My summer school students are rising first graders who needed extra literacy practice. We are working on their literacy skills and also incorporating a lot of science activities to keep things engaging and build their critical thinking.
1. On Monday, we did a five senses exploration where they explored our "ocean sensory bin." The bin included water, sand, shells, pebbles and sea glass. I also gave them magnifying glasses to look at things up close but they preferred to spend most of their time with both hands in the sand and water. I also mixed up salt and water to let them "taste" a little of the ocean. When they finished, they wrote about what they found for each of their senses.
2. We talked about jellyfish and made these little paper bowl jellyfish. They decorated however they wanted and then added ribbons. Super simple and they look great hanging from our ceiling!
3. We used this differentiated Ocean Animals book to practice our reading and introduce ourselves to a variety of different sea animals. The kids were excited to have a take home book to share with their families.
4. Since the ocean is made of salt water, we did some explorations that focused on how salt and water work together. We talked about how they put salt on the roads when it's cold and icy, and explored how salt can melt ice. We used eye droppers to add colored water, so we could see the designs the salt made as the ice melted. They loved this experiment! We did it for about an hour, and they wanted to continue but we had to get ready for lunch. (This idea came from The Artful Parent, but since I was doing it in a classroom, I gave each kid one tray with one piece of ice on it. To make the ice, I just used whatever tupperware containers I had at home.)
5. We also did an experiment to show how water can move on salt. The kids drew and cut out an outline of a fish. Then, they added lines with glue. We sprinkled salt on top. After it dried, I showed them how they could wet their brush with watercolors, touch it to the salt, and watch it move up the line. This was another popular activity. I think it would be a really cool activity for beginning of the year, with the kids tracing their names.