I love incorporating hands-on science and STEM activities as often as possible into the curriculum. They are so engaging for students and build problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Now that we have more technology available to us in the classroom, these activities also allow students to learn how to use technology as a tool which is an important skill in our technology driven world.
Today I am sharing some of my favorite Easter science experiments and STEM challenges. Since we did not always have technology so readily available to us, I will include both the print and digital options for recording findings and observations since I have used both. If you like the activities and recording options they are available here.
Egg Stacking Challenge
This is a fun challenge that can be set up similar to Minute to Win It during your Easter celebration or it can be used as a STEM challenge.
The object of the challenge is for each student to build the tallest Easter egg tower by stacking the Easter egg halves on top of one another within the allotted time period.
Students discover that the egg halves are not of equal size and then have to figure out which ones to use or whether to combine them and how to stack them. They use a lot of engineering in this simple challenge!
When time is up measure each tower from the table top to the highest point and count how many Easter egg halves were used.
The winner is the structure that stands the highest and/or the one that stacked the most eggs.
Prior to the challenge I like to have students predict how many eggs they feel they can stack and then record the actual result afterwards. I also have them reflect on what was easy and what was a challenge.
We discovered that the larger egg halves were easier to stack and worked best at the bottom for a strong base. When stacking the halves at the top, holding the tower steady with one hand while carefully placing on the new egg was a good strategy.
What I love about technology is that it enables students to document actual photos of their engineering and then explain their thinking! We used the Seesaw app to upload photos of our Easter egg towers to our journals and then the record tool to explain what we learned.
Easter Peeps Boats STEM Challenge
In this activity students design and build Easter Peeps sailboats and then test them to see if they will float.
You can choose to use one type of Peeps (the rabbits work best) or test out both the chicks and the rabbits or allow students to choose whether they want to use a chick or a rabbit for their boat.
In our challenge students first designed their Peep boat. They decided what type of sail they wanted to make from the construction paper and which Peep (bunny or chick) they wanted to use.
Students cut out and design their sails from the construction paper and decorate them.
Students use a toothpick to attach their sail to the Peeps bottom of their choice to create their Easter Peeps boat.
Allow students to place their Peeps boats in the water to see if they will float. Students observe the boats and draw conclusions about the various boat bottoms and sails used. You can allow them to blow their boats to see which sails make the boats faster.
We discovered that some of the chick Peeps were more top heavy than the rabbits and tipped over depending on the size of the sail used and where the toothpick was located. Also that generally the larger sails made the boats faster because they caught more wind.
After the observation and testing of the boats, I had students finish their pages by first drawing a picture of their boats in the water and then writing what they learned through their observations. The Pic Collage option allowed them to insert actual photos of their boats. We then “app smashed” by uploading the Pic Collage page to our Seesaw journals and using the record tool to further explain what happened and what we learned.
Egg Rocket Races
This is such an engaging activity that allows students to learn about force and motion.
Students build egg rockets from plastic Easter eggs and “blast” them down two strings attached to the wall.
Before beginning the races students can decorate their egg rockets by cutting out construction paper fins and taping them to the rockets and/or putting stickers on them.
Each egg rocket needs a piece of straw taped to the top.
To set up the races attach 2 pieces of string or yarn (3 1/2 – 4 feet long seemed to work well for us) to a wall or bulletin board using several pieces of tape, a thumbtack, or plastic hook. It needs to be secure because the students will be pulling on it. I found that using a thumbtack in the bulletin board worked very well.
Thread the 2 pieces of yarn or string through the straw on the rocket.
Have students hold the 2 pieces of yarn in their hands and pull them apart to make their rockets “fly” to the wall. First rocket to the wall wins.
Students can experiment with different ways of pulling apart the strings (up and down, side to side) to see which makes the rocket go faster.
When pulling the strings apart students are exerting a force that makes the rocket move. The stronger the force the faster the rocket.
After the fun, we reflected on what we learned (both print and digital versions are shown)
Easter Egg Sink or Float Experiment
This is a fun Easter twist on a classic science experiment and helps students to understand density.
Before beginning the experiment show students an empty plastic egg and ask whether they think it will sink or float. If your plastic egg has any holes in it, place tape over the holes to prevent the water from seeping inside the egg. Place the egg in the bowl of water and show students that it floats.
Next, explain to students that you are going to put various objects inside the eggs to see if they affect whether the egg floats or sinks.
Fill different colored eggs with heavy and light objects (jelly beans, feathers, Easter Peep, rocks, magnetic letters, sand, play dough, Legos, etc.). Be sure to put enough of the heavier objects inside the egg to make it sink. Show the students the eggs and what is going inside each one. Here are the objects students wished to test:
Put tape on any holes and around the crack in the middle to prevent water from getting inside and affecting the results.
