55 Fun Third Grade Science Activities Anyone Can Do
Want to see your third grade science students’ eyes light up? Tell them they’re going to do an experiment! These activities are easy enough for any classroom or kitchen, and they’re full of science concepts kids need to learn.
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1. Make glowing flowers
This one will make kids’ eyes pop out of their head! Use highlighters and a blacklight flashlight to reveal the vascular system of flowers.
Learn more: Tamara Horne
2. Flick pennies to learn about inertia
This is one of those science experiments that kind of looks like magic, but it’s really all about the laws of motion. It might take a little practice to get the index card flick just right, but the results are always cool!
Learn more: Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls/Penny Inertia
3. Find your way with a DIY compass
Here’s an old classic that never fails to impress. Magnetize a needle and float it on the water’s surface, and it will always point north.
Learn more: STEAM Powered Family
4. Separate salt and pepper with static electricity
When you mix up salt and pepper, you’d think it would be almost impossible to separate them again. But using a little static electricity and a plastic spoon, it’s surprisingly simple.
Learn more: Science Kiddo
5. See the temperature rise in a chemical reaction
When iron meets oxygen, rust forms. Use vinegar to remove the protective coat from steel wool and watch the temperature rise from the chemical reaction.
Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me/Thermal Reaction
6. Design a candy-delivery machine
Learn about inclined planes with this fun simple-machines project. Kids can get creative and develop any kind of delivery system they like!
Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me/Candy Machine
7. Mix up your own putty slime
Kids adore slime, and it’s actually a terrific way to teach them about polymers. This third grade science experiment plays around with different formulations to create slime with varying properties.
Learn more: Science Buddies/Slime Chemistry
8. Craft fossils from glue
Create clay molds of natural objects, then fill them with school glue to make your own “fossil” casts. This is a great project to try before a trip to the natural history museum.
Learn more: Education.com/Glue Fossils
9. Float an iceberg
Use a balloon to make an iceberg, then float it in a dish of water to learn how much you can see above and below the waterline. Try experimenting with salt water to see how the density changes things.
Learn more: Science Sparks/Icebergs
10. Defy gravity with magnets and paper clips
Magnets are always a hit in the classroom. Use this simple experiment to discover more about gravity and the effects of magnets on metal objects.
Learn more: Buggy and Buddy/Magnet Gravity
11. Take a Play-Doh core sample
Learn about the layers of the Earth by building them out of Play-Doh. Then students can take a core sample with a straw. (Love Play-Doh? Get more learning ideas here.)
Learn more: Line Upon Line Learning
12. Spin a disappearing color wheel
Color a paper disk with the six primary and secondary colors. Then thread a string through the middle and make it spin. The colors will seem to disappear!
Learn more: Crafts Guru on YouTube
13. Crystallize some pretty fall leaves
Every kid loves making crystals. In this third grade science project, learn about supersaturated solutions by crystallizing some colorful fall leaves. Then use them as fall classroom decor!
Learn more: STEAMsational
14. Find a robot’s center of gravity
Print out, cut, and color this free paper robot. Then glue some coins to the back and have your students try to find its center of gravity!
Learn more: Buggy and Buddy/Balancing Robot
15. Find the most waterproof roof
Calling all future engineers! Build a house from LEGO, then experiment to see what type of roof prevents water from leaking inside.
Learn more: Science Sparks/Waterproof Roof
16. Run marble races with pool noodles
Crack open a pool noodle or two and create your own marble racetracks. Experiment with angles, force, and surface materials to find the fastest way to get the marble to the bottom. (Find more fun ways to use pool noodles in the classroom here.)
Learn more: The Techy Teacher
17. Make sun prints to display
You’ll need special sunprint paper for this project, but it’s inexpensive and easy to find. Kids learn about chemical reactions as they use the power of the sun to create unique works of art.
Learn more: Science Buddies/Sunprints
18. Make your own bouncing bubbles
Have your third grade science students put on gloves and watch the bubbles bounce! Then encourage them to experiment with their own bubble solution. Try different soaps, mixing up the ratios to make the strongest bubble possible.
