Try this!  Science you can do at home

Don't sit on the couch - get up and do some science! You'll find instructions and videos here for science experiments you can try at home with everyday materials.

 

Dinosaur Word Search

Audience: Children and Family
Grades: 3+
Duration: 5-10 minutes

How well do you know dinosaurs? Enjoy this prehistoric puzzle featuring dino names, time periods in which they lived, and features of these magnificent animals!

 

 

Ice Age Word Search

Audience: Children and Family
Grades: 4+
Duration: Variable

The Ice Age was a time when giant mammals ruled. The State of Michigan is fortunate to have ample fossil finds from this time, sometimes even in people's backyards. Can you find the names of some of our favorite species and other Ice Age-related words in this word search?

 

 

Backyard Insects Field Guide

Audience: Children and Family
Grades: 5+
Duration: Variable

Create your own Backyard Insects Field Guide! Then go outside and use the field guide to try and identify any bugs you might find. Be sure to review our insect collecting etiquette before you start! 

Field Guide Instructions

 

 

Things in a Lab Word Search

Audience: Children and Family
Grades: 3+
Duration: 5 minutes

A lab, short for laboratory, is a place where science experiments and testing are done. The University of Michigan has many labs where scientists are conducting research in fields such as medicine, geology, microbiology, zoology, and many more. Can you find the tools scientists use in their laboratories in this word search?

 

 

Michigan Natural History Word Search

Audience: Children and Family
Grades: 4+
Duration: 5-10 minutes

The climate, terrain, and wildlife of the area now known as Michigan has evolved over time. In fact, 400 million years ago, Michigan had a tropical climate. Over time it changed again! Fast forward 390 million years and proboscideans such as mammoths and mastodons roamed the area. Can you find the terms representing the changing ecology of Michigan in this word search?

 

 

Astronomy Word Search

Audience: Children and Family
Grades: 1+
Duration: 5-10 minutes

How many astronomy terms can you find in this word search puzzle game? Don’t look at the answer sheet until you’re done!  Can you explain what each term means to a parent or friend? If not, see if you can discover their meaning on your own!

 

 

Ages: Children and Family
Grades: K-8
Duration: 10-15 minutes 

Long ago, the sky belonged to flying reptiles. Pteranodons (ter-AN-o-donz) were one of many kinds of pterosaur. Make your own Pteranodon to rule the sky.

Materials:

  • Pteranodon template
  • Wooden clothespins
  • Construction paper
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Coloring supplies
  • Googly eyes
  • Glue
  • Scissors

 

 

 

 

Cereal Bird Feeder

Audience: Children and Family
Grades: K-8
Duration: 10-15 minutes

With warm weather approaching, some of our bird buddies will return from their vacation homes. In this activity, you can build your own feeder and make an oasis for them on their journey in your own backyard.

Materials:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • String or yarn
  • O-shaped cereal

 

 

Invisible Ink

Ages: Children and Family
Grades: K-8
Duration: 15 minutes 

Use simple household materials to make invisible ink. Write or draw secret messages then reveal them with a paintbrush and grape juice!  This activity relies on simple chemistry for fun effects. 

Materials:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • Container for mixing ingredients
  • Fork
  • Paper
  • Cotton swabs
  • Grape juice

 

 

 

 

Dusting for Fingerprints

Audience: Children and Family
Grades: All
Duration: 15 minutes

Want to be a detective? Even the cleanest fingers leave clues. Learn how forensic scientists dust for fingerprints.

Materials:

 

 

 

 

Moon Phase Wreath

Ages: Children and Families
Grades: K-4
Duration: 15-20 minutes 

Our own spin on holiday traditions. With the winter solstice approaching, craft this wreath and explore the many phases of the moon.

Materials:

  • 1 paper plate
  • 1-2 pieces of black construction paper
  • 3 pieces of white paper
  • Black yarn
  • Glue
  • Hole punch
  • Scissors
  • Coloring utensils

 

 

 

 

Paper Plate Ichthyosaur

Audience: Children and Family
Grades: K-8
Duration: 11 minutes

What looks like a fish but is actually a reptile? An Ichthyosaur! In this craft activity, you will make your own prehistoric reptile. Do parts of this prehistoric creature look familiar to you? How many other animals have similar features and what does that say about what animals need to live underwater?

