My oldest is in 6th grade this year. We’re both excited, and a little nervous, as we jump into a more formal Earth Science course. Don’t get me wrong — we’ve done lots of science in the past because it’s one of his favorite subjects. But middle school is higher stakes. I want to ensure he is well-prepared for high school. He needs a full understanding of the scientific method, lab methodology, and the foundations of each topicI also want it to be fun and hands-on, because that’s his learning style. That’s why I’m excited to share with you, in a two-part series, our plan for the best earth science projects and labs for middle schoolers. Get ready for some spectacular and solid science!

Our Favorite Earth Science Projects

  • Our first project was to create a model of the earth’s layers using model magic. It was easy and so much fun because we all did it (even the kindergartener!).
  • Go for the ultimate sensory, hands-on earth science projects by including food. My oldest is right now making a topographic map. Take the fun up a notch by using all edible elements, like graham crackers. This is a challenge because it requires contour lines and intervals.
  • Learn how layers form in sediment and rock with this exciting Sorting out Sedimentation. This is a great chance to revisit the scientific method and teach about writing a formal lab report.
  • The topic Oldest is most excited to study is earthquakes. I’m allowing him to choose one of these seriously shaking experiments from
  • Visit your local science museum or cave to learn more about rocks, geology, and earth structures. We’ll be headed to Crystal Cave here in Pennsylvania to do some hiking, panning, and geode studying!
  • Choose from a variety of well-designed, hands-on weather and earth science projects from Georgia Weather School. Their goal is to “make weather and science fun for the classroom.” Mission accomplished.
  • I want science to connect to the real world, so we’ll be spending time learning how to interpret and read weather maps. Join us and you may have a little meteorologist in your hands!
This is the tip of the iceberg that is fun, hands-on earth science! Stay tuned for more experiments and ideas to come. In Part Two of our hands-on earth science post, we’ll tackle projects and experiments for oceanography and astronomy.