Vernier Science Education - June  2024


Forums / Elementary Science / Conducting Experiments with Little Resources

Elementary Science

Conducting Experiments with Little Resources

Author Post
Ashley Miller Ashley Miller 210 Points

Schools with little funding often lack the science resources other well-funded schools have. What kinds of experiments can be done with everyday materials or lower-cost materials that are still fun and engaging for students?

Ingrid Wood Ingrid Wood 2603 Points

Hi Ashley!

     There are alot of experiments that can be done with everyday materials. Some experiments that come to mind is hypercooling, rainbow glass, self inflating balloon, and tornado in a bottle.

Leah Whiten Leah Whiten 1058 Points

Hi Ashley Miller,

The best experiment that I have seen for science for little ones has been the water bottle tornadoes, Pringle Can rain maker, Sand box Archaelogy exhibit and planting flowers in bottle to show recycling.

Patricia Ten Hoeve Patricia Ten Hoeve 80 Points

Hi Ashley, 

I have found many good ideas for cheap science experiments on Pinterest including different slime recipes, shaving cream clouds, solar ovens, and a tornado in a jar. 

There are also lots of cheap ways to get supplies such as going to a dollar store, second-hand store, or a local recycling center. It is also good to purchase items that can be used multiple times when you have a tight budget and to buy items in bulk as that can be cheaper too. Another good way to make your money go farther is to see if another teacher in your building is going to be needing some of the same materials, then there is a possibility of sharing the materials needed or splitting the cost. 


Mary Bigelow Mary Bigelow 10275 Points

Hi Ashley -- You dont' really need a lot of expensive equipment to engage students in science investigations. There's a lot you can do with hand lenses (studying rocks, insects, leaves, etc.), toy cars and ramps (motion, friction), string for pendulums, blocks, paper or plastic cups to grow seeds, a hand-made journal for writing, modeling clay. Take a look at the articles in Science and Children, and you'll see many specific activities that use materials you may already have or that you can find in a dollar store if your school can't purchase them. 

The Frugal Science Teacher is an NSTA publication with selected articles from Science and Children that use simple materials. I'd recommend it. See also the blog No budget or low budget science

Mary B.

Peggy Ashbrook Margaret Ashbrook 10973 Points

Hi Ashley,  I agree with Mary that spending money on a simple handlens is a great way to expand children's science investigations by expanding what they can observe. My favorite is a 'dual lens' magnifier with both a 3x lens and a smaller diameter 6x lens. Consider how any materials you collect or purchase can be used in more than one investigation. Those milk cartons from the lunch room can be washed and sanitized before being used as building material for engineering activities or containers for growing plants.

You can read a sample chapter of The Frugal Science Teacher, PreK-5 here.


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