The days are getting longer and warmer, and the students are getting more distracted. Ah! It must be close to summer break! Are you still trying to hold their attention? Here are some summer-themed activities for middle school science.
Summer themed science activities
Embrace the summer but don’t let go of the science!
- Hands on Activities: Solar power S’Mores maker – Great STEM activity, easily completed with distance learning, and easily adaptable. Try hotdogs!
- Treats for all: Study phase changes with everyone’s favorite ice cream lab!
- Virtual Field Trips: Real field trips are tricky this year but there are infinite places you can take your students virtually! Select a location, find some websites and videos about it, and create a webquest.
- Have a blast: Make bottle rockets.
- Hurricane tracking – summer weather is super fun for students. Have them learn how thunderstorms form or track historic hurricanes like this Hurricane Laura.
- Thermodynamics: Insulation lab – Keep the ice cube, or ice cream, from melting in the sun. When I do this, I have students mass their ice cube before and after solar exposure and calculate percent loss. I also have them “purchase” insulating materials from a “budget” – maybe they’re allowed to “spend” $1.00 and I charge 50 cents per 12″ square of aluminum foil or handful of cotton balls.
- Worksheets galore: What are cicadas? How do air conditioners work? How does insect repellent work? What is heat index? What is heat stroke?
- Curricular movies: GATACA, Osmosis Jones, Ice Age, Wrinkle in Time, October Sky. Make a viewing guide if you want, or let students create their own viewing guide. I like to play “What’s wrong with this science?” when we’re watching movies like San Andreas, Dante’s Peak. or The Day after Tomorrow. Let students watch the movie and then find out how much of the “science” in the movie is real and how much is dramatized.
- Documentaries: An episode of Mythbusters or How Its Made is fun and low commitment. Have students write interview questions for the people in the episode or write a Tweet to summarize.
- Summer themed worksheets. Even if you’re still teaching mitosis or waves, you can spice it up with activities that are summer themed. Use summer themed pictures for your pixel art.
- Decorate: Hang a few summer posters around. Use summer themed banners for your Google forms and Google Classroom.
How do you bring summer into your classroom?