The first day of science class sets the tone for a year of scientific exploration and learning. Jumping right into scientific tasks engages the students and sparks interest in the class. The specific activity selected depends on the age of the students and the amount of time available. Adapt these activities to fit the specific groups of students, based on the age and skill level of the kids. Direct the activities toward the specific type of science class, such as biology, earth science or chemistry, if applicable.
Science in the News
Provide several newspapers and magazines with various topics and writing styles. Allow each student or small group of students to search through the provided materials to find a science-related article. Ask the kids to read the selected article, making notes of the key points. Gather the class and take turns sharing a summary of the articles. Ask the other students to ask the presenter questions about the article to extend the learning. This activity engages the students in a simple science activity to ease into the school year.
Set up learning stations with different science equipment that will be used throughout the year. Examples include microscopes, petri dishes, beakers, pH paper, scales and models. Provide a worksheet for student notes. Divide the students into small groups and have them rotate through the stations. Provide a simple activity at each station that allows the students to explore the equipment. Have the students make notes about what they observe at each station.
Real World Science
Brainstorm a list of ways science is a part of our daily lives. Ideas include technology, cooking, nature activities and weather. Have each student write a paragraph about one of the ideas and how the scientific concept influences his life. For example, he may write about a time when the weather changed his plans or a computer helped with a homework assignment. If time allows, let the kids share their real world science experiences.
Textbook Scavenger Hunt
The new school year brings a new textbook for the students to explore. Create a series of questions that require students to search through the science textbook. Ideas include the title of a specific chapter, the scientific topic explained on a certain page number, the definition of a word or questions relating to the index. Choose topics throughout the book to allow the students to gain some familiarity with it. When all students complete the scavenger hunt, review the answers as a class. The review provides an opportunity to share more details about what the students should expect during the school year.