Right now, many elementary teachers are looking for ways to teach science virtually. As more schools move to remote learning and shift to digital formats, teaching hands-on subjects, like science, can be difficult. Is teaching science virtually ideal? No. Is it do-able? Yes!
In this post I’ve collected ideas, experiments, online field trips, videos, and digital science activities to help you plan for and teach science virtually. You’ll learn ways you can:
- Perform virtual science demonstrations
- Gather easy, at-home science experiments
- Take science virtual field trips
- Use digital science readers to reinforce your lessons
- Incorporate fun and educational science videos and websites
- Assign digital science activities students can do independently
How to Teach Science Virtually
Create Presentations Using Real Photos
Real photographs are the next best thing to being there. Put together a slide presentation on Google Slides or PowerPoint that help student make connections to what you are teaching. Use this free Power Point template from Microsoft and a Google image search to put together simple visuals for your lessons. Simply change the titles and insert your own images and text.
If you are a second grade teacher, I’ve created in-depth teaching presentations, with narrated audio lessons, in a series of digital science units designed to be used virtually. Click here to see ready to use digital science units.
Do Virtual Science Demonstrations
Incorporate demonstrations as you teach science virtually. Typically in science, students plan and carryout investigations or conduct experiments themselves with your guidance. They may have questions to test or things they are wondering, however, you can still answer those by doing demonstrations.
I’ve posted lots of science experiments on these pages that would make great demonstrations to do for your students. While some require students to observe changes closely, if you have a document camera you can use to zoom in, they will still work well.
These are a few labs that are fun as demonstrations:
- Seed dissection
- Pollination simulation
- Sharpies & Solubility experiment
- The Great Cookie Dunk buoyancy lab
- Pop Rocks Carbonation (Gas) Exploration
If you are teaching about landforms, the labs in this post are ideal for demonstrating fast and slow earth changes. Simulate a landslide, save a lighthouse from water erosion, and demonstrate how a windbreak slows soil erosion, all on Zoom!
Use Digital Science Activities
Unless you are making copies and sending them home, students will need digitized materials. This post will show you several different ways to adapt your regular resources and digitize paper science materials. If you don’t have time for all of that, I’ve created digital science units with science centers, interactive journal activities, and quick-check quizzes for five different 2nd grade science topics.
These units include narrated audio slides so students can work independently at home or in the classroom.
Science Activities Kids Can Do At Home
Have students try simple science activities with things they may have at home or an adult can easily get at the grocery store. Making ice cream in a bag is a great activity for teaching how temperature changes matter. When teaching about plant adaptations, have students make simple models with inexpensive craft items from the dollar store. When teaching about properties of matter, have students gather objects from around the house to describe their properties. Students can even test properties like flexibilty, hardness, buoyancy and magnetic properties.
See more science activities kids can do at home in this post.
Science Virtual Field Trips
Many science museums, national parks, and animal conservatories have incredible virtual field trips. These are a few of my favorites that are perfect for teaching science virtually.
Wide Open School has an entire page of science virtual field trips for kids. Students can visit the inside of a cave, fly over the Grand Canyon, and learn about the secret life of corals. The virtual field trip to Chicago’s Field Museum is a must see!
Visit these additional sited to see Giant Pandas in China’s Great Forests, visit the Deserts and Grasslands of Africa, and get an up-close look at the Rainforest.
- The Nature Conservancy
- National Parks Google Arts and Culture
- Carlbad Caverns
- Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips
- NASA’s Journey to Mars
- San Diego Zoo Live Cams
- Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
- Oxford University History of Science Museum
- California Science Center
Digital Science Readers
One way we reinforce science content and build reading skills is by having students read science articles and informational books. These digital science readers are ideal for teaching science virtually. They includes printable and digital close reading passages in article and book format. Each has comprehension questions and tasks to practice close reading skills using science content.
Educational Science Videos & Websites
Bring concepts to life and reinforce your lessons with videos. Whatever science topic you are teaching, you can usually find a video example. YouTube has some great channels with science videos for kids. Some of the best ones are:
Educational Science Websites for Kids
For additional links to over 100 educational websites and distance learning tools for teachers, visit this post.
Make your planning easier by pinning this post for later!
Happy virtual teaching!
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