23 Third Grade Science Projects Every Teacher Can Do

Homemade ice cream, DIY markers, marshmallow catapult … Your students will love these!

3rd Grade Science Projects for the Classroom or Science Fair

Hands-on learning is the most fun, right? That’s why kids enjoy science experiments so much. Many concepts are much easier to understand and remember when you see them in action. This list of 3rd grade science projects is perfect for the classroom or science fair, and none require any expensive materials or advanced skills. You’re bound to find a few that fit your curriculum!

1. Use water balloons to explore buoyancy.

3rd Grade Science Buoyancy Balloons 123 Homeschool 4 Me

Fill water balloons with different solutions (oil, salt water, plain water, etc.) and place the the balloons in a large bucket of water to see if they sink or float. This is a great project to do on a sunny day on the playground.

Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me

2. Construct a marshmallow catapult.

Third Grade Science Catapult Frugal Fun

Fling some sweet treats in the name of science! All you need is an old tissue box, pencils, rubber bands, and a few other supplies to learn about trajectory, air resistance, gravity, and more. 

Learn more: Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls

3. Crystallize some pretty fall leaves.

Third Grade Science Crystals Schooling a Monkey

Every kid loves making crystals. In this third grade science project, learn about supersaturated solutions by crystallizing some colorful fall leaves. Then use them as fall classroom decor!

Learn more: Schooling Active Monkeys

4. Send secret messages with invisible ink.

3rd Grade Science Invisible Ink Steve Spangler

This simple experiment never fails to amaze. Have kids write messages with a paintbrush dipped in lemon juice, then hold the paper over a heat source and watch the invisible become visible as oxidation goes to work.

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

5. Investigate the effects of erosion.

Third Grade Science Erosion Third Grade Thinkers

Compare the effects of “rain” on hills of bare soil vs. those covered with grass. Have kids predict which they think will stand up to erosion better and then test their hypotheses.

Learn more: Third Grade Thinkers

6. Teach the scientific method with milk and cookies.

Third Grade Science Scientific Method Around the Kampfire

This third grade science project is sure to be a slam dunk—cookie dunk, that is! Kids experiment by dipping cookies in milk, using the scientific method to document their findings. 

Learn more: Around the Kampfire

7. DIY these natural-dye markers.

Third Grade Science Markers Science Buddies

This is the kind of project that turns STEM into STEAM! Learn about the process of extracting natural dyes and use paper chromatography to make your own DIY markers. Kids can use these markers to create amazing masterpieces!

Learn more: Science Buddies

8. Experiment with ice, salt, and water temperature.

3rd Grade Science Ice Salt Water 123Homeschool for Me

This simple experiment requires only water, ice, salt, and a thermometer. Kids explore how ice and salt affect the temperature, a simple but effective lesson on heat transfer and freezing points.

Learn more: 123 Homeschool For Me

9. Defy gravity with magnets and paper clips.

Third Grade Science Gravity Buggy and Buddy

Magnets are always a hit in the classroom. Use this simple experiment to discover more about gravity and the effects of magnets on metal objects.

Learn more: Buggy and Buddy

10. Mix up your own silly putty.

Third Grade Science Silly Putty Science Buddies

Tired of slime? This third grade science experiment also focuses on polymers, but this time students will make silly putty instead. (Bonus: Silly putty bounces!)

Learn more: Science Buddies

11. Run marble races.

3rd Grade Science Gravity Techy Teacher

Crack open a pool noodle or two and create your own marble racetracks. Experiment with angles, force, and surface materials to find the fastest way to get the marble to the bottom.

Learn more: The Techy Teacher

12. Experiment with colors.

Third Grade Science Chromatography 123 Homeschool 4 Me

Play around with colors, mixing them together and then using a little science magic to pull them apart again. This chromatography science project requires only simple supplies, like coffee filters and markers.

Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me

13. Blow bubbles inside bubbles inside bubbles.

Third Grade Science Bubbles Steve Spangler

If there’s a more fun way to learn about surface tension than bubbles, we haven’t found it yet. Create a soap solution by using dissolved sugar and discover more about elasticity and volume as you blow bubbles inside bubbles inside bubbles …

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

14. Craft fossils from glue.

Third Grade Science Fossils Education

Create clay molds of natural objects then fill them with school glue to make your own “fossil” casts. This is a great project to try before a trip to the natural history museum.

Learn more: Education.com

15. Sprout sweet potatoes.

Third Grade Science Sweet Potatoes Science Buddies

Potatoes grow from tuberous roots, and under the right conditions, new shoots appear from those roots. This third grade science experiment explores the biological science behind cloning.

Learn more: Science Buddies

16. Turn crayons into rocks.

Third Grade Science Crayon Rocks The Owl Teacher

Demonstrate the effects of heat and pressure on crayon shavings to explain the different types of rocks to students. It’s a colorful intro to geology!

Learn more: The Owl Teacher

17. Go green with recycled paper.

3rd Grade Science Paper Undercover Classroom

We talk a lot about recycling and sustainability these days, so show kids how it’s done! Recycle old worksheets or other papers using screen and picture frames.

Learn more: Undercover Classroom

18. Take friction for a ride.

Third Grade Science Friction PorterGaudCyclones

Your students will love pulling their way across the floor as they discover more about friction and its effects on motion. Build your own “sled” or use a premade box or tray.

Learn more: PorterGaudCyclones on YouTube

19. Step through an index card.

Third Grade Science Surface Area Steve Spangler

This is one science experiment that never fails to amaze. With carefully placed scissor cuts on an index card, you can make a loop large enough to fit a (small) human body through! Kids will be wowed as they learn about surface area.

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

20. Filter sediment from dirty water.

Third Grade Science Filtration Teach Beside Me

Explore sediments and water filtration with this easy third grade science experiment. It’s a fun way to learn more about the water cycle.

Learn more: Teach Beside Me

 21. Make sun prints.

Third Grade Science Sunprints Science Buddies

You’ll need special paper for this project, but it’s inexpensive and easy to find. Kids learn about chemical reactions as they use the power of the sun to create unique works of art.

Learn more: Science Buddies

22. Build a better umbrella.

Third Grade Science Umbrellas Raising Lifelong Learners

Challenge students to engineer the best possible umbrella from various household supplies. Encourage them to plan, draw blueprints, and test their creations, using the scientific method.

Learn more: Raising Lifelong Learners

23. Shake up some ice cream.

Third Grade Science Ice Cream More Than a Worksheet

Get kids up and moving when they shake their way to ice cream, made from scratch using ice and plastic zipper bags! Talk about heating and cooling as well as condensation while you enjoy your snack.

Learn more: More Than a Worksheet

What are your favorite 3rd grade science projects? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers Chat group on Facebook.

Plus, check out our favorite edible experiments and 50 Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for Teaching 3rd Grade.

23 Third Grade Science Projects Every Teacher Can Do

Posted by Jill Staake

Jill Staake is a writer living in Tampa, Florida. She's spent most of her life teaching in traditional classrooms and beyond, from 8th grade English to butterfly encounters, and believes learning is a life-long process.

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