Looking for fun and simple science activities for your middle school students?
Want to make sure your tweens/teens understand key science concepts before they enter high school?
Have kids who like to bust basic science myths and misconceptions?
Middle school is the perfect time to help kids understand key science concepts. Even if your child isn’t a big fan of science there are some basic scientific concepts everyone should know in the areas of physical, life, and earth science.
I received a copy of this curriculum as well as financial compensation for an honest review. All opinions stated are mine. This post contains affiliate links.
Using the short, engaging, and informative book Air is Not Oxygen: Essential Science You Should Have Learned…But Probably Didn’t you and your students will have a lot of fun brushing-up on your basic science education and busting some science misconceptions.
There are many science concepts that my kids don’t immediately “get.” Although we are generally interested in science, it usually takes a bit of work for us to really get our heads around the topics we are studying. This is why we add a lot of hands-on activities to our science lessons. Chemistry, physics, and nature studies are much easier for us to understand when we can roll up our sleeves and actually try-out the scientific concepts we are learning about.
I will admit that a lot of what my kids have learned about scientific investigation has come from one of their favorite shows – Mythbusters. Thanks to some of the creative experiments they’ve seen demonstrated, my children have come to understand how to start with a question, make some predictions, and then test their ideas. The examples and humor in Air is Not Oxygen reminded my kids of the myth buster approach to science they really enjoy.
Simple and Fun Science Activities
My kids quickly understood the focus of Air is Not Oxygen after reading the introduction, which talks about the importance of understanding scientific literacy and the importance of recognizing common scientific misconceptions. A few quick facts refuting the claims that “lightening never strikes twice in the same place” and “objects float because they are lighter than water” were fun discussion starters as we set out to review a few key science topics.
Although I’m all for having my guys try to disprove common science misconceptions, I’m also one who likes to keep things simple and focused (especially when I’m the one having to help explain some of the topics involved!).
That’s why I was really pleased with Air is Not Oxygen. This short and helpful book offers:
- An overview of more than 25 essential scientific concepts that have been simplified for clarity and include examples that we can all relate to
- 2-3 Activities for each concept that use basic materials, most of which can be found around the house
- Reference to the National Standards covered by the concepts
- A summary overview of lessons learned
As an example, we used to Structure & Function topic to add a hands-on activity to our current Botany lessons.
By reading the information and examples provided we reviewed the concept that all living things have structures, and these structures are designed to serve different functions in the organism’s survival, behavior, and growth.
One of the fun activities included filling two cups with water and different colors of food coloring, splitting the stem of a carnation halfway up, placing the end of a stem in each cup, and allowing it to sit and soak overnight.
The result would be that the stem halves would absorb water from different cups, thus staining parts of the flower different colors. This demonstrated both the structure and function of the flower stem.
Science Activities for Middle School Students
I could easily hand Air is Not Oxygen over to my kids and have them review these important science topics, but we have been having a good time working through the material together and having discussions about what we discover together. They see the activities as a nice review of materials we have covered in the past, but honestly, I feel like I’m the one who relates most to the title “Essential Science You Should Have Learned…But Probably Didn’t”! If I did learn many of these things I certainly have forgotten them and this has been a nice opportunity to learn along with my family.
There are more than 25 topics covered in this book, including:
- Physical Science – Matter, properties of matter, Newton’s Laws, electricity, light, heat, magnetism, sound
- Life Science – Structure & function, basic needs, life cycles, ecosystems, food webs, heredity, behaviors
- Earth & Space Science – Sun, moon, Earth resources, water, soil, fossils, weather & seasons
- Related Science – Investigations, explanations, instruments
I have been using this book as a supplement to our regular science studies. We use the short chapters to review and summarize the topics we are studying and we also make use of the simple hands-on activities.
My kids have other ideas for the book, however. They have already taken the book on several occasions to read and try some activities on their own. They said they wanted me to let everyone to know this is a great book to review concepts they haven’t “practiced” in a while. They said it also helped to simplify and clarify some topics they were confused about.
As you can see, we believe Air Is Not Oxygen is a good book to have on hand to supplement middle school course work and to add some interesting science review for your family.