I hope you enjoy this guest post from Alison with some great ideas for getting your high school students interested in science. I have 2 elementary school boys who love science and these sound great for them as well!
Science is best learned if it is fun and hands on. That’s why science experiments are the best way for high schoolers to learn the fundamentals of science, especially environmental science. From learning how clouds form to how students can reduce their carbon footprint, there are a ton of experiments that high schoolers can perform in and out of the classroom. Below is a look at a few of the very best experiments that will help turn any apathetic teenager into the next brilliant environmental scientist.
Turn salty water fresh
This experiment utilizes the power of the sun to make salt water into potable water. For this experiment, you will need a sunny day, so check the forecast with a weather app by Apalon Apps. First, place some tap water mixed with salt in a wide plastic basin and then place a smaller jar inside the basin so that the water line is below the lip of the jar. Next, cover the basin with a simple, household plastic wrap and secure it with a rubber band or tape. Place a stone on top of the plastic wrap in the middle, above where the jar is. Place the entire contraption in direct sunlight for an hour or two. You will find that water has collected in the jar, but the salt has been removed. The sun evaporated the water in the basin, which removed the impurities, and as it condensed on the plastic it fell back into the jar.
(Crystal’s note: see our dead see experiment for another saltwater learning idea.)
Clean up the environment
Teenagers often get maligned as being interested in only themselves. Here’s a chance to prove everybody wrong by having your children organize an environmental cleanup. Identify a place that needs to be cleaned up, such as a park that is suffering from a lot of litter. You can make it a one-day event or a long-term campaign. If you really want to give your students a sense of purpose, you can have them canvas local businesses for donations and volunteers to help out in the cleanup. It’s a great way to give teenagers a sense of civic engagement while also learning about the environment.
Write science fiction
Unleash your high schooler’s creative side by getting them to write a science fiction story, but one that is as scientifically accurate as possible. You could, for example, have them write about a natural disaster, which would give them an incentive to learn about how earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, and other natural disasters happen. Or maybe a space adventure where they have to learn about how to survive in space and how gravity works. You may even want to give them a few science fiction books to read to get the ideas flowing and also as a way of encouraging them to read more!
Getting high schoolers excited about science can feel like an impossible task. The truth is, however, that by making science hands-on your high school students will have the incentive they need to start showing a lot of enthusiasm for the environment. They’ll probably have so much fun they won’t even realize they are learning!