Prior to testing the eggs I allowed students to pick up and observe the eggs. Then, I had them record their sink or float predictions. I have them draw the eggs either floating on top of the water or sunk to the bottom because having them draw the eggs in the bowl helps them understand the difference between what it means to sink or float. The Pic Collage app allowed them to be able to insert actual photos of the objects and eggs.
Place each egg in the bowl one at a time to see whether they sink or float.
We recorded the results and then had a discussion about density.
Whether an object sinks or floats depends on the object’s density. If the object is less dense than water it will float. Density is how tightly packed the material is inside the object which is why changing the inside of the eggs affected the results.
Getting Your Eggs in a Row Weight & Mass Experiment
In this experiment students will predict and compare weights of plastic eggs that contain different objects. They will learn that weight and size are different, even though the size of the eggs is the same the weight of each one is different.
Explain to students that you are going to fill plastic eggs with different objects and they have to put them in order from lightest to heaviest.
Fill different colored eggs with heavy and light objects and show the students the eggs and what is going inside each one. Here are the objects we decided to use:
Have students record their predictions. I just had my younger students draw the eggs in the order they thought would be lightest to heaviest. You could also have students write or draw what is inside each one.
Weigh each egg and record the results on chart paper, the whiteboard, the board, etc.
Have students help you put the eggs in the correct order from lightest to heaviest using the data collected. Open each egg to show what was inside.
Discuss the results. Lead students to understand that the size of an object is different than the weight of the object. Even though the eggs were all the same size, the matter (or objects) inside made them different weights. If there is more matter inside an object (mass) it will weigh more.
We recorded the results. For the digital options, we used actual photos of the results. In the Seesaw app students used the record tool to talk about what they learned.
Easter Egg Roll Races with Ramps
In this activity students will manipulate ramps to discover which angle makes a plastic egg roll to the bottom the quickest.
To prepare this activity cut ramps from cardboard. Fold up the edges to prevent the egg from rolling off the sides.
Give groups of students 2 ramps and several plastic eggs.
Allow students to position the ramps at various angles to determine which angle makes the egg roll the fastest.
Students place an egg at the top of each ramp and let go of each of them at the same time to see which egg reaches the bottom first. They should discover that the steeper or higher the angle of the ramp, the faster the egg will roll.
Explain that gravity helps pull the eggs down towards the floor. The ramps with the lower (smaller) angles help to slow gravity down. Gravity is the force of attraction between the egg and the earth.
After the experiment I have students reflect on their results and what they learned (print and digital options with Pic Collage and Seesaw apps).
Explosive Egg Dyeing Experiment
This is a very fun and explosive way to dye Easter eggs! It can be done as a science experiment with students or as an exciting egg decorating activity.
Click here to see the step by step directions.
Here is a short video demonstration.
The vinegar (acid) reacts with the baking soda (base) causing carbon dioxide bubbles. As the carbon dioxide bubbles rise up they bring some of the mixture with them causing it to “explode” or “erupt” and color the egg.
What Dissolves Jelly Beans the Quickest? Science Experiments (3 variations)
I have done 3 different variations of this experiment. These experiments teach students about solubility (how well something can dissolve something else).
Prior to beginning each experiment I have students hypothesize which solution they think will dissolve the jelly beans the quickest and record their responses.
For each version, fill clear glasses with the same amount of each liquid and drop the jelly beans in the liquids at the same time.
Variation 1 – Vinegar and Water
This version of the experiment only uses 2 solutions to see which one dissolves jelly beans the quickest – vinegar or warm water.
In our initial observations we saw that the warm water turned color faster because the water was dissolving the coating off of the jelly beans faster.
We also saw the sugar coating from the jelly beans come off and float to the top of the water first in the warm water. After time, the warm water dissolved the sugar coating completely off the jelly beans faster than the vinegar.
Variation 2 – Hot, Warm, & Cold Water
This version of the experiment tests different temperatures of water to see which one dissolves jelly beans the quickest.
We observed the hot water begin to dissolve very quickly. The sugar coating dissolved into the water first followed by the warm room temperature water and cold water.
After time, we observed the sugar coating dissolving into the water and also floating to the surface of the hot water first followed by the warm then cold.
Variation 3 – Variety of liquids
This is an extension activity of the previous experiment where students learned that hot water dissolved jelly beans best when only comparing water. Now they test whether hot water will still dissolve the jelly beans the quickest compared to other liquids. Any liquids you have on hand can be used. We decided to use the following:
We observed that the pink jelly beans in the water lost their colored sugar coating the quickest. We left the jelly beans for a few hours and then came back to observe them. We saw that the water dissolved the sugar coating off the jelly beans the quickest.
I removed the jelly beans and placed them on paper towels for closer observations. My students also touched them and observed that the ones in the hot water were “squishier” (more dissolved) than the others and had no coating left on them. The vinegar jelly beans had a little coating left as did the salt water ones. The ones in the oil had all of the coating left and didn’t dissolve much at all.
