The best way to teach kids about the environment is definitely not by forcing them to read boring textbooks and complete dreaded tests. Instead, environmental science should be made fun and exciting for them, which is why having them complete environmental science experiments is the best method of getting them to learn about the environment. The following experiments, ranging from making water bend to measuring snow, are bound to be just as educational as they are fun.
Make a thermometer
Making a thermometer is easy! To do this, you will need to fill a plastic bottle a quarter of the way with equal amounts of rubbing alcohol and water. Then add red dye to the bottle so that it looks more like a real thermometer. Now, insert a straw into the bottle so that it reaches the alcohol/water mixture. Place clay around the top of the straw where the bottle opening is to keep it in place, but remember to leave the straw opening at the top uncovered. The red liquid should rise up and down the straw depending on the temperature.
Measuring snow is a great way to learn about density, weather and measurements. Check your local weather to see when the next snow day is so you can plan ahead. When enough snow has fallen, fill a plastic container with it and use a ruler to measure how much is in the container. Then let the snow melt and measure how much water there is. Repeat this experiment during different snow days since snow density changes, which will change how much water there is to measure.
Make it rain
Instead of just measuring the weather, how about getting your students to actually make it? That’s precisely what they can do with nothing more than a glass jar, plate, hot water and ice cubes. First, pour a couple of inches of very hot water into the glass jar. Let it sit for a bit and then put a plate on top of the jar. Put the ice cubes on top of the plate. As the warm air in the jar rises, it condenses with the cold plate to form water droplets, which will then begin falling in the jar just like rain.
For a neat little “magic” trick, rub a comb against a piece of fabric, such as wool or nylon, to create an electrical charge. Then take your students to a running faucet and have them hold the comb close to the water (without actually touching it). The negative charges of the comb should attract the positive charges of the water, making the water bend towards the comb.
Learning about science and the environment can be a lot of fun since it opens up so many possibilities for experimentation and hands-on learning. The above examples show how with some very simple household objects you can teach your students a whole lot about the environment, from how to measure the temperature to how electricity can bend water.