade, they can start experimenting with electricity and magnetism, animals and lifecycles, study anatomy, and learn more about the earth. Making a bird feeder to track bird species in the neighborhood is a popular project. Apart from continuing to collect data and making observations, kids can also start making models and presentations. Drawing the life cycles of insects and their anatomy, the most popular being a butterfly, is a good way to start. Observing mold to understand the effects of heat, humidity and other factors that cause mold is another easy to put together projects that second graders can work on.

3DSC00170” by Laurie Sullivan is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Third Grade – By the time kids get to third grade, they should be able to observe, collect, conduct experiments, record observations and form hypothesis. Science fair project ideas that you can consider are motion and sound, electricity and magnetism, animal and plant life, the human body, and the earth and solar system. Children can study chemical reactions like rusting and making soaps. Third graders can try their hand at making sundials, volcanoes, model airplanes and even a simple electric circuit.

4Making Marbled Paper” by Topeka Library is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

These are just a few of the science fair project ideas I have tried with my kids. It helps to talk to their science teacher, figure out the subjects that they will be studying, the extent to which they can explore a subject and grasp a concept, and their own interest before zeroing in on an idea.

Late night conversations with my daughter

I was sitting down to write another article this weekend when my daughter cuddled up to me and said she wanted to write something as well. I often give the kids writing assignments – I’m blessed with kids who not only love to read but also love to use their imaginations creatively. So I gave her a few sheets of paper and went on to make her some hot cocoa. I find hot cocoa always makes me write better.

When I got back to my work haven, I found her, pencil in hand but not a word on the paper. “Mom?” she hesitated and then continued, “I don’t know… I mean … I want to write a story … like you do … I mean … I want it to be published … Can I … Erm … Write one for you?” I smiled. I told her that she definitely should write for me. Happy and with a belly full of chocolate warmth, she dozed off on the couch while I finished my article.

That night, when I was preparing to sleep, I had a sudden panic attack. I had said ‘yes’ to my daughter without actually thinking it through. Writing articles is one thing, putting it up on the World Wide Web is another. We all know that this space can be dangerous and anything unmonitored can lead to situations you don’t want her to be in. So I had to think over whether I should allow her to write on my space or allow her to start her own blog. I went to sleep, troubled.

I am a huge fan of using new age technology for learning and didn’t want to discourage the use of the blogging platform. I talked to my daughter the next day and asked her what she had in mind with regards to writing. She said that she wanted to stories for me occasionally that I would publish on my blog. Considering I will have control over what goes up, what comments come through etc, I thought we’d both go for it. She will weave her magic stories and also learn about the intricacies of blogging (She is fascinated by WordPress stats – where the views come from, what search terms are used to reach certain articles etc)

We’re making this our monthly mother-daughter bonding activity.

What do you think of the idea?