As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents across the country have been feeling the pressure more than ever to play a more active role in their children’s education. After so much time out of school and hours of home-schooling, you may be looking for ways to bring the science experiments from the classroom into your own living room!
Relevance to the real world– they show how science happens around us at all times and how we can engage with it outside a science lab or classroom.
Helpful for visual learners– children who might be stronger visual learners can grasp concepts much more easily once they visibly see it in action.
Creates variety in teaching– the practical activities that doing an experiment involves means that your child will be more active in their own learning.
Practising team working skills– your child may be creating the experiment with you and their siblings or friends which will require them to practise their interpersonal skills.
It’s fun!– science experiments can seem like magic and be very exciting. Your child might enjoy it so much that they’ll be the ones pushing you to do them!
Key stage 2 science students are asked to ‘work scientifically’ to practise practical scientific methods, processes and skills. Allow your child to take an active role in the setting up of the experiments and make sure they understand what it is they are hoping to investigate.
When carrying out the experiments encourage your child to think critically by having conversations about the things they are seeing (discuss differences, similarities and changes related to the scientific ideas you are exploring). This will prompt them to ask relevant questions and attempt to describe their findings. You could even suggest that they write down the results as this will allow them to become more comfortable with written explanations.
Important: with all of the experiments described here please make sure you are doing it with your child or there is adult supervision present.
Lesson: Notice how magnetic forces can act at a distance and how they attract or repel each other. Explore the strength of different magnets, if using a few magnets.
Blocks or books
Tie a paperclip to a piece of string. Then tie the other end of the string to the stick.
Lift the stick so the paperclips are hanging from it. Use this opportunity to discuss the effects of earth’s gravity on the paperclips! No matter how you tilt the stick, the paperclips are always pulled towards the earth by gravity.
Place a magnet along a metal ruler.
Rest this ruler between two stacks of blocks or books, with the magnets facing down.
Remove the string (with paperclip attached) from the sticks and tape it to the table directly underneath the suspended magnet.
Slowly lift the paperclip to the magnet until it is suspended and looks as if it is floating in the air underneath. Remove the ruler to see how the paperclips drop down to the ground again. Discuss with your child what they are seeing!
Lesson: Compare the density and solubility of everyday materials.
Oil (e.g., vegetable oil)
Alka-seltzer effervescent antacid tablets
Tall glass or bottle
Fill a glass with 2 inches of water. 2.Add your choice of food colouring.
Fill the rest of the glass with oil and stop at about 1 inch from the top so it doesn’t bubble over. Watch how the water and oil separate.
Drop an antacid tablet into the mixture and observe what happens.
Explore using different types of oil!
Short explanation: When dropped in water, sodium bicarbonate and citric acid combine to form sodium citrate, carbon dioxide and water. As carbon dioxide has a lower density than water, it forms bubbles and floats to the top, taking some dyed water with it. The coloured water sinks back to the bottom once the bubbles burst as they have a higher density than oil.
Lesson: Observe and describe how seeds and bulbs grow into mature plants. Find out and describe how plants need water, light and a suitable temperature to grow and stay healthy!
Drinking glass or jar
Eat an avocado and save the pit! Wash it and once dry, insert 4 toothpicks along the middle of the pit.
Suspend it (broad end down) in a glass and pour water in so it submerges the bottom third of the pit.
Let it grow! Place it somewhere where it will get enough light and occasionally refill the water. You should begin to see roots from 2-6 weeks.
A sprout should grow from the top of the pit. When it reaches about 6 inches, cut it back to encourage root growth. After it grows back, pot it in soil in a 10-inch pot and let it grow!
Lesson: Identify and describe the functions of different parts of flowering plants. Understand the relationship between structure and function. Observe the way that water is transported in plants.
White flowers – white carnations work very well.
Trim an inch off the ends of the flowers. Perhaps cut different lengths on each flower to see how it affects the speed of colour absorption.
Fill the drinking glasses with water.
Add at least 10 drops of food colouring into the water and stir it.
Place a couple of flowers into each glass. Save a couple for dissection.
Get your child to either discuss or write down what they think will happen to each plant in the coloured water!
Use the spare flowers for dissection. Ask your child to name and label all the different parts of the flower and explain to them what purpose each part has.
Observe how the flowers change every day and discuss with your child how it compares to their hypothesis.
Short explanation: The coloured water is absorbed through capillary action, it is transported through the xylem and dispersed throughout the plant from stem to tips of the petals.
## KS2 Chemistry Experiments
Lesson: Understand how some changes are irreversible and result in the formation of new materials. Observe what a chemical change looks like.
Flower petals or body glitter
Sweet almond oil
Scented oil (e.g. lavender oil)
Small glass jar
Bicarbonate of soda
2 large bowls
Mix 3 tablespoons of citric acid and 10 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda in the bowl.
Remove half a cup of the mixture and place it in the other bowl.
Mix in the flower petals or body glitter.
Combine 6 drops of the scented oil with 5 teaspoons of sweet almond oil and 10 drops of food colouring in the small jar.
Slowly pour the oil into the bowl containing the half cup of the mixture base. Mix it together until it's no longer crumbling too much.
Grease the muffin tray with some sweet almond oil.
The mixture is then ready to scoop into the muffin tray. Use the rest of the mixture to make more bath bombs.
Let the mixture set (might take a few days) and then run yourself a bath! They are done!
Short explanation: The effervescence you see when the bath bomb is dissolving in water is the result of a chemical reaction between the sodium bicarbonate and the citric acid. The bubbles are caused by the release of carbon dioxide.
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