You may not believe it, but elementary science projects can be great fun for a family. Science projects give the perfect opportunity to learn about the fascinating subject of science. Unfortunately, science has degenerated into a somewhat boring subject in many elementary schools. The dreaded science projects don’t help the situation any.
Elementary science projects should demonstrate the way things work in the world around us so that kids are fascinated! Learning about chemical reactions, creating friction, hearing pops, and observing fire are the stuff of great fun. But somewhere between the fun and the fair, the fun too often disappears. It shouldn’t be that way!
If your elementary school child has been assigned science projects, your biggest step is choosing a topic.
Yes, we know how difficult this can be. We have four sons, and have done more science projects than we can count. One year, we did three elementary school science projects and a middle school project. We’ve had more than our share of problems, and made way too many mistakes. But somewhere along the way, we started to figure it out! We began to come up with project ideas that met the teacher’s standards, yet were easy to do, affordable, interesting and fun.
Here’s our advice. Don’t make the mistake of being too broad and asking your child, “Do you want to do a project about earth science?” or even “Do you want to do a science project on electricity?
Before you discuss it with your child, do your homework. Find some specific projects that meet the specifications of your teacher. Then, describe the project in dynamic terms. “Gross! Here’s a project about how yeast has enough gas to can blow up a balloon!” or “You take the shell off an egg in this project – without boiling it! Then you can actually bounce the egg on the floor. Not in my kitchen!”
As you choose an experiment, keep in mind that many teachers require that a science project follow the scientific method, even when doing an elementary school science project. That means your child has to come up with a question, do research, formulate an hypothesis, list variables, test the hypothesis, report results and formulate a conclusion. (Did you feel the fun start to evaporate?!)
It’s also important not to choose a science project so complicated that the child is only a spectator. Find an experiment that allows the child to participate, to understand the scientific principles, and to have fun!
A couple of years ago, we took our best projects and put them into packages of science fair projects that will help you and your child discover that science projects can really be fun. We know you’ll find that we’ve done the hard part, and left the fun of doing science projects for you and your child!