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45 1st Grade Science Projects That’ll Pique Kids’ Interest


Hands-on learning is the best way for those little Einsteins in your 1st grade class to discover science. Kids will cheer when you announce that they’ll get to do a real experiment. The activities here are easy for kids to do, with concepts that will help build their science knowledge for the future. Best of all, most require no special equipment at all! Many of the 1st grade science experiments on our list even use childhood staples like crayons and Play-Doh!

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1. Grow a rainbow

Paper towel stretched between two glasses of water, with rainbow colors stretching across it (First Grade Science Experiments)

Kids learn the colors of the rainbow along with chromatography as they watch marker streaks climb up and meet across a wet paper towel. The word might be a big one for little kids to learn, but they’ll love to see it in action!

Learn more: The Best Ideas for Kids

2. Make it rain

Glass of water with shaving cream on top and blue food coloring dropping down

You need rain to make a rainbow. Simulate a rain cloud in a jar with shaving cream and food coloring, and see how the coloring saturates the “cloud” until it simply must fall.

Learn more: Fun Learning for Kids

3. Make frost in a can

A tin can has frost developing in it (first grade science experiments)

This is an especially fun experiment during those chilly winter months. First, fill the can with ice and halfway with water. Then have the kids sprinkle salt in the can and cover the top. Finally, shake it and wait about three minutes for the frost to begin to appear.

Learn more: Kindergarten Worksheets and Games

4. Give gummi bears a bath

Four plastic cups with liquid and gummi bears, sitting on a printable worksheet (First Grade Science)

Drop gummi bears into different liquid solutions to see how they change (or don’t) over time. Kids will learn about osmosis, as well as how scientists must be good observers.

Learn more: First Grade Buddies

5. Sort animals by features

Charts show zoo animals sorted by category.

Use a printable or pull out the toy animals and have kids sort them into categories. It’s an early introduction to classification systems.

Learn more: Fairy Poppins

6. Play a flute

First grade science student playing a homemade pan flute

These homemade flutes are fun to play, but they also help young kids learn about sound. Let them experiment with straw lengths to see what tones they can make.

Learn more: Buggy and Buddy/Pan Flute

7. Play with Play-Doh to learn why we have bones

Worksheet entitled Why Do I Have Bones with Play-Doh, drinking straws, and simple model of human figure (First Grade Science)

Ask kids to build a person from Play-Doh and see if it will stand on its own. Then show them how adding drinking straws gives it structure and strength, and explain that bones do the same for us! (Get more clever ways to use Play-Doh in the classroom here.)

Learn more: Keeping My Kiddos Busy

8. Build the layers of Earth with Play-Doh

a ball of play doh has a slice taken out of it. It has a yellow center, a brown layer, a red layer, and a blue and green outer shell (first grade science experiments)

Another creative use of Play-Doh! Teach your students about the different layers of Earth and then have them create them using different colors of Play-Doh.

Learn more: Evans Elementary School

9. Find out which objects are attracted to magnets

Two sheets labeled Magnetic and Not Magnetic with small u-shaped magnet and a basket of small objects

Equip students with magnets and send them out to explore and discover which objects the magnet will stick to and which won’t. Record their findings on the free printable worksheet.

Learn more: Fairy Poppins

10. Grow a crystal garden

Glass bowl holding blue water solution covered in crystals (First Grade Science Experiments)

First grade science students might not grasp the concept of supersaturated solutions, but they’ll still love a good crystal project! Grab some magnifying glasses and let them examine the crystals up close (try not to touch, as they’re very fragile) to see the cool geometric structures.

Learn more: Babble Dabble Do

11. Make a jelly bean structure

Toothpicks and rainbow colored jelly beans form a structure.

If you’re doing this STEM project in the spring, jelly beans make the perfect base. If you can’t get a hold of jelly beans, try substituting tiny marshmallows in their place. Make sure to have some extras on hand since little hands are likely to snack as they build.

Learn more: The Stem Laboratory

12. Experiment with marshmallow Peeps

Three cups labeled water, vinegar, and soda, each with a pink marshmallow bunny floating in it

Peeps used to just be an Easter treat, but these days you can find them in different shapes throughout much of the year. Use them to practice making predictions and recording observations with this sweet experiment.

Learn more: Gift of Curiosity/Easter Peeps Science Experiments

13. Spark excitement with static electricity

Pink balloon with scrap of yellow tissue paper stuck to it, labeled Static Electricity Experiment for Kids (First Grade Science)

No doubt your 1st grade science students have already encountered static electricity by rubbing a balloon on their hair. This experiment takes things a step further, letting kids explore which objects an electrically charged balloon can pick up and which it can’t.

Learn more: Kids Activities Blog

14. Melt crayons to explore solids and liquids

A rainbow of crayons laid on white paper, melting and running down. Text reads Melting: Solid to Liquid, Solid plus Heat equals Liquid

Dig out some old crayons and use them for this easy experiment that demonstrates the difference between liquids and solids. When you’re done, you’ll have a cool piece of art to display. (Discover more uses for broken crayons here.)

