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Getting started: Sample starting activities

K-2 students are still learning how to observe. They will need many opportunities to make accurate observations and to communicate those observations through writing, drawing and verbalizations. We recommend beginning with a series of lessons that build upon one another and can form the foundations necessary for effective student investigations throughout the year:

  • Exploring liquids is an activity in which students use their senses to investigate and observe three liquids. They see, hear, touch, smell, and taste to collect data and to ask and answer questions. This lesson can be used early in the school year to introduce how scientists work. Students share knowledge, observe, draw and record, explain their reasoning, and ask additional questions. The next two lessons build on the foundation laid by this opening activity.

  • Exploring how liquids behave builds on the previous lesson. Students are given bottles containing liquids and observe how the liquids behave when the bottles are turned or shaken. Students observe how two of the liquids behave when they are mixed within a bottle.

  • Traveling through different liquids builds on the previous lesson. Students are given bottles containing liquids and one or more objects. Students observe how the liquids and objects behave when the bottles are turned or shaken.

As students generate questions in each of the lessons above, you have the opportunity to discuss those questions with your students and consider ways to investigate them. This further models how scientists work.

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