As a first grade teacher, it’s important to find ways to engage your students so they can develop important skills. One skill that students can always use a bit more of is critical thinking. An simple way to integrate critical thinking skills into your classroom is through hands-on first grade science projects and experiments.
Why Use First Grade Science Projects for Critical Thinking Skills?
Critical thinking is really about asking questions, making observations, and testing hypotheses. Because these are the main focuses of critical thinking, science is the perfect subject to integrate to boost critical thinking skills. Using first grade science projects helps students employ all of these facets of critical thinking. However, it can be hard to come up with an amazing science fair project. Here are four first grade science projects your students can use.
- Planting Seeds
- Building Towers
- Exploring Magnets
- Measuring and Comparing
Use Planting Seeds for a First Grade Science Project
One of the simplest experiments you can do with students is plant seeds. With these first grade science projects, students can observe the process of how plants grow and think critically about what affects the growth of each seed. Some ways you can make these observations more rigorous is to have students plant the same seeds in different types of soil, expose them to different amounts of sunlight, and water them at different intervals. During this process, your students can observe and describe which conditions create the best environment for plant growth.
Build Critical Thinking by Building Towers
The laws of gravity are never going to change. However, there are ways we can defy gravity. One way to do this is by using physics. When students use building towers as first grade science fair projects, they will need to consider what would make the tower the strongest. If you decide to use this first grade science project, I recommend giving students a variety of materials such as cardboard tubes, wooden blocks, and plastic cups. Then, I challenge them to build the tallest tower. This critical thinking activity asks students to consider the stability of their design. Plus, it allows them to fail (which you should celebrate) and go back and try again.
Explore Magnets with First Grade Science Projects
Critical thinking is all about exploring and testing out new ideas. Magnets are great for exploring properties of objects and how they interact with others. I like to give my students a variety of objects to see which ones are attracted to magnets. Then, I have them come up with their own hypotheses about other magnetic magnets. This gives them the chance to hypothesize, observe, question, and document which covers all aspects of critical thinking.
Measuring and Comparing
When you have students measure and compare different objects with unconventional or non-standard units, it can be a game changer. I like to have my students measure a variety of objects using things like their hands, pencils, paper clips, or anything else that has a specific length. By using non-standard measuring tools for first grade science projects, students understand the concept of measurement more. Plus, it helps encourage critical thinking not only about size, but also about quantity. To integrate science into math, you can have your first grade students measure in their centers.
First grade science projects are out there, and you can find some great ideas on my Instagram! These are just four simple first grade science projects I like to use in my classroom because they are stinkin’ simple and effective! By using these projects in your classroom, your students will boost their critical thinking skills all while having a good time. You can always find key activities that are hands-on, interactive, and encourage students to ask questions and think creatively with science projects!
Until Next Time…
Keep Being Educational Rock Stars!