January 2009



Materials: 2 plastic funnels, 4’ to 8’ of plastic tubing 3/8” thick (available at hardware stores), tape

Directions: Fit each end of the plastic tubing in one of the funnels and tape in place. Have one child hold a funnel to their ear while another child talks in the other funnel. How does sound get from one funnel to the next?

Funnel Phone

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Adaptations: Make individual phones with paper cups, string, and paper clips. Poke holes in the bottom of two cups and thread the string through the holes. Tie a paper clip to the ends of the string to keep them in the bottom of the cup. Let children take turns speaking and listening with the “cup phones.”


Materials: clear jar or glass, paper towel, sand or soil, popcorn kernels

Directions: Take a clear jar and fold a paper towel so it fits inside the jar. Put sand or soil inside the paper towel. Drop several beans or popcorn kernels between the paper towel and the cup. Water and place in a sunny spot. Children can observe the seed, root, and stem as they grow.


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Adaptations: Put an old sock over your shoe and take a walk on the playground where there are a lot of weeds. When you return to the classroom place the sock in a zip bag. Water the sock and punch a few small holes in the bag. Hang the bag in a window and watch your sock grow!

Hint! I always throw a little birdseed on the sock when the children aren’t watching.


Materials: 2 stalks of celery (with the leafy tops), 2 clear glasses, food coloring

Directions: Place the stalks of celery in two glasses of water. Add red food coloring to one cup and blue to the other. Have children predict what they think will happen. Observe for several days.

Adaptations: You can do a similar experiment with white carnations or daffodils. Split one stalk of celery from the bottom half way up. Put one end in blue water and the other end in red water.


Skills: experimenting; recording data

Materials: grass seed (rye works well), potting soil, plain paper cups, markers

Directions: Draw a face on the cup with markers. Fill the cup halfway with soil and sprinkle grass seed on the top. Water and set in a sunny window. Record how many it days it takes the grass to grow. When the hair gets too long, give it a haircut with scissors!


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Skills: observing; predicting; experimenting

Materials: grass seed, potting soil, glass jar with a lid, 5 paper cups

Directions: Label the cups with the numerals 1-5.

Make the following labels for the cups: 1. Dirt, sun, water, air. 2. Dirt, water, air 3. Dirt, sun, air 4. Dirt, sun, water 5. Sun, water, air

Plant the seeds according to the label. Number 2 should be placed in a dark closet or drawer. Number 3 should not be watered. Number 4 should be placed in the glass jar and sealed. Number 5 should not have any dirt.

Let the children predict which one will grow best.

What Do Plants Need?

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Adaptations: Have children record observations (draw or write).


Skills: experimenting; predicting

Materials magnet box of small materials such as paper clips, safety pins, tissue, plastic toys, nails, toothpicks, etc. piece of cardboard clear cup of water

Directions: Take the magnet and try to pick up each object. Make a pile of things that the magnet will attract and a pile of the things it does not attract. How are the things the magnet attracts alike? Put a paper clip in the cup of water. Will the magnet pick it up through the water? Put a paper clip on top of the cardboard. Put the magnet under the cardboard and see if the magnet can move the paper clip.

Adaptations: Take the magnet out on the playground and challenge the children to find objects that it will attract.


Skills: experimenting; observing; eye-hand coordination

Materials: paper plate small mouse made from construction paper paper clip magnet

Directions: Attach the paper clip to the mouse. Place the mouse on the paper plate. Slide the magnet under the plate and make the mouse move.

Magic Mouse

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Adaptation: Draw a maze similar to the one shown for the mouse to move through.


Skills: experimenting; observing

Materials: cardboard scraps (cut up empty food boxes), aluminum foil

Directions: Cut a piece of cardboard about the size of your hand. It can be a circle, triangle, square, rectangle, or seasonal shape. Take a piece of aluminum foil twice as big as your shape and wrap it around the cardboard with the shiny side out. Go outside and hold the reflector card in the sun. Can you make the sun reflect off the card? Will this work on a cloudy day?


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Adaptations: Put the card in the sun. How does it feel? Put it in the shade. How does it feel? Why does it get hot in the sun?


Skills: experimenting; predicting

Materials: 4 eggs, clear cups, water, cola, tea, coffee

Directions: Fill each cup half full with the liquids. Label accordingly. Carefully submerge one raw egg in each cup. After several days remove the eggs from the cups. Examine the enamel on each egg. What liquids stained the eggs? How are your teeth like the eggs in the cup? What drinks will stain your teeth?

Adaptations: Brush the eggs carefully with a toothbrush and toothpaste. What happens?


Skills: observing

Materials: plastic milk jug, birdseed, scissors, yarn

Directions: Cut a hole in the side of the milk jug with scissors. Punch two holes in the top and tie on a piece of yarn for the hanger. Put a cup of birdseed in the bottom of the jug. Hang it in a tree. Add a small stick for a perch.

Adaptations: Place the bird feeder near a classroom window. Check out a bird identification book from the library. Encourage the children to identify the birds that feed and write down their observations on a clipboard. Make another birdfeeder by stringing cereal with holes on a pipe cleaner. Spread honey or peanut butter on a Bavarian pretzel and sprinkle with seed. Tie on yarn so you can hang in a tree. Put honey on pinecones and then sprinkle with birdseed. Cut shapes from stale brad and decorate with honey and birdseed.

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