Summer’s the perfect time to brush up on some of your science skills for school in September. Don’t worry – it’s not all boring brainwork. These science experiments can be fun – and take advantage of the summer sun.
Pick a night, any night, and head outdoors to do some stargazing – that’s astronomy in scientific speak. With clear weather and few clouds in the sky, summer’s the perfect time to see shooting stars (meteors) and eclipses (when the sun and the moon overlap each other). Before you go outside, check out www.space.com where you’ll find a useful sky watch calendar. Just scroll down to the date on which you want to view the night sky and find out what heavenly bodies will be visible in your area.
To test your science skills, try focusing on one star just to the left of a still (not moving) landmark (like a phone pole or the chimney of a house) and watch with both eyes open for a while. After some time has passed, you’ll be able to see your star pass behind the still landmark – proof that the Earth is moving beneath your own two feet!
Hills & Valleys
If you live in an area that’s got mountains or desert terrain – lucky you! Plan a day trip and search for bats and lizards in your local mountains. Bring empty egg cartons along to collect samples of granite and other indigenous (native) rocks in your area.
When it’s sweltering hot outside, find a shady place to cool down like the forest or a nearby waterfall. There may even be a nature center close by you didn’t even know about! These places are packed with nature- and science-related activities that can keep you occupied on an otherwise ho-hum summer day.
If you live be the ocean or a lake, go down to the shore for a morning or afternoon of scientific study. Tide pools can give you hands-on experience on all kinds of water-loving critters. Check out the rocks and shells you find by the water – notice their smooth shapes and think about how water has the amazing power to erode or wear down even the toughest stone.
Funny Sunny Pictures
This one you can do in your own backyard. You’ll need:
- Dark-colored construction paper
- Any interestingly shaped flat objects you can find around the house (combs, money, pendants, etc.)
Put the colored paper in an area that gets full exposure to the sun for about 2-3 hours, Then place the flat objects on the paper in any design or pattern you want and let the whole thing sit in the sun for 3 hours. When you come back and remove the objects from the paper you’ll see they’ve left their mark! The sun sure is powerful – that’s why it’s so important to wear sunscreen when you’re playing outside!