In so many schools and districts, our schedules don’t include a science and social studies block. For many of us, that means we integrate science standards and content into our ELA and Math blocks. This is true for our classroom. Our science and social studies curriculum are our research projects that address our standards. BUT, what we don’t want to leave out is the hands-on science lessons.
Hands-on science lessons are when we bring the science standards and content to life. This is when we make the abstract ideas of science into concrete, real experiences that our kids need and crave.
In our classroom, we do a hands-on science experiment every week. We call this Mad Science. Depending on our schedule each year, we do these on Thursday or Friday. Hence the name Mad Science Thursday or Mad Science Friday. There are 3 reasons for Mad Science in the classroom:
- hands-on experiments to build science content knowledge
- learn the scientific method
Let’s just talk about the fun. The kids have the best reactions to the experiments. They squeal, scream, laugh, and TALK. This conversation is so important for building language and vocabulary and learning science content. And that excitement is what gets kids interested in science and keeps them interested.
Kindergarten Science Experiments
One of the components of our Mad Science experiments is the scientific method. Starting in kindergarten, we learn the scientific method. We learn about making a hypothesis, conducting an experiment and discussing outcomes. As part of our Mad Science lessons, we do writing and drawing to record our observations.
We discuss the materials we’re using (all of which are common items). Then we discuss the name of our experiment and based solely on the name of the experiment, the students make their hypothesis. We record these on our chart. Then we conduct our experiment and record the outcomes. The students then draw what happens.
Speaking of materials, all of the materials are commonly used items. We buy them in bulk because so many of the materials are used over and over again. There is a materials list for each experiment in our Mad Science creations.
In our experiments, the students do 95% of the work. That’s why it’s called hands-on. I prep the materials but when it comes to the actual experiment, students do it. When it comes to clean up, the students also do the clean up (as much as they can). In order to avoid bigger messes, I sometimes do the cleanup depending on the outcomes. Think lots of liquids…I clean up those experiments.
Virtual Mad Science
Even if you are teaching virtually you can still do Mad Science lessons. The way I am doing it virtual science experiments is having students make their hypothesis, then I conduct the experiments with students watching live and then we discuss the outcomes. They can draw and write about their outcomes.
And yes, I dress the part! I have a Mad Scientist Costume that I wear for our Mad Science lessons!
For virtual learning, I upgraded my lab coat thanks to Hand 2 Mind.
You can grab our Science Resources here:
For more information on our research projects for meeting science standards, check out this post:
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