 

 

 

 

Fruit DNA Extraction

Ages: 8 and up (Younger children will need adult supervision)
Grades: 3 and up
Duration: 20 minutes

Many research endeavors begin with analyzing DNA. Learn the basics of this crucial research process with items that can be found in your kitchen.

Materials:

  • Chilled Rubbing Alcohol
  • Dish Soap
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Strawberries (or other fruit)
  • Zip-top Bag
  • Fine Mesh Strainer
  • 1 Cup
  • 1 Small Container

 

 

 

 

Bee Hummer

Buzz Buzz Buzz. That distinctive sound is made from a bee’s wing. In this craft activity, create your own device that will sound like a swarm of bees.

Ages: 5-12
Grades: K-8
Duration: 10-15 minutes
Materials:

  • scissors
  • stapler
  • 1 index card
  • 3 feet of string
  • 1 popsicle stick
  • 2 cap erasers
  • 1 rubber band

 

 

Archaeology of a Penny

Sometimes an item that looks like an everyday object can tell us more about a group of people than you may think. What can you learn from everyday objects by looking at them with an archaeologist's eye?

Audience: 6-12
Grades: 1-7
Duration: 10-15 minutes 
Materials: Small household object (a coin, a book, a toy, etc.)

 

 

Looking for Aquatic Life

Bring the outside in by creating a micro garden and a self-contained water cycle!

Ages: All
Grades: All
Duration: 20+ minutes
Materials:

  • White plastic or ceramic container or clear container with something white beneath it
  • Mesh net or colander
  • Empty condiment or juice bottle
  • Pond or stream

Ever wanted to know what's hiding out in the water? Go on a hunt for aquatic invertebrates and see what else you can find on the way!

This guide by the MidMichigan Environmental Action Council might help you identify the creatures you find in your water sample.

 

 

Prehistoric Origami

Ages: All
Grades: All
Duration: 7-15 minutes
Materials:

  • Paper 
  • Scissors (if you don’t have square paper)
  • Patience

Looking for a challenge? Can you fashion your own prehistoric creature with a single sheet of paper? If you’re patient, try creating a Brachiosaurus. If you’d like to start slow, make your own Pteranodon!(Note: Be sure to start with a square sheet of paper.)

Glass Jar Terrarium

Bring the outside in by creating a micro garden and a self-contained water cycle!

Ages: All
Grades: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Duration: 1 hour
Materials:

  • Glass Jar
  • Empty Containers
  • Spoon
  • Knife
  • Tweezers

 

 

Density Tower

What keeps the sky up and the sea at sea-level? Density! Watch us create a model you can do at home to illustrate why some things float and others sink.

Ages: Children and Family
Grades: 3-5, 6-8
Duration: 30 minutes
Materials:

  • Water
  • Milk
  • Honey
  • Dish Soap
  • Veggie Oil
  • Tall Clear Glass
  • 6 small glasses
  • food dye
  • turkey baster
  • measuring cup
  • rubbing alcohol

 

 

Make Your Own Compass

Use household items to generate a magnetic field and see how it interacts with Earth’s nearest magnetic pole!

Ages: All
Grades: K-2, 3-5
Duration: 10 minutes
Materials:

  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Sewing needle
  • Magnet
  • Leaf (or piece of cork)

Transmissions: Gone Viral

Transmissions: Gone Viral is a digital interactive comic book put together by our partners at the New York Hall of Science. It follows a group of kids who investigate a mysterious virus plaguing animals and humans. The kids learn about how scientists study diseases that come from animals. A great way to help kids grades 4 and up understand more about viruses. Read The Comic 

Ages: Youth
Grades: 3-5, 6-8
Duration: N/A
Materials:

  • Virtual Comic Book

 

 

 

 

Blood Typing

Ever wonder why doctors need to know your blood type? Set up a mystery for young scientists to solve, using milk, food coloring, and vinegar. What is the patient’s blood type and why does it matter?

Ages: Adult
Grades: 9-12
Duration: 30 minutes
Materials:

  • Cow's Milk
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Red Food Coloring
  • Permanent Marker
  • Tape
  • 3 small bowls
  • 4 spoons
  • 4 cups