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Life Science Projects for the Spring!

Spring is a great time of year to take your students outside for some life science observations! All around us, buds are forming, flowers are beginning to bloom, vegetable gardens are being planted, and the trees are exploding into green. Take advantage.

 a frog peeking out of a pond with a butterfly sitting on its nose.

If you are able, getting your kids outside to experience life science in its natural habitat is a terrific experience. Not every classroom is able to do this, but those that can have an opportunity to help kids connect their own lives to the natural world around them. Even 15 minutes of quiet observation can have an impact.

Here are a few things to try while outside with students.

  1. Have everyone stand in place and shut their eyes. After a minute of quiet, everyone can open their eyes and discuss these questions:
    • What did you hear?
    • Were these sounds manmade or from nature? How can you tell?
    • Where did the sounds come from?
    • Did you hear any sounds you didn't recognize?
  2. Have everyone choose one natural thing to examine. This could be a tree, a rock, a puddle, an insect—there are lots of choices! Have them draw their observations. How much detail can they include in their drawing?
  3. Bird nest hunt! Look up in the branches of trees and search for clumps of leaves, twigs, and grasses. Do you see birds going to and from the nest? Are they carrying anything in their beaks? That could be food for babies in the nest! What kinds of birds can you observe? Do they make any sound?

Being in nature has shown to have a postive effect on health, both physical and mental, and many behavior issues lessen when kids are given an opportunity to be outside in the fresh air. However, it can be a disruptive activity to do with a class full of kids! For best outcomes, before anyone leaves the classroom, explain the activities they will be doing and the expectations you have about behavior.

Check out this article from We Are Teachers for more fun, educational outdoor activities!

 Try this life science activity, either in our out of the classroom! It's easy to see living animals and plants, but what about microbes? Microbes have been around far longer than animals or plants--they are the oldest type of life we know. And they are everywhere! There are more microbes on a person's hand than there are people in the world!

But...they're invisible, so we usually can't see them. However, there are ways to collect enough microbes in one place so you get a glimpse. Click the icon below and try this experiment from Microbes: Discover an Unseen World and have fun!

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