Learn more: First Grade Circle

15. Talk through a paper cup phone

Two green paper cups connected at the bottoms by long pink string (First Grade Science Experiments)

This classic experiment will help your 1st grade science class understand that sound travels in waves, through the air, and across other objects. Watching their faces light up when they hear whispers in their cups will make your day!

Learn more: There’s Just One Mommy

16. Make a bubble snake

A little boy is seen blowing out a long stream of bubbles that are all attached (first grade science experiments)

You’ll need to plan this experiment for a day with nice weather since it is best suited to outdoors. You will need an empty water bottle, a washcloth, a rubber band, a small bowl or plate, food coloring, scissors or box cutters, distilled water, dish soap, and Karo syrup or glycerin. There’s a lot of prep, but the end result is definitely worth it!

Learn more: Hand 2 Mind

17. Learn why we have night and day

Paper plate divided in half, with one showing a night sky and owl, the other showing a blue sky and sun

The Earth’s daily rotation gives us days and nights. This simple demo helps kids understand that. They draw a day scene and a night scene on a paper plate, then cover it with half of another plate that can be moved. This is an art project and 1st grade science experiment all rolled into one.

Learn more: Universe Awareness

18. Float food coloring on milk

Glass of milk with blue, red, and orange food coloring floating on the surface (First Grade Science Experiments)

Learn about surface tension by dropping food coloring onto different types of milk (whole, skim, cream, etc.). Then use dish soap to break down the fats and surface tension, and watch the colors dance!

Learn more: STEAMsational/Surface Tension

19. Drop water onto a penny

Penny with a drop of water on it dripped from a pipette

Continue your exploration of surface tension by adding water drop-by-drop to a penny. The surface tension will allow you to add far more water than you might think.

Learn more: Science Buddies/Surface Tension

20. Turn a plastic bag into a greenhouse

House made of green paper, with zip top plastic bag containing paper towel and sprouting seeds (First Grade Science Experiments)

Turn your 1st grade science class into gardeners! Use a damp paper towel in a plastic bag to allow them to see a seed sprouting and growing roots.

Learn more: Lessons 4 Little Ones/Greenhouse Bag

21. Will it sink or swim?

Set up a tank of water and then have your students test different objects to see if they will sink or float. Have them make their predictions before running the experiment.

22. See how shadows change throughout the day

First grade science students measuring the shadows on a sunny day on the playground

Start in the morning: Have kids stand in one spot on the playground while a partner traces their shadow with sidewalk chalk. Ask them what they think will happen when they stand in the same spot during the afternoon, then head back outside after lunch to find out.

Learn more: The First Grade Roundup/Shadows

23. Blow up a balloon using yeast

Young student pouring yeast through a funnel into a plastic bottle

This is similar to the classic lemon juice and baking soda experiment many kids do at some point, but it’s better for younger kids since you don’t have to worry about them splashing the juice in their eyes. Kids will be just as astonished at the results as the yeast eats the sugar and produces carbon dioxide gas!

Learn more: The STEM Laboratory

24. Push on air

A piece of paper says Pushing On Air. It has a barrell, plunger, syringe, etc. on it (first grade science experiments)

Teach your students about air compression and air pressure using a barrel, plunger, syringe, and flexible tube. Kids will definitely get a kick out of air wrestling and popping off their plungers using air pressure.

Learn more: First Grade Adventurers

25. Test your reaction time

Blue ruler dropping into student's hand

Do your students have lightning-quick reflexes? Find out with this easy experiment. One student holds a ruler vertically, while another places their hand just beneath and waits. When the first student drops the ruler, the second catches it as quickly as possible, seeing how many inches passed through their fingers first.

Learn more: Science Sparks

26. Discover how plants drink water

Three glasses of water dyed different colors with a celery stalk in each (First Grade Science Experiments)

Capillary action is the name of the game, and your 1st grade science kiddos will be amazed at the results. Place celery stalks in cups of colored water, and watch as the leaves change color!

Learn more: Lessons 4 Little Ones/Capillary Action

27. Make a salt volcano

Glass jar filled with water and floating yellow oil

Your firsties are too young to remember the lava lamp craze, but this science project will give them a taste of it as they learn about liquid density.

Learn more: What Do We Do All Day?

28. Learn the scientific method with candy

Worksheet labeled Will It Melt? with dish of various candies and a red crayon (First Grade Science Experiments)

See the scientific method in action as kids hypothesize what will happen to various types of candy in the hot sun. Observe, record, and analyze your results to see if their predictions were correct.

Learn more: Playdough to Plato

29. Build a bird feeder

Platform-style bird feeder built from colorful wood craft sticks and filled with mixed seed (First Grade Science Experiments)

Set young engineers loose with wood craft sticks, glue, and string to create a bird feeder. Then research the best seeds to fill them with, and hang them outside your classroom window to draw in some feathered friends.

Learn more: Mombrite

30. Observe the birds at your feeder

Bar graph showing the number of visits from sparrow, blue jay, starling, and crow

Once your feeder is in place, teach kids to identify common birds and keep track of their visits. Report their findings to one of Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Citizen Science projects to let kids be part of real-life research.

