First-Grade Science Projects

Ideas include ant behavior and rubbery chicken bones

1st grade is a great time to explore how things work.
1st grade is a great time to explore how things work and to introduce the scientific method into science fair projects. Ryan McVay, Getty Images

First grade is a great time to introduce students to the scientific method, which involves looking at the world around you, coming up with an explanation for what you observe, testing your hypothesis to see if it could be valid, and then either accepting or rejecting it. Even at such an early grade level, students can begin to learn concepts related to this method. 

Harness Their Curiosity

Young children are innately curious about the world around them, and introducing them to the scientific method helps them begin to explore what they see, hear, taste, and feel in a systematic way.

First-grade projects should be interesting to the student and mostly exploratory in nature. At this age, a teacher or parent needs to help plan the project and offer guidance on a report or poster. Some students may want to make models or perform demonstrations that illustrate scientific concepts. First-grade science offers a wonderful opportunity to explore how things work.

Project Ideas

Start your first-graders on the road to exploring science fair project ideas with some simple questions that might spark their interest, including:

  • What type of food attracts the most flies (or ants)? What do these foods have in common?
  • What happens if you put a chicken bone or an egg in vinegar for a day or a week? Why do you think it happens? In this experiment, students use vinegar to remove the calcium in chicken bones to make them rubbery.
  • Do all students in the class have the same size hands and feet? Trace outlines of hands and feet and compare them. Do taller students have larger hands and feet or does height not seem to matter?

    You can also create a fun science project to determine whether mascaras are really waterproof. Simply put some mascara on a sheet of paper and rinse it with water. Ask students to explain what happens. Do eight-hour lipsticks really keep their color that long? You may need to review the concept of time with students if they have forgotten or are unfamiliar with hours, minutes, and seconds.

    Other Project Ideas

    Spark further interest by suggesting—or assigning—other science fair projects. Asking questions related to each project is the best way to elicit a response from young students. Project-related questions you can ask include:

    • Do clothes take the same length of time to dry if you add a dryer sheet or fabric softener to the load?
    • Do all types of bread grow the same types of mold?
    • Do frozen candles burn at the same rate as candles that were stored at room temperature?

    All of these questions give you the opportunity to review—or teach—concepts that are important for first-graders. For example, explain to students that room temperature is a range of temperatures that denotes comfortable habitation for people.

    Talk About Temperature

    An easy way to demonstrate this idea is to turn up or down the temperature-control gage in the classroom. Ask students what happens when you turn the temperature control up or down.

    Some other fun projects include letting students find out if raw eggs and hard-boiled eggs spin the same length of time/number of times, if light affects how fast foods spoil, and if you can tell from today's clouds what tomorrow's weather will be. This is a great opportunity to take students outside, and as they peer at the sky, discuss the difference in outside temperature compared to inside.

    Format
    mla apa chicago
    Your Citation
    Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "First-Grade Science Projects." ThoughtCo, Jan. 4, 2018, thoughtco.com/1st-grade-science-fair-projects-609024. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2018, January 4). First-Grade Science Projects. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/1st-grade-science-fair-projects-609024 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "First-Grade Science Projects." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/1st-grade-science-fair-projects-609024 (accessed January 16, 2018).