Welcome kids back to school with a super science exploration kick off activity. Make easy inexpensive individual nature detective and science investigator kits for homeschool and elementary or middle school students. Here’s a ‘recipe’ for back-to-school fun.
You will need one each per student:
large gallon size zipper bag or cheap carry-all bag to store supplies
plastic magnifying glass (available in bulk at Great Party, Party America or Oriental Trading)
pocket folder ($.05 -$.15 each from Wal-Mart, Meijer, Costco, Sam’s Club and most all mass merchandisers)
plastic disposable gloves (choose latex free; give each student one pair)
tweezers or cotton swabs (Ideally both would be useful, but cotton swabs make a suitable substitute if tweezers are too expensive. Tweezers can be plastic.
several snack size or smaller Zip-loc bags
several sandwich size Zip-loc
sheet of label stickers
roll of invisible Scotch tape
several pieces of yarn or string
box of crayons ($.25 at most mass merchandisers in back-to-school sales)
measuring tape (see article here for printable measuring tools)
How to Use Science Detective Kits:
Set out supplies in stations and assign students to take a certain amount of each. The provides good experience in counting, sorting and organizing.
Students should label their supplies and Investigator’s Notebook with Investigator (name)____________ or Detective (name)____________.
Each bag will be labeled Exhibit A, B, C or Evidence. The label should include the name of the evidence and date it was collected. For example: ‘beetle exoskeleton 9-3-2010″.
Take students on nature investigation hunts around your neighborhood or school playground. Look for evidence for your nature investigation. You might assign students what to look for, based on what grows wild in your area. Students should not collect living specimens, but you may want to bring a bug box to house a living critter for a brief time so that students can examine. Suggestions include: bug carcasses, exoskeletons, fallen leaves, feathers, seed pods, rocks, bits of animal fur.
Students may like to draw what they have collected or discovered in their nature hunt. If students see a living creature or a habitat in use (wasp’s nest, rabbit hole, ant hill) they may draw what they have seen to record it.
In class, students might create a natural history museum displaying what they have found. Students may act as young docent guides, explaining to visitors what they have found. This makes a superb activity for parent-teacher conferences, which often come so early in the school year that teachers haven’t really had to collect very many student projects. For more lesson plans, visit me at Free Lesson Plans 4U and DIY Homeschool