Hands-On Activities for Third Through Fifth Grades

Interactive games and activities are beneficial for third through fifth graders because it keeps them engaged and interested in learning. The three activities below are fun, entertaining and educational, and will also improve your child's cognitive abilities.

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What Types of Activities Are Good for 3rd through 5th Graders?

Hands-on activities are one of the most effective techniques for teaching upper elementary students, because hands-on activities allow students to see and feel the information that they are learning. By using a little imagination and some creativity, you can take simple household items, such as jars, baking soda and water, and make them part of an interactive activity that children can learn from.

Candy Solar System Model

This delicious activity will teach your child about the solar system by creating a model out of some tasty treats. You will need:

  • 8-inch paper plate
  • One yellow jawbreaker
  • One malted milk ball
  • One mini Snickers bar
  • One mini Butterfinger bar
  • One jellybean
  • One M&M
  • One Skittle
  • One Red Hot
  • One piece of bubble gum
  • One can of frosting
  • Compass (the kind used for drawing circles)

Use the compass to draw eight concentric circles on the plate to represent the planet's orbits. Using the frosting for glue, place the yellow jawbreaker in the center of all the circles to represent the sun. Place the rest of the candy on each orbit line to represent the eight planets in order. The larger candies should represent the bigger planets and the smaller candies should represent the littler planets.

Chocolate Fractions

This activity will allow your child to see and feel fractions, which will be especially beneficial if she learns visually and kinesthetically. You will need a chocolate bar that can be equally divided into 12 parts. First, have your child break the bar in half. Be sure to have her write each fractional part as she breaks the pieces. Next, have her break the two parts into two more equal halves. Finally, have her break apart each piece of chocolate so there are 12 equal parts. Using the pieces of chocolate, have her demonstrate various fractions, such as 6/12 or 4/12.

Alternatively, give your child a small bag of M&M's or Skittles and have him count them out. Explain that the total number of candies in the bag is the denominator. Next, have him separate the different colors. He can then write out the fractions that represent each of the colors. For example, if he has ten total pieces of candy and two of those are red, he will write 2/10 to describe the number of red candies. He can also add or subtract fractions using the various colors.

Invisible Ink

This activity will allow your child to act as a scientist by creating her own invisible ink. You will need:

  • One lemon
  • Cup
  • Paint brush
  • White paper
  • Iron

Have your child squeeze the lemon juice into a cup. Using a paintbrush, have her write a message on the paper and allow it dry completely. Next, you will apply the iron onto the paper and the message will reappear. Explain that lemon juice is mildly acidic, so it weakens the paper. The acid from the lemon juice is still on the paper even though it has dried clear and can't be seen. When heat is applied to the paper, the acid burns and turns into a visible brown carbon substance on the paper.

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