If you want to see your fourth grade science students get excited, tell them they’re going to do an experiment! Hands-on learning is both fun and effective, so we’ve rounded up some of our favorite experiments, activities, and projects for your students to try. These are also great for parents who want to help their kids expand their learning at home. Get ready for some science fun!
1. Blow unpoppable bubbles
A soap bubble you can hold in your hand? It’s true! A little glycerin makes the soap bubble layers stronger, so you can even toss them gently from person to person.
Learn more: Learning Resources
2. Grow crystal names
No list of fourth grade science experiments would be complete without crystals! Kids of all ages love growing crystals, making this an ideal way to learn about supersaturated solutions. The classic experiment gets a new twist when you have kids shape pipe cleaners into their own names first.
Learn more: Playdough to Plato
3. Engineer a drinking straw roller coaster
STEM challenges are always a hit with kids. We love this one, which only requires basic supplies like drinking straws. (Get more fourth grade STEM challenges here.)
Learn more: Frugal Fun For Boys and Girls
4. Make a wigglebot
Who knew electricity could be so adorable? Explore the science behind batteries and motors by creating a simple “wigglebot.” Experiment with weights to throw the motor off balance and create fun designs.
Learn more: Research Parent
5. Grow bacteria in petri dishes
Your students will truly feel like scientists when they perform this classic experiment. They’ll prep the dishes with agar, swab different surfaces, and see what bacteria they grow. It’s gross science, but also easy and impressive.
Learn more: Steve Spangler Science/Growing Bacteria
6. See coastal erosion in action
Here’s a cool experiment to include in your unit on oceans. Build a miniature coastline, then see how wave action erodes the shore.
Learn more: Little Bins for Little Hands
7. Construct a working flashlight
You’ll only need a few supplies to guide your students in building their own LED flashlights. They’ll learn how electricity travels and the way circuits work. The slideshow available through the link makes this lesson a breeze for teachers, too.
Learn more: Mystery Science
8. Erupt a lemon volcano
Early chemistry experiments with acids and bases are always a lot of fun. This one uses the natural acids of lemon juice and adds a little food coloring to up the wow factor.
Learn more: STEAM Powered Family
9. Sink and float to explore density
Ask your students if any of them have ever gone swimming in the ocean and noticed that it’s easier to keep afloat there than in a pool. Then, try this experiment to learn why that happens.
Learn more: Science Kiddo
10. Discover a density rainbow
Colorful, simple, and impressive: it’s the trifecta of fourth grade science experiments! Wow your students by layering colored sugar water as you learn about density, adhesion, and cohesion.
Learn more: Steve Spangler Science/Sugar Rainbow
11. Become human sundials
Choose a sunny day and grab some sidewalk chalk—your students are about to become sundials! They’ll practice measuring skills and learn about the movement of the sun across the sky.
Learn more: Scholastic
12. Transform milk into plastic
Plastic seems incredibly modern, but people have been making casein plastic from milk for centuries. In this science project, students experiment to create the formula for the best milk plastic. They’ll be amazed at the results!
Learn more: Science Buddies
13. Simulate an earthquake
The ground under our feet may feel solid, but an earthquake changes that pretty quickly. Use Jello to simulate the earth’s crust, then see if you can build an earthquake-proof structure.
Learn more: Teaching Science
14. Mine for chocolate chips
If you’re learning about mineral resources, this quick hands-on activity is an interesting way to explore the effects of mining. Kids have two minutes to find as many chocolate chips as they can in a cookie. Will they smash it up and destroy it entirely? Pick them out one by one? This experiment can lead to intriguing discussions.
Learn more: Sarah’s STEM Stuff
15. Assemble an edible DNA model
Use licorice sticks, four different colored candies or fruits, and toothpicks to build an edible strand of DNA. Learn about chemical bonds and the helix shape, then eat your creation!
Learn more: wikiHow
16. Layer an edible soil model
Digging in the dirt is fun, but it’s even more fun when you can eat the dirt when you’re done! Create edible soil layer models, complete with gummy worms, for a simple earth science project. (Find more edible science projects here.)
Learn more: Super Teacher Blog
17. Brew elephant toothpaste
OK, this isn’t really what elephants use to brush their teeth, but this big foamy exothermic reaction needs a big name! Wow your class using simple materials including dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and a packet of yeast.
