Our house is all things earth science right now as my oldest is diving into earth science with gusto! Because he’s a kinesthetic and visual learner, I’ve spent a lot of time planning out the best hands on earth science projects and labs for this year’s science program. And, it’s working! He’s loving and grasping science in a whole new way, and I’m having fun too. Right now our rock candy crystals are growing and the model magic globe showing the earth’s layers is proudly displayed on our homeschool bookshelf. There’s something so great about being able to display your middle schooler’s work for all to see! In our first blog post about the best earth science projects and labs, we covered geology and meteorology. Now it’s time to tackle oceanography and astronomy to be sure we cover all of the main topics in earth science.
The Best Oceanography Science Projects and Labs
Jump right into your study of all things marine biology with these fun and engaging hands-on earth science projects.
- Is your child smarter than a marine mammal? Watch this video from NOVA to find out! Then, have your child research their favorite of the marine animals and create a poster describing its features, habitat, feeding habits, life cycle, and geographic location.
- The density of salt water in the ocean is an important concept for students to understand. This egg project or this more simple experiment using plastic jewels will help you introduce and illustrate the topic in a short and sweet lesson.
- Videos are a wonderful way to introduce the ocean to your middle schooler. Check out this series from National Geographic and
- Turn your oceanographer into a travel guide with this great project from Teach the Earth. Your student will be challenged to become an eco-tour guide and “sell” a destination that provides oceanic interaction for humans. This is a perfect project for your artsy kids!
- Our interaction with the environment has a direct impact on the health of our oceans. Study human-environment interaction through a unit study of plastics and fishing using this lesson plan from the University of Washington. Bonus, this is an activity that can include most ages!
- Study the impact of the ocean on our world through hurricane research! Using videos from PBS, your learner will be required to analyze the destruction caused by
- A more challenging earth science project is this one focused on studying ocean currents and their movement throughout the earth. This project is a great way to flex your scientific method muscles. Use this worksheet as a guide for those still learning.
- Want more? Check out this “ocean of free marine resources” from VIMS, Virginia Institute of Marine Science. There’s sure to be something swimming among these lessons that will catch your eye!
The Best Astronomy Science Projects and Labs
Astronomy (not astrology, sweet 6th grader) is such a fun topic to study! It’s one that you’ve probably visited before, so here are some new and, hopefully, far out topics.
- Bring outer space to your backyard with this exciting investigation from education.com. Explore the area around you with a magnet to collect meteorite dust in the dry method. Or, use the wet method by gathering dirt and filtering out the iron.
- Learn outside the box with this short lesson on the seasons (seriously, you’ll need a box!). This challenging experiment will test your learner’s math abilities while illustrating the earth’s tilt and impact on our seasons.
- Sure, you’ve studied life cycles. But how about the life cycle of a star? This project from elementalscience.com is sure to shine with your middle schooler. You’ll end up with a great poster at the end as an example of the hard work!
- NASA is constantly communicating with space. Teach your homeschooler to talk to space by building your own communication satellite. This challenging project is great for a science fair!
- Become a space traveler. Have your future space traveler study the planet of their choice then create a travel brochure, video guide, or mock tour all about it.
- Space truly is the final frontier and presents astronauts with extreme challenges to survive and learn more. Study Pluto and the challenges astronauts face then have your homeschooler write about what he/she learned, getting into the shoes of an astronaut.
- Ready for some far out competition? Go beyond just memorizing the planets in order with this fun Planetary Bingo game. Get your entire family involved in learning the characteristics of each planet, then identifying them in the bingo game.
From space to rocks to weather, earth science is simply fun to learn about. Earth science should be interactive and investigative, which is why, if you’re studying earth science, you must integrate these earth science projects and labs into your homeschooling plan this year. After all, if you can’t dig in, have fun, and make a mess in science, when can you?
Tell us your favorite earth science lessons in a comment below!