19. Build a better umbrella
Challenge students to engineer the best possible umbrella from various household supplies. Encourage them to plan, draw blueprints, and test their creations, using the scientific method.
Learn more: Raising Lifelong Learners
20. Project the stars on your ceiling
Use the video lesson in the link below to teach third grade science students why stars are only visible at night. Then create a DIY star projector to explore the concept hands-on.
Learn more: Mystery Science
21. Blow through a water whistle
Learn about the science of sound with this easy experiment. Kids will love building their own whistles from straws and a glass of water.
Learn more: My Baba
22. Construct a marshmallow catapult
Fling some sweet treats in the name of science! All you need is an old tissue box, pencils, rubber bands, and a few other supplies to learn about trajectory, air resistance, gravity, and more.
23. Experiment with ice, salt, and water temperature
This simple experiment requires only water, ice, salt, and a thermometer. Your third grade science class can explore how ice and salt affect the temperature, a simple but effective lesson on heat transfer and freezing points.
Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me/Ice, Salt, and Temperature
24. Blow bubbles inside bubbles inside bubbles
If there’s a more fun way to learn about surface tension than bubbles, we haven’t found it yet! Create a soap solution by using dissolved sugar and discover more about elasticity and volume as you blow bubbles inside bubbles inside bubbles …
Learn more: Ronyes Tech
25. Experiment with colors
Play around with colors, mix them together, and then use a little science magic to pull them apart again. This chromatography science project requires only simple supplies like coffee filters and markers.
Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me/Chromatography
26. Understand the science behind bath bombs
Bath bombs certainly make bath time more fun, but what makes them work? Explore chemical reactions and get squeaky clean all at the same time!
Learn more: Learning Hypothesis
27. Use water balloons to explore buoyancy
Fill water balloons with different solutions (oil, salt water, plain water, etc.) and place the balloons in a large bucket of water to see if they sink or float. This is a cool project to do with your third grade science class on the playground on a sunny day.
Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me/Balloon Density
28. Explore static electricity with jumping goop
Your students have probably tried rubbing a balloon on their heads to create static electricity with their hair. This experiment is even cooler to see, as a mix of cornstarch and oil seems to leap off the spoon in front of their eyes!
Learn more: Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls/Static Electricity
29. DIY these natural-dye markers
This is the kind of project that turns STEM into STEAM! Learn about the process of extracting natural dyes and use paper chromatography to make your own DIY markers. Kids can use these markers to create amazing masterpieces!
Learn more: Science Buddies/DIY Markers
30. Investigate the effects of erosion
Compare the effects of “rain” on hills of bare soil vs. those covered with grass. Have your third grade science students predict which they think will stand up to erosion better and then test their hypotheses.
Learn more: Third Grade Thinkers/Erosion
31. Learn how water temperature affects density
Learn more: STEAMsational
32. Dissolve cups to learn about types of change
Teach your third grade science class about the differences between physical and chemical changes with this quick and easy experiment involving Styrofoam cups.
Learn more: The Owl Teacher/Dissolving Cups
33. Grow bacteria from common surfaces
There’s never been a better time to learn about the way germs spread! Take samples from a variety of surfaces, then watch bacteria grow in petri dishes just like grown-up scientists.
Learn more: Happiness is here
34. Take friction for a ride
Your students will love pulling their way across the floor as they discover more about friction and its effects on motion. Build your own “sled” or use a pre-made box or tray.
Learn more: Porter Gaud School on YouTube
35. Step through an index card
With carefully placed scissor cuts on an index card, you can make a loop large enough to fit a (small) human body through! Kids will be wowed as they learn about surface area.
Learn more: Mess for Less
36. Explode colorful paint bags
Experiments with acids and bases are always fun for kids. You’ll want to take this one outside because it’s bound to make a mess. Mix colored chalk with vinegar and watch the colors fly!
Learn more: Growing a Jeweled Rose
37. Turn crayons into rocks
Demonstrate the effects of heat and pressure on crayon shavings to explain the different types of rocks to students. It’s a colorful intro to geology!
Learn more: The Owl Teacher/Crayon Rocks
38. Go green with recycled paper
We talk a lot about recycling and sustainability these days, so show kids how it’s done! Recycle old worksheets or other papers using screen and picture frames.