Learn more: Science Buddies/Bird Feeders

31. Look into mirrors to discover symmetry

Young student's hand holding a mirror on a piece of paper with the letters A I U, showing symmetry (First Grade Science Experiments)

By now, 1st grade science students may have noticed that mirrors reflect objects backward. Ask them to write the alphabet in capital letters, then hold it up to the mirror. Which letters are the same when they’re reflected? Use those findings to talk about symmetry.

Learn more: Buggy and Buddy/Mirror Symmetry

32. Create a super-simple circuit

A child's hands are shown holding large batteries, tin foil, and a small light.

This is the perfect way to introduce the concept of electricity to young students since the materials and steps are minimal. You will need a D battery, tinfoil, electrical tape, and a light bulb from a flashlight.

Learn more: What Do We Do All Day?

33. “Bend” a pencil using light refraction

Mason jar of water with a pencil in it, viewed from the side

Tell your students you’re going to bend a pencil without touching it. Drop it into a glass of water and have them look at it from the side. Light refraction makes it appear to be in two pieces!

Learn more: STEAMsational/Refraction

34. Use colorful beads to learn about camouflage

Printed picture of a wildflower meadow with colored beads laid on top

Animal camouflage is an important way for prey to protect itself from predators. To learn how effective it can be, place matching colored beads on top of a photo of wildflowers and see how long it takes students to find them all.

Learn more: The First Grader Roundup/Animal Adaptations

35. Roll marbles to explore momentum

A ruler propped on one side on a flat book, with a marble rolling down it toward a folded index card (First Grade Science Experiments)

Momentum is “mass in motion,” but what does that really mean? Find out by rolling marbles of different sizes down rulers placed at various slopes.

Learn more: Frugal Fun 4 Boys and Girls

36. Dunk eggs to understand dental health

A series of plastic cups filled with varieties of soda, juice, and other liquids, with an egg in each

Grown-ups are always telling kids sugary drinks are bad for their teeth, so try this experiment to put your money where your mouth is! Eggshells are a good substitute for teeth since they’re both made of calcium. Leave eggs in different kinds of beverages to see which ones do the most damage to the shells.

Learn more: First Grade Funtastic

37. Experiment with apples and oxidation

Four jars with apple slice in each, filled with air, water, vinegar, and oil, with two magnifying glasses

Apples turn brown when they’re cut open due to oxidation. Is there any way to prevent that from happening? This experiment aims to find out. (Explore more apple activities here.)

Learn more: Camping Teacher

38. Create an avalanche

Blue tray covered in flour and small pebbles (First Grade Science Experiments)

Learn about the destructive power of an avalanche in a safe way with this experiment. All you need is flour, cornmeal, pebbles, and a plastic tray.

Learn more: A Dab of Glue Will Do

39. Melt ice cubes to make new colors

Plastic containers holding colored ice cubes floating in water of different colors

Color mixing is one of those incredibly cool activities that kids will want to try again and again. Make ice cubes using primary colors, then let them melt together to see what new colors you can create.

Learn more: Gift of Curiosity/Color Mixing With Colored Ice Cubes

40. Expose a sponge fish to pollution

A series of images showing fish-shaped sponges in containers filled with oil, dirt, etc.

It’s never too early to start learning about how important it is to protect the Earth. Use sponge “fish” to see how polluted water affects the wildlife living in it.

Learn more: The Owl Teacher

41. Dig in the dirt with claws

Student's hand wearing pink glove with plastic spoons attached to fingers, digging in dirt

Animal adaptations allow creatures to live in just about every environment on Earth. Learn how claws help some animals survive and thrive by gluing plastic spoons to a glove.

Learn more: The First Grade Roundup/Claw Glove

42. Observe plant transpiration

Tree branch with leaves covered with an air-tight plastic bag (First Grade Science Experiments)

Many plants take in more water than they need. What happens to the rest? Wrap a plastic bag around a living tree branch to see transpiration in action.

Learn more: Teach Beside Me

43. Create a weather vane

A weathervane is made from a pink container with a pencil with a sewing needle in the eraser coming out of it. A straw with a piece of paper are attached to the top horizontally (first grade science experiments)

This experiment seeks to answer the questions of how wind is created and which direction it comes from. You will need a lot of materials to bring this experiment to life so be sure to give yourself plenty of prep time.

Learn more: Rookie Parenting

44. Fly a paper airplane

Kid absolutely love creating and flying paper airplanes, so this experiment is sure to be a hit. Have your students create different-style planes and then experiment with thrust and lift to see which fly the farthest, highest, etc.

45. Weigh items with a homemade balance scale

Hands are shown punching holes into small plastic cups (first grade science experiments)

Make a simple balance scale with a coat hanger, yarn, and some plastic cups. Have students gather items from around the classroom, make predictions about which will be heavier, then test their hypothesis.

Learn more: Wikihow

If you love 1st grade science, be sure to check out these 25 First Grade STEM Challenges.

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