Kids of every age love hands-on science! Teachers do, too, because the learning is a lot more meaningful when students see concepts in action. This roundup of sixth grade science experiments and activities has a little something for everyone–from biology and ecology to physics and chemistry. Bring on the science!
1. Build a Ferris Wheel
Most of your students have probably ridden on a Ferris Wheel, but can they build one themselves? Stock up on wood craft sticks and find out! Let them play around with different designs to see which one works best.
2. Make motorized tiny dancers
Build a homopolar motor to make little spinning wire dancers. It takes a little practice to get it right, but the instructions at the link below walk you through the process.
Learn more: Babble Dabble Do
3. See the effects of an oil spill
Learn why an oil spill is so devastating for wildlife and the ecosystem with this hands-on activity. Kids experiment to find the best way to clean up oil floating on water and rescue the animals affected by the spill.
Learn more: Kitchen Counter Chronicles
4. Make naked eggs
Students dissolve the calcium carbonate eggshell in vinegar and discover the membranes beneath that hold the egg together. It’s a unique and intriguing way to learn about acid-base reactions.
Learn more: Making Memories With Your Kids
5. Experiment with naked eggs
Now, submerge those naked eggs in corn syrup and water to learn about osmosis. The eggs shrink or grow, depending on the liquid they’re placed in—so cool!
Learn more: Steve Spangler Science/Growing and Shrinking Egg
6. Send water traveling down a string
Explore the properties of cohesion and adhesion with this simple experiment using only water and cotton string. Expand your learning by trying the same experiment with different materials and liquids.
Learn more: Rookie Parenting
7. Grow your own geodes in eggshells
The magic of crystals never fails to amaze! Crystal experiments are a favorite way to teach about supersaturated solutions. In this one, they’ll wind up with an amazing eggshell geode to take home.
Learn more: Sweet Paul
8. Make tissue paper stronger
Tissue paper is so thin your students will have no trouble pushing a wooden dowel through it when it’s stretched over the end of a toilet paper tube. But add salt to the tube, and everything changes, thanks to the increased surface area.
Learn more: Steve Spangler Science/Strong Tissue Paper
9. Launch a two-stage rocket
The rockets used for space flight generally have more than one stage to give them the extra boost they need. This experiment uses balloons to model a two-stage rocket launch, teaching kids about the laws of motion.
Learn more: Science Buddies/Two Stage Balloon Rocket
10. Grow a carbon sugar snake
You’ll probably want to take this giant carbon sugar snake experiment outside, but it’s surprisingly easy to do! Kids will be amazed, and they’ll learn about chemical and thermal reactions.
Learn more: KiwiCo
11. Assemble a steady-hand game
This is such a fun way to learn about circuits! It also brings in a bit of creativity, adding the “A” to STEAM.
Learn more: Left Brain Craft Brain
12. Change the color of a liquid in an instant
Want to see your kids gasp in amazement? Perform the iodine clock reaction. You only need a few drugstore chemicals to change the solution from clear to dark blue faster than students can blink.
Learn more: Science Bob
13. Turn milk into plastic
Use simple kitchen supplies to create plastic polymers from plain old milk. Kids will have fun sculpting the casein polymers into shapes while learning about the polymerization of plastics.
Learn more: Science Buddies/Milk into Plastic
14. Engineer a cell phone stand
Your sixth grade science students will be thrilled when you let them use their phones in class! Challenge them to use their engineering skills and a small selection of items to design and build a cell phone stand.
Learn more: Science Buddies/Engineer Cell Phone Stand
15. Do the Archimedes squeeze
It sounds like a wild dance move, but this sixth grade science experiment helps kids understand Archimedes’ principle. All you really need is aluminum foil and a container of water.
Learn more: Science Buddies/Archimedes Squeeze
16. Levitate a ping-pong ball
Kids will get a kick out of this experiment, which is really all about Bernoulli’s principle. You only need plastic bottles, bendy straws, and ping-pong balls to make the science magic happen.
Learn more: Steve Spangler Science/Floating Ping Pong Ball
17. Use a fidget spinner to understand inertia
Learning about the Laws of Motion? This experiment uses a fidget spinner with three lights to show how mass and torque affect inertia.
Learn more: From Engineer to Stay at Home Mom
18. Look for iron in your breakfast cereal
The human body needs iron to be healthy, and many breakfast cereals boast they contain it. Find out if that’s really true with this sixth grade science experiment that’s bound to surprise with its results.
19. Fire catapults to learn about trajectory
Sending stuffed animals flying in the name of science? Sixth grade students will be all over it! This simple catapult activity focuses on the trajectory of objects based on force and other factors.