Learn more: Science Bob
18. Test Sharpie solubility
Find out if Sharpie markers are really permanent with this 4th grade science activity that uses the scientific method to explore solutes and solvents.
Learn more: Around the Kampfire
19. Build a hovercraft
It’s not exactly the same model the military uses, but this simple hovercraft is a lot easier to build. An old CD and a balloon help demonstrate air pressure and friction in this fun fourth grade science experiment.
Learn more: Education.com/DIY Hovercraft
20. Learn about capillary action
Kids will be amazed as they watch the colored water move from glass to glass, and you’ll love the easy and inexpensive set-up. Gather some water, paper towels, and food coloring to teach the scientific magic of capillary action.
Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me
21. Find out if mood rings really work
Apply the rigors of the scientific method to mood rings! Find out what makes mood rings change color, then see if they really reflect a person’s mood.
Learn more: Education.com/Mood Rings Validity Test
22. Create a smartphone projector
No projector in your classroom yet? No problem! Have your students help you construct one for your smartphone using a cardboard box and large magnifying glass. They’ll learn about convex lenses and how the brain processes images too.
Learn more: The STEM Laboratory
23. Set up a pulley system
The science of machines never fails to fascinate kids. In this experiment, they’ll design their own pulley system to make it easier to lift an object.
Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me
24. Design a working elevator
Engineering activities make for amazing hands-on learning. Challenge your students to build an elevator that can safely lift a certain amount of weight.
Learn more: Teachers Are Terrific
25. Turn a penny green
Experiment with simple chemical reactions as you turn pennies green using vinegar. Don’t forget to tell them that the Statue of Liberty is green because of the very same reasons.
Learn more: Buggy and Buddy
26. Use marshmallows to explore Boyle’s Law
Seeing Boyle’s Law (which relates pressure and volume of gasses) in action makes it a little easier to understand and remember. This simple 4th grade science experiment uses marshmallows to make a great visual.
Learn more: Hojo’s Teaching Adventures
27. Create a new plant or animal
Kids will really get into this project, indulging their creativity as they invent a plant or animal that’s never been seen before. They’ll need to be able to explain the biology behind it all, though, making this an in-depth project you can tailor to any class.
Learn more: I Love 2 Teach
28. Form ocean currents
Learning about oceanography? Demonstrate how ocean currents form using warm and cold water (and a few plastic sea creatures for extra fun!).
Learn more: Life Over C’s
29. Understand the impact of non-renewable resources
This is a neat Earth Day activity. Discuss the differences between renewable and non-renewable resources, then have your class form “companies” to “mine” non-renewable resources. As they compete, they’ll see how quickly the resources are used. It’s a great tie-in to energy conservation discussions.
Learn more: The Owl Teacher
30. Explode a Mentos geyser
Here’s another classic for the 4th grade science experiments list: diet soda and Mentos! Everything you’ve heard about this experiment is true, so choose an outdoor location and get ready to make an enormous mess as you explore nucleation.
Learn more: Steve Spangler Science/Mentos Geyser
31. Investigate decomposition
Yup, it’s gross… so your kids will love it! Seal food items in a plastic bag and experiment to see what factors affect their decomposition, helped along by a heaping helping of mold.
Learn more: Mystery Science
32. Explore blood components
Use simple kitchen supplies to create a jar full of “blood” that includes plasma, platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells. (You can even snack on the blood cells along the way!)
Learn more: Almost Supermom
33. Watch gravity beads prove Newton’s Laws
You’ll need a loooooooong string of beads for this experiment. Make your own by taping dollar store strings together, or buy a long bead garland. Pile them in a cup and start the beads going; it’s fascinating to watch inertia and gravity at work.
Learn more: Teach Beside Me
34. Make a model seismometer
Explore the science of seismology and learn how scientists study earthquakes and their effects. This model seismometer is easy to build and fun to experiment with.
Learn more: Science Sparks
35. Conduct an egg drop
Here’s one more classic to round out our list of 4th grade science experiments: the egg drop! The great thing about this project is that kids can do it at any age, with different materials and heights to mix it up. Hit the link below to get an egg drop project designed just for 4th graders.
Learn more: Buggy and Buddy
Keep the STEM excitement going with these 21 Fantastic and Free Fourth Grade Math Games.
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