Young children learn science best by living and exploring the world around them. Come and get some great resources, tips, and ideas for teaching elementary-aged children science and discovery.
Elementary Science Teaching Tips & Ideas
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: Science
Family style learning is a great way to tackle lots of different subjects, including science.
Things to See & Do in Alabama
Gadsden Center for Cultural Arts
The Center is a multi-purpose facility that includes Imagination Place (a children's museum), three visual art galleries, a 72 foot model of 1948 Gadsden with working trains, an art studio, and two performance halls which are home to the Etowah Youth Orchestras and the Kings of Swing and the Gadsden Symphony. The Center also has a full service restaurant. Special programs include reservation accepted guided and narrated tours, field trips, planetarium shows, special children's activities, concerts, dinner theater, and classes.
Located in a 40,000 square foot facility within America's second largest research park in Huntsville, Sci-Quest boasts more than 150 interactive exhibits covering areas of science such as engineering; electricity and magnetism; world ecosystems and weather sciences; fluid dynamics; physiology; waves, light and sound; chemistry and material sciences; and early childhood education. Sci-Quest's newest component is the one-of-a-kind Immersive Theater. This new format captivates audiences with majestic, high-definition 3D images projected onto a 12 ft. by 26 ft. screen and state-of-the-art stereo surround sound. Visitors are given control of the various program scenarios through the use of touch-screen monitors and pop-up facts and questions, enabling each audience member to have an individually customized experience. Sci-Quest offers more than 200 public educational programs each year for children of all ages. Instead of using a traditional classroom format, however, Sci-Quest's science educators use interactive demonstrations and hands-on experiments to enhance the audience's experience.
The MOOseum opened in 1995 and offers an interactive way to learn about the state's $2 billion cattle industry. Operated by the Alabama Cattlemen's Association, the museum offers exhibits detailing the history of the cattle industry, a look at a cattleman's life, a rodeo exhibit, and information on beef.
Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum
Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum, "Alabama's Little Corner of Greece," now features over 20 acres of year-round floral beauty and classical sculpture, including new statuary honoring Olympic heroes. The Olympian Centre welcomes visitors with a video presentation of Jasmine Hill's history and a display of Olympic memorabilia from the Games of past years. A tour of Jasmine Hill, now completely accessible to visitors with disabilities, offers spectacular and ever-changing views, including our full-scale replica of the Temple of Hera ruins as found in Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the Olympic Flame.
Explore the animal world at the Birmingham Zoo, featuring an alligator swamp, tropical rain forest, and zoo train and carousel.
Rickwood Caverns State Park
Thrill to Rickwood's miracle mile of underground caverns. The 260 million-year-old limestone formations, blind cave fish and underground pools are just a few of the natural wonders exhibited in the colorful caverns. The park also features an Olympic size swimming pool, picnic area and campground.
Anniston Museum of Natural History
The Anniston Museum of Natural History exhibits over 2,000 natural history items on permanent display, featuring diorama-style exhibits that begin in pre-history with a life-sized Albertosaurus dinosaur model, and end in the extremes of the African savannah where a preserved African elephant rests under one of the world's largest constructed baobab trees. Also offers two Egyptian mummies from the Ptolemaic period.
Mote Marine Aquarium
From its humble beginnings in tiny shed in a small Florida town, Mote Marine Laboratory has expanded to include a 10.5-acre campus in Sarasota, Fla., with field stations and public exhibits in Key West and field stations in Summerland Key and Charlotte Harbor. The Mote Marine Aquarium in Sarasota offers large displays of marine life, mammals, turtles, and aquaculture.
U.S. Space & Rocket Center
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center puts you in the world of the astronaut with simulation, historical displays and futuristic exhibits. You'll find an interactive Space Transportation Exhibit, illustrating the evolution of the Space Shuttle through interactive displays and hands-on activities. Sit inside the Apollo Cockpit Trainer, watch live performances, and watch an IMAX film.
Mann Wildlife Learning Museum
Located at the Montgomery Zoo, the Mann Wildlife Learning Museum offers one of the nation's finest collections of professionally presented North American wildlife. All are shown in realistically created environments including painted mural backdrops depicting the natural habitat of the animal, with sounds of animals and several 'touch and feel' exhibits.
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab, founded by the State Legislature in 1971, is Alabama's marine education and research center. Located on the eastern tip of a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, the Sea Lab offers educational programs, the Estuarium, a public aquarium, and more.
