Easy Scientific Method Activities for Middle School

Looking for easy scientific method activities for your 2020 classroom? These activities are low prep and work great for distance learning!

Can you relate to any of the following?

  • Are you looking for a science lab that requires few (or no) shareable supplies?
  • Looking for easy scientific method lab activities that students can do at home?
  • Are you teaching science on a cart (eek!) but still want to make an impact with labs and activities?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you’re in the right place!

2020 has thrown the world of education into chaos! As science teachers, we need to find new ways to modify and adapt our curriculum to meet the unusual needs and safety requirements for our learners while keeping our students engaged!

I wanted to share two of my favorite scientific method labs that will help you get started in this crazy year!

I love these easy scientific method activities….

  • They don’t require supplies that are fancy or expensive.
  • They don’t waste tons of disposable supplies.
  • They are easy for students to understand if they are working independently at home.
  • They include differentiation so they can be used with upper-elementary through middle school students and easily tweaked.
  • They use Claim, Evidence, and Reason to tie all parts of the lab together at the end!

The Heart Rate Lab

When I think of easy scientific method activities that pack a punch, the Heart Rate Lab Activity quickly comes to mind ! In this lab, students investigate how the level of intensity of an exercise affects their heart rate.

This lab is perfect for distance learning or a Covid Classroom because students can perform these fun activities independently. There is a lot of movement, which the students love. It can be done inside (running in place) or outside in the fresh air.

I love that the only supply needed is a stopwatch (which most students have on their phone.).

heart rate scientific method lab

Before you begin, students will need to learn how to measure their heart rate. I usually show them how to measure it with two fingers in their neck. This year, I was surprised at how many smartwatches actually did the work for them!

The overall concept of the heart rate lab is easy for students to understand. This makes it a great starter lab for selecting variables and listing constants.

There are many options for gathering the data. It can be averaged and analyzed as a class or the data can be completed individually.

Since the students are investigating levels of exercise intensity, this always results in a beautiful line graph. Students can easily see the relationship between the heart rate and level of exercise. Because of this, it lends itself nicely to writing a C-E-R paragraph for the conclusion.

The Paper Helicopter Lab

This lab is an enormous hit in my classroom every year! The kids are actually giddy when they drop the paper helicopters and test their hypotheses.

This is a great lab for 2020 because of its simplicity. Students only need a paper template and paperclips, which are inexpensive.

In this this lab, students will fold a paper helicopter to explore the scientific method. They will use paperclips to determine if the number of paperclips affects the speed at which the helicopter flies. 

Students can do this lab in pairs easily with social distancing. One student can drop the helicopter and the other can be the timer and recorder.

If students are at home, it can be a fun family activity!

Take a look at these ready to use, no prep activities!

Here’s what you’ll find inside!

  • Experimental Design Diagram with scaffolding
  • Data table – three differentiated versions
  • CER Graphic organizer for the conclusion (three differentiated versions)
  • Graphing Activity (3 differentiated versions)

Loved this–so well thought out and organized! Just purchased your gum lab too to continue to emphasize doing labs with CER conclusions! –Kristine K.

I have used this activity for years. Your organization and supplementary materials for recording data, etc… make the activity even more meaningful for my students. — Marci B.

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