In all 3 variations of the experiment water dissolved the jelly beans the quickest because water is a universal solvent. It worked the best because water molecules have powerful magnetic properties that break apart the bonds that hold sugar molecules together. They can actually insert themselves between the sugar molecules which is why the sugar (jelly bean) breaks apart. The heat in the hot water makes the molecules move faster so the water molecules are able to break up the sugar (jelly bean) molecules at a faster rate.
The molecules in the other liquids (especially the oil) are very different than water molecules and don’t attract the sugar molecules as well.
After each experiment I had students record the results. What is wonderful about having iPads available is they were better able to record the results because students could use actual photos. They recorded their observations for me in their Seesaw journals.
Jelly Bean Rainbows Experiment
This experiment creates such a beautiful reaction that students love watching! It is another experiment that tests the solubility of water and vinegar.
Make a circle out of jelly beans in 2 white dishes or bowls. You can create patterns and have students help you place the jelly beans in the bowls in the correct order.
Explain to students that you are going to add warm water to one bowl and vinegar to the other bowl. Before adding the warm water and vinegar I like to have students hypothesize what they think will happen when they are added to the jelly beans and record their responses.
Explain to students that you are going to test which liquid reacts with the jelly beans the quickest by timing them with a stopwatch. Before beginning, I have students predict which liquid they feel will react with the jelly beans the fastest and record their predictions.
Do the experiments one at a time and time each one with the stopwatch.
SLOWLY pour the warm water down the side of the dish or bowl so that the jelly beans do not move when the water comes in contact with them. You will see that once the warm water hits the jelly beans it will dissolve the candy coating causing the colors to mix with the water and make a beautiful rainbow design.
The colors will continue to dissolve and mix with the water until they all mix together. Stop the stopwatch as soon as the colors meet in the middle (the second picture). Record the time.
Do the same for the vinegar and record the time.
In this experiment the warm water and vinegar dissolve the colored sugar coatings of the jelly beans.
Water dissolves sugar faster because water molecules have more powerful magnetic properties than vinegar that break apart the bonds that hold sugar molecules together. They can actually insert themselves between the sugar molecules which is why the sugar coating breaks apart.
I have students record the results (print and digital version – Pic Collage).
Attractive Easter Eggs (Magnetism Experiment)
In this activity students explore magnetism. Students will also discover that a magnet will attract an iron/metal object through plastic and also how strong the attraction.
Find some magnetic and non-magnetic objects that will fit inside plastic eggs such as paper clips, jingle bells, coins, pom-poms, beads, magnetic chips or rings, etc. Be sure not to make the eggs too heavy – the eggs with the magnetic objects should be able to be lifted with a magnetic wand.
Place the objects beside different colored eggs so the students can see what object will be in each egg.
I have students predict whether they think the magnetic wand will be able to attract each item through the plastic egg and record their predictions. We were working on color words so I just had them write the color of each egg in the first column and write yes or no in the second column under Prediction (yes it will attract the item, no it will not).
Once we had the iPads students were able to take pictures of each egg and item.
Place the eggs in an Easter basket (optional) or in a container. Allow students to take out each egg and test it with a magnetic wand. Be sure to tell them to move the wand around the entire egg to thoroughly check whether it is attracted to the wand in case the object inside the egg has shifted.
The eggs with the magnetic objects should stick to the wand and have a strong enough attraction through the plastic to be picked up.
After testing each egg, students open it up to see what was inside. I had them record the results in the last column of their recording pages.
I’ve also uploaded a picture of the eggs to students’ Seesaw journals and had them use the label tool to say whether they were attracted to the magnetic wand and then use the record tool to tell what they learned.
Can You Break an Egg Challenge
This is a fun challenge to pose to students because they usually think of eggs as being fragile. They will learn about the relationship between the shape of an egg and applying even pressure.
Wrap the eggs in cling wrap. Ask students if they think they will be able to break the egg by squeezing it in the palm of their hands with their fingers completely wrapped around the egg? Demonstrate how to hold and squeeze the egg (the key is their fingers need to be completely wrapped around the egg so that pressure is applied evenly all over the shell). They can only use one hand and can not hit their hand against anything – they can only squeeze the egg with their fingers.
They will be amazed to discover that no matter how hard they squeeze it, the egg will not break! If you are REALLY brave you can let them try it without the cling wrap!
The shape of an egg is very strong. If pressure is applied evenly all over the shell it will not break. However, if you drop an egg on the floor and pressure is applied to only one area it will crack.
You can have students write about their experience and what they learned.
If you would like to use these Easter science experiments printable pages with your students they are available here along with detailed step by step directions with photos for each experiment and ideas with directions for using the free apps Pic Collage and Seesaw for easy technology integration.
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