The Montgomery Zoo features 500 animals representing over 150 species - all in a barrier free, natural environment and divided into continents featuring Australian, Asian, African, and North American realms. Take a rail tour through each realm on McMounty 102, the Zoo's train, and stop by our Gift Shop to find that perfect souvenir.
See the wonders of our world in action, and leave with new-found perspectives. Through amazing hands-on exhibits, larger-than-life IMAX® films and quality educational programs, McWane Center in Birmingham strives to make learning an adventure for all ages. Features ScienceQuest, Just Mice Size, and World of Water exhibits.
The Water Course is a project of the Alabama Power Foundation. The Water Course’s high-tech exhibits teach visitors about Alabama’s waterways and reservoirs, the state’s geography, and how water affects the lifestyles we lead. Visitors can take a simulated helicopter ride over some of the state’s waterways or challenge others in the game show.
Ruffner Mountain Nature Center
Located in Birmingham, Ruffner Mountain is a 1,011-acre nature preserve in eastern Jefferson County. Its protected forest, ridges and valleys provide a refuge for a wide variety of native plants and wildlife. Located in the center of Alabama’s largest urban area, it also offers a place for people to retreat to the serenity of the outdoors.
The Wildlife Center
Located in Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, the Wildlife Center is Alabama's oldest and largest wildlife rehabilitation center. More than 3,000 injured and orphaned wild creatures are cared for each year, including almost 2,000 birds representing more than 100 species. The Wildlife Center is open to the public for self-guiding tours, and features the Treetop Nature Trail. A beautiful, elevated walkway in the woods, the trail offers close-up views of non-releasable hawks and owls in natural habitat enclosures built among and around the trees.
Alabama Museum of Natural History
The Alabama Museum of Natural History, located in Smith Hall, the first building to be built on the University of Alabama campus in the twentieth century, is one of the finest excaples of Classical Revival architecture in the region. Experience the natural diversity of Alabama through exhibits from the Age of Dinosaurs, the Coal Age, and the Ice Age. View extensive collections of geology, zoology, mineralogy, paleontology, ethnology, history, and photography. Explore the Alabama Museum of Natural History housed in historic Smith Hall, one of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the region. See the Hodges meteorite, the only meteorite know to have struck a human. The Museum is located on The University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa.
Southern Museum of Flight
Visit the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham to see some of the machines that helped the world take to the skies. Aircraft on display include one of Delta Air Line's first planes, a Huff Daland crop duster, a 1912 Curtiss Pusher replica, an A-12 Blackbird and F- 4 jet fighter. The museum also houses aviation memorabilia, including the gloves worn by Germany's Red Baron on his last flight, a landing light used by the Wright Brothers at their Montgomery flying school and artifacts from the "Flying Tigers" of World War II. Also features historic photos and the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame. The Flight Simulator Hangar offers an opportunity for pilots of all ages to try their wings.
Elementary Science Activities & Experiments
ExploraVision is a competition for all students in grades K-12 attending a school in the U.S., Canada, U.S. Territory or a Department of Defense school. Homeschooled students are eligible to enter. It is designed to encourage students to combine their imagination with their knowledge of science and technology to explore visions of the future. Teams of students select a technology, research how it works and why it was invented, and then project how that technology may change in the future. They must then identify what breakthroughs are required for their vision to become a reality and describe the positive and negative consequences of their technology on society. Winning ideas have focused on things as simple as ballpoint pens and as complex as satellite communications. The student teams write a paper and draw a series of Web page graphics to describe their idea. Regional winners make a Web site and a prototype of their future vision.
Arbor Day National Poster Contest
Join over 74,000 fifth grade classrooms and home schools across America in the Arbor Day National Poster Contest. The theme chosen will increase your students’ knowledge of how trees produce and conserve energy. The free Activity Guide includes activities to use with fifth grade students to teach the importance of trees in producing and conserving energy. These activities correlate with National Science and Social Study Standards. The Guide also includes all of the information you need for poster contest participation.
Elementary Science Curriculum
Christian Kids Explore Chemistry
These user-friendly, unabashedly Christian, one-year science curriculums for elementary students include teaching lessons, coloring pages, hands-on time, memorization lists, review sheets, creative writing assignments, and a supplemental book list. The Chemistry text is intended for grades 4-8, and includes such hands-on activities as making model atoms, breaking covalent bonds, and making gas expand. It also lists chemistry terms, notations, and rules. The conversational style gives students the basic information they need, making this an ideal first course in life science, especially useful for those following a classical approach.
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