Biology is a fascinating subject, however in order to get the students interested in the subject, you can make use of some simple experiments to peak their interest. Putting biology into action is a far more interesting way to engage kids instead of sticking to theorized classes. It builds on their keen learning abilities to explore what biology as a subject offers. In case you are looking for some simple biology experiments for kids at school or even at home, here are some suggestions to help you with this.
Simple Experiments for Kids
Experiments need to be simple, in terms of the apparatus used as well as the concepts explained. Generally, you can start with experiments that deal with plants, flowers or even the observation of insects, soil / food samples and so on.
Experiment #1 - Colored Flowers
This is a very simple and fun biology experiment, which will serve to teach children about water absorption systems in plants.
- A cup of water
- Food color
- A flower with an intact stalk
- Empty clean flask
- First of all, mix the food color in the water. Make sure there are no lumps and that the color dissolves completely in the water.
- Now pour the colored water into the flask. Make sure that the flask is clean and doesn't have any impurities on its surface.
- Now, take the flowers (with intact stalks) and place them in the flask, so that half of the stalk is submerged under water.
- Place the flask on a window sill or any other surface that gets sufficient sunlight.
- Tell the children to observe the color of the flowers over a period of time.
Plants need water for sustenance; this simple experiment demonstrates how water is absorbed by the stalk, and distributed throughout the plant to its leaves and flower.
Experiment #2 - Observing Bacteria
Well, although the title might give a notion that the experiment is too advanced - it is not! It is a simple and easy experiment to introduce the children to some species of bacteria.
- A compound microscope
- Clean empty cup
- Unused ink dropper
- Microscope slide
- Cover slip/glass
- First of all, take a small quantity of yogurt (half a teaspoon) and drop this into the cup, adding two teaspoons of water to it.
- Mix the yogurt and water with a spoon, so as to create a homogeneous suspension.
- Using the ink dropper, place a drop of this yogurt suspension on the clean, sterilized microscope slide. Make sure you don't take more than a drop.
- Place the cover slip on the drop of suspension. Now, the slide is ready to be observed under the microscope.
- Now simply allow the children to observe the sample under the microscope.
Usually the commercially manufactured yogurt include Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. You can tell the children about these bacteria which are in fact helpful to our systems, and not harmful like other kinds of bacteria.
Experiment #3 - Flexi Bones
This experiment will show kids how calcium (a mineral) and collagen (a protein), are the two important elements, that are needed in order to keep the bones strong and flexible. If any of the two elements becomes deficit, then there is a possibility that the bones would lose their strength and/or flexibility. Lack of strength can cause them to break easily, while lack of flexibility can cause them to bend, each of which, is a dangerous condition.
On the lighter side, it'll also encourage children to drink lots of milk for calcium and eat dark-green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and collards for collagen.
- Drumstick bone - 2 per student
- White vinegar (ordinary)
- Plastic containers with lids
- It is wise to have the students (or their parents) clean the bones thoroughly before wrapping them up in plastic bags and placing them in the refrigerator, for the experiment the following day at school.
- Have students place their drumstick bones in a plastic container.
- Label the containers as 'Vinegar' and 'Oven'.
- Submerge the first bone in vinegar, enough to let it cover the entire bone's surface.
- Place the lid on the container, making sure it is airtight.
- Leave the bone in vinegar in the school lab for about 3 days.
- Have students drain the vinegar out, gently wiping down the bone.
- It is highly advised for parents (or teachers) to be around and use a kitchen mitt when handling the bone, as it will become really hot when baked.
- Bake the bone in the oven at 250 degrees for 3 hours.
- Remove the bone from the oven and let it cool down.
Students will notice that the bone that was soaked in vinegar has a rubber-like texture to it, being extremely malleable when touched. This is because the vinegar's acidic content was able to break down calcium over time. On the other hand, the baked bone will be brittle and would break easily because baking has caused the collagen in the bone to break down.
The bottom line is, therefore, that calcium and collagen both are essential for sturdy and tensile bones.
Kids will be drawn to such experiments if you dedicate a time of the week during school hours to expose them to such interesting practical classes. Have them try similar experiments at home with help from their parents, and have them bring to class their feedback about what they learned from the experiment.