The term “science” is one that encompasses a broad world of phenomena and events such as weather, the solar system, animal and plant life and more. And while students will surely explore these niche aspects of science as they mature in the K-12 school system, at the elementary level it’s the job of the teacher to essentially introduce science and some of its categories to the student. This is best done through visual, hands-on activities that allow students to observe and analyze a particular phenomenon, while at the same time getting some entertainment out of it.

One key focus at the elementary level is teaching students the scientific method. That is problem, hypothesis, experiment, evaluation, and conclusion. Specifically, the scientific method is an organized way to observe specific phenomena and learn by experimenting with it. There are a variety of experiments teachers carry out with their students in the classroom, ranging from simple to more advanced. Elementary school teachers, however, lean more toward simple experiments. Common examples of science experiments include determining objects that either sink or float, analyzing static electricity, magnetism, light, and sound, etc.

Teachers follow each step of the scientific method with experiments and get students to be as involved as possible with helping to formulate a hypothesis and help to solve the problem or question at hand. The more involved students are in the process, the more likely they are to retain the information following the experiment. Teachers usually have the students write out and document the steps of the scientific method as the project progresses. This encourages students to formulate their own personal opinions and come to their own conclusions.

One way to get students more involved and enthusiastic about science is to host a classroom science fair where each student is tasked with creating a science project to demonstrate some sort of scientific phenomenon (teachers should approve all projects before the student gets to work).
Teachers should encourage parents to help their children with these projects. On the day of the science fair, there should be guest judges to rate each project. While the judges are there, each student should have an opportunity to present his/her project to the class and explain what their project demonstrates.

There’s plenty of science to be seen in nature and kids like being outdoors, so why not demonstrate science in the natural world? For instance, students/classes should go on field trips to a nature center, bird sanctuary, natural zoos, etc. Learning about science in nature can also extend to the classroom. Teachers keep tadpoles in the classroom and allow students to observe them transforming into frogs. The same logic can be applied to caterpillars and butterflies. Setting up a terrarium with various types of plant life or planting seeds and observing them grow over time are activities that teachers can use to help students develop a natural interest in science.