Below are some suggestions on At-Home Science Activities that anyone can do with children using materials you find around or outside the house. Share pictures of your child completing the activities and tweet @CobbScience!
Day and Night Sky
Draw a picture of the sky from your yard or from your window. Include objects that you see in the sky as well as objects to serve as reference points like trees and buildings. At the same time on another day, draw another picture from the same viewpoint. Do you notice any changes? Is the sun or moon in the same spot? Why do you think this happened? You can repeat this activity with both the day and night sky. It works best if you aim for roughly the same time each day.
Rocks and Soils
Collect some rocks from your yard. Examine the rocks closely with a magnifying glass if you have one. Sort the rocks by their characteristics (color, shape, hardness). Draw the rocks and list their characteristics. How are they similar? How are they different? Do you think rocks from your yard are the same as rocks from your neighbor's yard? How about from your school?
Take some seeds from a fresh fruit or vegetable like a tomato, cantaloupe, cucumber, bell pepper (dried beans won't work). Put a wet paper towel or some potting soil in 3 plastic bags with a little bit of water. Put 1 bag in a cabinet. Put 1 bag on a counter or table. Put 1 bag next to a window. Predict which seeds will sprout first. Keep a journal of each bag of seeds over a week or so. Measure their growth with a ruler. Which ones sprouted? Which ones grew the tallest? Why do you think they sprouted the way that they did?
Make a rain gauge using these instructions. Keep a journal of the amount of rain you get each day. Record the date and time of your observations. Compare your observations to those of the National Weather Service for your zip code. How are your observations similar or different to those of the NWS?
Forces and Motion
Check out this video of a lesson your 2nd graders can do to explore how forces make things move. Can you push a pig into his pen?
Plant Life Cycles
Watch this video of Eric Carle's The Tiny Seed. Discuss how the seed traveled from place to place. Now design your own seed dispersal technique using one of these ideas:
Exploding Seed Pod - This one is messy!
Design a wind dispersed seed
Animal Habitats and Adaptations
Students can explore animal adaptions and their habitats with this online game. They can learn as they play. Be sure to click "Enable Adobe Flash" when prompted. There are games for senses, movement, food, and appearance adaptations as well as habitat. Students can write a letter to you telling you what they learned by playing the game.
Play NOAA's Trash Smash. Help a friend otter clean up his habitat by sorting trash that's floating down the river. Be sure to click "Enable Adobe Flash" when prompted to play the game. Students can tell you how to sort trash into the right categories for recycling or disposal.
Forces and Motion
Watch this video to get inspired to build your own Rube Goldberg machine! See how many steps you can create to do something simple like flip a light switch or close a door. Use your iPad or other device to record your machine in action and share it with your teacher! Find more inspiration and awesome videos at the OK Go Sandbox website.
Ecosystems and Food Webs
Try out this interactive game from the BBC. You can find other habitats to challenge yourself by clicking here. Draw a picture illustrating your favorite food chain. Be sure to include labels for each of the plants & animals in your chain explaining its role in the food chain. Make a similar drawing of the food chains you see in your own backyard.
Cells and Microorganisms
Let the BBC guide you through an introduction to cells. You can also see the difference between an animal and a plant cell. Draw a picture of an animal cell and a plant cell. Be sure to label your drawings!
You can also explore a cell with Cell Explorers from Legends of Learning!
Inherited Traits and Learned Behaviors
Students can walk through this introductory lesson on inherited traits and learned behaviors. It also includes a Quizlet vocabulary review game. Have students draw (or use Google Draw or this Venn Diagram maker) to create their own Venn Diagram comparing traits and behaviors. They can share their diagrams with you.
(Lesson ideas courtesy of Mr. Donald White, Georgia Science Teachers Association)