Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hands-On Science Project

Hey there!
Welcome to the 2nd installment of the Bright Ideas Blog Hop! There are roughly 185 bloggers participating this round and I KNOW for a fact that there are some more fantastic ideas. That's what's great about teachers… we're full of ideas!

So, you saw my title says hands-on science project.

Well, in our 3rd grade classroom, we're learning all about landforms and the water cycle. To make the landform concept more concrete for my own students, I had them complete a landform Play-Doh project.
This activities allowed for the abstract concept of a variety of landforms to become hands-on and more visually THERE… especially for those students that haven't seen an archipelago or a volcano besides in a picture. It's almost as though the landforms were in their own backyards!
The only materials needed for this project were some sort of cardboard box for the base (I used post office boxes I had in my spare room from another project) and some Play-Doh. I'll be honest - I spent quite a bit of time trying to find the perfect colors for the project but then found a box of colors that had anything from pink to black to orange to green.
As you can see in some of the pictures, there are pink islands, red and yellow mountains, and a variety of other mismatched landforms to what they are typically colored. My students understood that there really aren't pink islands, orange mountains (well… if you count Arizona soil/dirt, then it would be red/orange!), and so forth.
Regardless, my students had a blast and wanted to do another topic in Play-Doh. I'm constantly trying to find ways to keep my students engaged and involved in their education, and this project… well, it was a home run!
Excuse the glue bottle and the Zoobreak book… the were gluing their labels on to their landforms so that I could tell which landform was what. They loved it!

What kinds of hands-on activities do you do in your classrooms? Even if it's not in Science, I'd love to hear about the projects!

But, now - what about storage?? What teacher doesn't need EXTRA storage for all their junk… er, I mean learning tools… in their classroom? Lydia from Owl Be in Kindergarten has a FANTASTIC post on finding that space in the tiniest of ways (and one of the cutest and easiest DIY ways). Head on over to her blog post by clicking her button below.
Owl Be In Kindergarten
And if you'd prefer to just hop from one topic to another instead of from blog to blog, feel free to check out the linky below! There are two separate linkies - one for "K through 2nd" and one for "3rd and up". Each person that has linked up has linked up by their BLOG POST title - not their specific blog! So, it's much easier to find JUST what you need. But, I suggest going from blog to blog because you'll find FANTASTIC ideas! :)

Happy Hopping!


  1. Sara, I love the idea of play-doh for land forms! I am sure you had 100% student engagement in this project:) Just wondering how many cans if play-doh were needed to complete a project like this. Just thinking ahead... Thanks for sharing!

    The Resourceful Apple

  2. I hopped over from the Bright Idea Blog Hop! This is terrific and I've pinned ya'!
    Your friend,
    Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas!
    Fern Smith's Pinterest Boards!

  3. Love this post! I used to do something similar with my fourth graders - we're in Texas and they had to identify the major regions and the landforms associated with each. We drew a Texas shape on cardboard and they used salt dough to fill it in and include details like major landforms and the relative elevation. Then they marked major cities with little toothpicks and flags and painted the regions different colors. So fun!

    Buzzing with Ms. B

    1. Hi Chrissy!

      Thanks for coming by - you are a no-reply blogger, so I'm hoping you see this comment! That's a really cool idea to shape it into Texas and then fill from there. I think this project gives students that hands-on experience so that the abstract content becomes more REAL to them.


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