Monday, June 28, 2010


Ages: This is designed for Little Kid Scientists, but there's nothing stopping the Big Kids from getting in on the fun

Materials:  Shells, rocks, leaves...any group of items that are similar with identifiable differences

This activity is designed to introduce Little Kid Scientists to the idea of physical properties.  Physical properties of matter can be observed or measured without changing what is being observed or measured.  They include appearance, color, texture, odor, density and others.  Later Kid Scientists will learn to distinguish between Physical Properties and Chemical Properties or use Physical Properties to identify something unknown.  For now, this activity will start Kid Scientists thinking about ways to describe shells (or rocks, or leaves or flowers...)


  • Share the collection with your Kid Scientist, looking at each item. 

  • Ask questions about what you're observing...How does that feel?  What color is this?  Is this bigger or is this one?

  • After you've observed all the shells in the jar, ask your Kid Scientist to put them into groups.  "How many groups of shells can you make?"  or "Can you sort the shells into different groups?"

  • Allow your Kid Scientist to sort the shells all by himself.  Be supportive, and ask questions but allow him to do the thinking.

  • Once the shells are sorted, ask him to describe each group.  "How did you decide which shells went into each group?"

  • You can help your Kid Scientist with new vocabulary by labeling the groups if he doesn't.  "Oh, all these are small shells" or "So this is the group of shiny shells"


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