Third Grade Science Activities and Lesson Plans

As with all subjects, kids usually enjoy learning science more when they participate in hands-on activities. Use the following experiments to engage your students in the scientific method.

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Why Use Hands-On Science Activities in the Classroom?

Hands-on science activities will allow your students to learn about science in a fun way. Your students will be more engaged and excited about scientific concepts if the activities are interactive. Don't be afraid to get a little messy because kids enjoy getting their hands dirty.

Environmentally Safe Glass Cleaner

This activity will teach your students about chemistry and the importance of environmentally safe products by making homemade glass cleaner. You will need:

  • A large bowl
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • White vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Five or six small spray bottles
  • Measuring cups

You can do this activity as a whole group or split your students into a couple of groups depending on your class size. Warn your kids that this solution is not something that they should taste because they may get very sick.

Have a student measure 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup of water to pour into the bowl. Next, add 1/2 cup of the rubbing alcohol. You should do this part because rubbing alcohol can be harmful if swallowed. Rinse out the measuring cup right after you use it.

Finally, add a tablespoon of lemon juice and mix the solution for about two minutes. Pour the solution into a couple of spray bottles and challenge your students to find as many items containing glass or plastic as they can to clean. Explain to your class that because this product does not contain any harsh chemicals it is better for humans and our planet.

Fizzy Drink

This fun and fizzy drink will teach your students about chemical reactions and how solutions react when you mix different ingredients together.

You will need:

  • Two lemons
  • Two limes
  • Two oranges
  • Two grapefruits
  • Four pitchers
  • Water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • One teaspoon sugar
  • Paring knife
  • Dixie cups

Slice the fruits in half using the paring knife. Have your students wash their hands before handling the food. Pick a few students to squeeze the juice from the fruit into each pitcher. Be sure to tell them to pick out any seeds that they find. Next, brainstorm with your class how their drink can get fizzy like soda.

Explain to them that all of the fruits that they have juiced contain acid and will react when a base is added. Therefore, if you add baking soda, which is a base to the fruit juices, it will cause the solution to carbonate and become fizzy. Add about four cups of water and about one teaspoon of sugar (depending how sweet you want your drink). Then, pour the drinks into small Dixie cups for each of your kids to taste. Take a vote on which fruit fizzy juice tastes the best and graph the results.

Volcano Blast

Teach your third graders about earth sciences and chemistry with this fun activity. You will need:

  • Three 2-liter soda bottles (depending on your class size)
  • Funnel
  • Molding clay
  • Safety goggles
  • Food coloring
  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar

Split your class into a couple of groups and have them create a volcano with the molding clay, using the 2-liter bottle as a base. Tell your students that it is important to keep the opening of the bottle free of clay.

Once the volcanoes are created, have your students pour one liter of warm water into each volcano opening using the funnel. Next, have a student put a couple of drops of food coloring (orange or red will look most like lava, but any color is fine) into each volcano. Have your students put their safety goggles on and predict which volcano will have the largest explosion. Put a few drops of dish soap into the volcanoes. Then, add two tablespoons of baking soda. Finally, pour about one cup of vinegar into each of the volcanoes and watch the chemical reaction that ensues.

Explain that when you mix baking soda and vinegar, carbon dioxide is created. The carbon dioxide builds pressure up in the bottle and causes the solution inside the bottle to explode, looking like lava.

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