January 2009



One of my favorite ideas for science is to have THE SCIENTIST OF THE WEEK. This will involve parents and children and make your job a little easier. Write a letter similar to the one below and send it home with a different child each Monday. You could create a backpack for the “Scientist of the Week” with a magnifying glass, magnet, field guide book, spiral notebook, pencil, safety goggles, lab coat, and a copy of the science experiments listed this month.

Dear Parents,

Your child has been selected as “Scientist of the Week.” Please help your child choose an experiment to present to the class on Thursday. You will find some science experiments in this bag, but it might be fun for you and your child to go to the library or search on the internet. Help your child practice the experiment several times so she’ll feel confident when she does it in front of her classmates. We will have “The Scientist of the Week” at 2:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon and we’d love for you to join us.

Thanks for being your child’s FIRST and most important teacher!

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Skills: interest in science; scientific process

Materials: old white dress shirts (Ask children to bring these in or purchase
them at a thrift store.)

Directions: Cut the sleeves off the shirts and let the children write their names on the pocket. (You could let them write “Dr. Child’s name.”) Whenever you do science, let the children put on their lab coats like real scientists. Relate how you can observe, make hypotheses, predict, experiment, do research, and record data just like real scientists.

Lab Coat

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Adaptations: When studying insects refer to the children as “etymologists” or call them “geologists” when you study rocks.

Invite scientists (parents, community) to be guest speakers and discuss their careers with the children.

Teach children this song to the tune of “I Had a Little Turtle.”

     I Know a Scientist

      I know a scientist, (Hold up index finger.)
      And you can be one, too! (Point with index finger.)
      Here’s the scientific method
      So you’ll know what to do.

      First you find a question. (Hold up one finger.)
      Just take a look around. (Pretend to look around.)
      What is it that you want to know?
      Now you write it down.

      Next you make a guess— (Hold up two fingers.)
      It’s called a hypothesis—
      About what will happen
      When you do your tests.

      Now experiment, (Hold up three fingers)
      Observe it, write it, too. (Hold up four fingers.)
      You’ll need lots of data
      To show your guess is true.

      Draw your conclusions. (Hold up five fingers.)
      Look into any doubts.
      Then tell everybody
      What you’ve found out


Skills: recording data; reading and writing

Materials: white paper, hole punch, rubber band, 8” stick

Directions: Integrate reading and writing by asking the children to keep a science journal. Fold 5 sheets of paper in half. Hole punch about 2” from each end as shown. (An adult may need to do this.) Insert the rubber band through one whole and slide one end of the stick through the loop. Insert the other end of the rubber band through the other hole and slide the other end of the stick through that hole. Children can use their discovery journals to write up experiments, record observations, do research recall nature walks, science field trips, etc.

Lab Coat

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Skills: experimenting; observing

Materials: old pennies, vinegar, salt, cup and spoon

Directions: Put ½ cup of vinegar in the cup. Add 1 TB salt and mix to dissolve. Drop the pennies in the cup and stir them around while you count to 25. Take the pennies out of the cup and rinse them off in water. Taaa Daaa! What happened to the pennies? What made them shiny?

Lab Coat

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Adaptations: Put this experiment in a learning center so children can repeat it.

Experiment shining pennies with ketchup or lemon juice.


Skills: observing; predicting

Materials: small box of raisins, clear carbonated soda (ginger ale, 7-Up, etc.), clear class

Directions: Fill the glass halfway with the soda. Drop five or six raisins in the glass. Watch carefully to see what the raisins do. What makes the raisins go up and down?


Skills: observing; experimenting

Materials: clear bowl, pepper, liquid detergent

Directions: Fill the bowl with water. Sprinkle the pepper on top. Squirt a drop of detergent in the middle of the bowl. Observe what the pepper does. What makes the pepper scatter?


Skills: experimenting; observing

Materials: pie pan, whole milk, food coloring, liquid detergent (Dawn works best.)

Directions: Place a cup of milk in the pie pan. Let it sit for an hour so it will be at room temperature. Put several drops from each bottle of food coloring down the sides of the pie pan at different intervals. Now, squirt a few drops of the detergent in the middle of the pan. Patiently observe and the colors will explode in the pan. (You might have to jiggle the pan a little to get the action started.)


Skills: experimenting; observing

Materials: baking soda, vinegar, red food coloring, empty water bottle, spoon, and shallow pan

Directions: Set the bottle inside the pan. Pour ½ cup of vinegar in the bottle. Add a few drops of red food coloring. Add two tablespoons of baking soda to the bottle. (An adult will need to do this part.) Watch out for your volcano! What caused the chemical reaction?

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