Learn more: Education Possible
20. Build a heart pump model
Students gain a deeper understanding of the cardiovascular system when they construct a working model of a heart ventricle.
Learn more: Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus
21. Construct a pair of model lungs
Kids get a better understanding of the respiratory system when they build model lungs using a plastic water bottle and some balloons. You can modify the experiment to demonstrate the effects of smoking too.
Learn more: Surviving a Teacher’s Salary
22. Dissect an owl pellet
Dig into an owl’s undigested meals (it’s not as gross as it sounds!) to discover what their diet consists of. Owl pellets are readily available online, and kids will be intrigued by what they find.
Learn more: Gift of Curiosity
23. Turn a potato into a battery
This project is an oldie but a goodie! This experiment uses the potassium in the potato to conduct energy and can also be done with lemons or other high-potassium fruits and veggies.
Learn more: Kidzworld
24. Study sound waves with a spoon
With just yarn and a metal spoon, learn how vibrations create sound and explore the role of conductors.
Learn more: Edventures with Kids
25. Engineer a craft stick bridge
Challenge groups to build a bridge with Popsicle sticks and push pins and find out which design can bear the most weight.
Learn more: Scholastic
26. Make sparks with steel wool
All you need is steel wool and a 9-volt battery to perform this science demo that’s bound to make their eyes light up! Kids learn about chain reactions, chemical changes, and more.
Learn more: The Homeschool Scientist
27. Extinguish flames with carbon dioxide
You’ll have to heavily supervise this one, but there’s so much to be learned that it’s worth it. Create an acid-base reaction and “pour” the carbon dioxide onto lit candles to extinguish the flames. Students will learn about the elements needed to make fire, how gasses can act like liquids, and more.
Learn more: Steve Spangler Science/CO2 Extinguisher
28. Shake it up with earthquake science
Build simple model structures, then experiment to see how the actions of earthquakes affect them. Different simulations show how engineering can create buildings that withstand serious shocks—or not.
Learn more: Love To Know
29. Create a colorful cell model
There are lots of cell model projects out there, but this might be one of the cutest ones we’ve seen! And it’s easier to assemble than you might think.
Learn more: Angelicscalliwags
30. Extract DNA from a strawberry
It’s surprisingly easy to pull a strand of DNA from this sweet fruit. Teach your kids about genetics and DNA with this 6th grade science project that uses only basic household supplies.
Learn more: Steve Spangler Science/Strawberry DNA
31. Learn why leaves change colors in the fall
As chlorophyll breaks down, other leaf colors appear. This experiment helps explain the process. It’s a really neat hands-on tool for teaching about photosynthesis.
Learn more: How Wee Learn
32. Drop parachutes to test air resistance
Use the scientific method to test different types of material and see which makes the most effective parachute. Your students also learn more about the physics behind air resistance.
Learn more: Education.com
33. Design a biodome
There’s so much to learn in this sixth grade science project. Kids build a scale-model biodome to learn more about different environments and ecosystems, decomposition, the food web, and more.
Learn more: Teach Engineering
34. Create compost in a cup
Discover how nature recycles organic material by making and observing mini compost piles. Students will learn about ecology and decomposition with this useful sixth grade science project.
Learn more: The Happy Housewife
35. Dissect a flower
Take a flower apart bit by bit to learn more about botany. Grocery store lilies are inexpensive and large enough for kids to see and identify the various parts.
Learn more: The Oakland Toy Lab/Instructables
36. Turn an apple into a wrecking ball
This engineering project explores concepts like potential and kinetic energy and Newton’s third law of motion. Kids will have fun building an apple wrecking ball to knock down marker pins, testing their devices for force and accuracy.
Learn more: Feel-Good Teaching
37. Clone some cabbage
Cloning isn’t just for horror movies or hi-tech labs. A leaf of cabbage can easily grow a clone of itself. Students learn about asexual reproduction in this easy sixth grade science project.
Learn more: Education.com
38. Find out if tea and cola stain teeth
Use eggshells to explore how various beverages can stain teeth. This chemistry experiment also teaches important lessons about dental hygiene.
Learn more: Education.com
39. Clean up some old coins
Use common household items to make old oxidized coins clean and shiny again in this simple chemistry experiment. Ask students to predict (hypothesize) which will work best and then do some research to explain the results.
Learn more: Gallykids
40. Pull an egg into a bottle
This is another classic science experiment that never fails to delight. Use the power of air pressure to suck a hard-boiled egg into a jar; no hands required.
Learn more: Left Brain Craft Brain
Need supplies for your sixth grade science experiments? Check out these 16 Science Kits for Middle and High School That Make Hands-on Lessons Easy.
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