Learn more: Undercover Classroom
39. Filter sediment from dirty water
Explore sediments and water filtration with this easy third grade science experiment. It’s a fun way to learn more about the water cycle.
Learn more: Teach Beside Me
40. Send secret messages with invisible ink
Kids will love swapping secret messages with their friends in this acid-base science project. Mix the water and baking soda and use a paintbrush to write a message. Then use grape juice to expose the message or hold it up to a heat source.
Learn more: ThoughtCo
41. Teach the scientific method with milk and cookies
This third grade science project is sure to be a slam dunk—cookie dunk, that is! Kids experiment by dipping cookies in milk, using the scientific method to document their findings. Check out our other edible science experiments too.
Learn more: Around the Kampfire
42. Put together a compost bottle
Learn about the decomposition of food and how composting can provide nutrients for growing more food with this easy earth science project.
Learn more: Busy Mommy Media
43. Sprout sweet potatoes
Potatoes grow from tuberous roots, and under the right conditions, new shoots appear from those roots. This third grade science experiment explores the biological science behind cloning.
Learn more: Science Buddies/Sweet Potatoes
44. Stab a straw through a potato
Plastic straws may seem flimsy, but by using the power of air pressure, you can make one strong enough to stab all the way through a potato!
Learn more: KiwiCo
45. Shake up some ice cream
Get kids up and moving when they shake their way to ice cream, made from scratch using ice and plastic zipper bags! Talk about heating and cooling as well as condensation while you enjoy your snack.
Learn more: Mom of 6
46. Conduct an acid rain experiment
Have you ever wondered what happens to plants when they are exposed to acid rain? Acid rain can be produced by burning fossil fuels or certain industrial processes. Your students can find out by conducting a simple acid rain experiment using flowers and vinegar!
Learn more: Little Bins for Little Hands
47. Investigate conduction
To test the conductivity of different materials, your students can use a simple electric circuit. This circuit consists of a battery, a resistor, a switch, and wire that connects these components in a series.
Learn more: Science Projects
48. Construct a Hero’s engine
Sir Isaac Newton came up with rules about how things work in the world. One of these rules is called Newton’s third law. It says that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Do an experiment to learn more about this rule!
Learn more: Education.com
49. Keep apples from turning brown
Have you ever noticed that apples turn brown after being cut or bruised? Is it true that all apples turn brown at the same rate? To find out, your students can conduct a simple experiment using apples and lemon juice.
Learn more: Little Bins for Little Hands
50. Model the effect of air drag
To learn about the role of drag in flight, students can fold paper planes in different styles and observe how these changes affect the distance and flight pattern of the planes. This activity can be turned into a fun competition to see which plane flies the farthest or stays in the air the longest.
51. Predict the distance of lightning
Have you ever noticed that you see lightning before you hear thunder? That’s because light travels faster than sound. The next time there’s a thunderstorm, use a stopwatch and a calculator to see how long after your students see lightning they will hear thunder.
Learn more: We Have Kids
52. Inquire about surface tension
Did you know that you can fit more water drops on a penny than you might think? This simple experiment is a fun and easy way to learn about the surface tension of water. All you need is a penny and some water.
Learn more: Little Bins for Little Hands
53. Examine pine cones opening and closing
Pine cones can sense changes in humidity and adjust their scales in response. Gather several pine cones, glass containers, tweezers, and both hot and cold water to conduct a wintry and fun experiment to discover what makes pine cones open and close.
Learn more: Parenting Chaos
54. Compare reaction rates of antacids
Fizzy fizzy fun! This activity will help students learn about chemical reactions in an exciting way. In this experiment, students will mix water and effervescent antacid tablets to see what happens.
Learn more: Howtosmile
55. Sink a tinfoil boat
By experimenting with different designs, students can learn about basic physics principles and practice their engineering skills. How many pennies will it take to make their boat sink? All you’ll need is pennies, foil, and a bowl of water.
Learn more: Little Bins for Little Hands
Keep up the STEM enthusiasm with these fun and engaging third grade math games.
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