Carolina Biological OSE - December 2023


Forums / Elementary Science / Ideas for 2nd Grade science lessons

Elementary Science

Ideas for 2nd Grade science lessons

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Karen Mahoney Karen Mahoney 40 Points

Hi all! I am a student teacher in a 2nd grade classroom. I need to develop 3 lessons to explore a second grade curriculum topic. The existing curriculum already includes extensive units on trees, rocks and magnets. I do not want to duplicate the existing program so I am looking for other areas to explore in 2nd grade. I tend to gravitate towards the physical sciences, but I am open to other interesting hands-on, inquiry based projects. Any ideas? --Karen

Brittany Carpenter Brittany Carpenter 1875 Points

I think states of matter is always fun at this age. There are so many topics to explore within a states of matter unit that it's easy to expand to multiple lessons if needed. For instance, you could start by introducing the different states of matter, their properties, and examples of each. You could then go into how some things (ex. water) can go into all 3 states of matter. There are lots of hands on activities that students can do to explore the various states. Here is a blogpost I found with a lot of interesting ideas:

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

Here is a quick lesson geared toward physical science and engineering. Building Bridges A common lesson in science is the building of bridges to study a unit on forces and gravity. Equipment: Spaghetti, string, papercup, paperclip, 50-60 pennies (other items will work such as marbles, etc.) Place the piece of spaghetti between two tables and hang a piece of string at its center. At the end of the string attach a paperclip. Hook a paper cup onto the paperclip and count the number of pennies that can be supported by the spaghetti “bridge" until it breaks. Engineering hint – vary the number of pieces of spaghetti or the length of the spaghetti and keep a table or graph of results. Discuss with the class which engineering design works best.

Liang Guo Liang Guo 1245 Points

Hi there, I have observed a 2nd grade science class about food chain, and I think it is a good idea! Also the three type of matter is attracting too. Make students to pretend to be the atoms in matter and act how them move.

Sarah Benton Feitlinger Sarah Benton 1775 Points

Hi Karen- I teach units on cycles in 2nd grade. One is the water cycle, which is important and the kids enjoy it. I do a water cycle in a zip-loc bag demo with them where we put a bit of water in a small zip-loc and tape it to the window. It creates a mini water cycle they can observe. Here is something similar I found online: You can also play the Incredible Journey of a Water Cycle game. I picked it up from work years ago at a Nature Camp. It is a project wet activity that I adjust down to 2nd grade. I am attaching a water cycle activities .pdf that has this water cycle game in it- I downloaded this so long ago, I am not sure of the source. Also a water cycle workbook that has several other investigations/activities. Again, I am not sure of the source. I hope that you find some of this useful. Good luck! Sarah Benton Feitlinger


Nina Zhen Nina Zhen 1905 Points

I was curious about this water cycle in a zip-loc bag experiment and looked it up. I found this video that also gave a great demonstration of this lesson I liked how he suggested to put food coloring in the water, so students could hypothesize if the precipitation is a certain color. I think it helps students understand what clouds and rain are made of.

Julie Castaneda Julie Castaneda 1930 Points

Hello all! I was looking through the forums and came upon this conversation and am so glad I did! I am getting a lot of great ideas of how to introduce science content through hands on lessons in my future classrooms and am starting to implement the ideas in the outdoor recess time of my placement classroom. I thank you all for sharing all this input and all the links! They were also fun to try even as and adult! Julie Castaneda

Hi I am currently a student teacher and as part of one of our classes my classmates and I came up with a very fun and interesting activity to teach about the spread of diseases. We gave our students a small cup with milk and included one cup with a spoon full of cornstarch. then, we had all our students share their milk with at least two other people from their classroom. After they shared and interacted with each other we announced that a major disease had just been spread and had one of us going around to check each of their cups to see who had been infected by the cornstarch cup. It was easy to identify who had been infected since we tested each cup with a drop of iodine and their cups would turn purple and not brown like the others. It was very engaging and kept them all very entertained. Hope this helps definitely worked for us and I cant wait to try it in my own classroom.

Carrie LaFay Carrie LaFay 100 Points

This reminds me of a lesson that I used when I was a second grade teacher. We taught students about how germs spread and how the spread could be prevented. I would spray each student's hands with cooking oil and then sprinkle on some glitter, which represented the germs that were being spread. The class was then divided into four groups. One group could rinse their hands for 15 seconds under water (no scrubbing). Another group could rinse under water while scrubbing for 15 seconds. A third group of students could rub soap on their hands and then rinse under the water (no scrubbing). And a fourth group could used soap and scrub for 15 seconds. It was amazing to see the difference that appropriate scrubbing with soap, even if it was only 15 seconds, could make such a big difference!

Teresa Mendoza Teresa Mendoza 1530 Points

In our second grade classroom we are currently exploring different types of energy. Each day we learn about a different energy (light energy, sound energy, heat energy). With every type of energy there is a small activity/projects we do to allow students to learn more about the energy. For example when we learned about light energy we had students focus on an object with the lights on and then turned off the lights and told the students to focus on the same object. There is something about turning off the lights and being in a dark classroom that get all the students excited. For sound energy we tell the students to close their eyes and we talk from different places of the room and the students have to guess where the sound is coming from. Depending where the students are sitting and where the sound is coming from they are able to see how sound travels.

Sarah Kim Sarah Kim 1415 Points

I really like lessons about food chains! We had our students draw out a food chain, and then create their own on paper chains. We had arrows that showed the transfer of energy (this part was surprisingly hard to teach).

Ricardo Garcia Ricardo Garcia 1405 Points

Hello everyone. I just wanted to share a good website for lesson plans and activities already constructed and available to teachers, including unit plans. Just google teachers pay teachers and for a fee you can purchase lesson plans from $1.00 up to $4.00. Some of them are free. Just thought I share

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