The first grade is when students are introduced to many science concepts for the first time. Biology is a main focus in this grade. If you are teaching a module on biology then adding a lesson that includes a 1st grad science project can be a great way to enhance your student’s learning.
Objectives and Goals
The objectives of having 1st graders complete a science project are really to just introduce science subjects to the students and to wet their appetite for science. After completing the project the students will be able to tell you what a hypothesis is, how to conduct basic field research and how to make scientific observations in the field.
1st grade science projects are generally best done as a group as opposed to as individuals. For this lesson the science project will be to conduct a local bird count. In order to prepare your students for this activity you will need to introduce them to several things. First you will want to explain what a science project is and how field work is conducted. You can accomplish these things by giving a short lecture on the topics and then by having the students complete an in-class species count. You will give each student a tally sheet that they will use to count how many students have brown hair, how many have black hair, how many have blonde hair and how many have red hair. You can also include a special group for anomalies (hair colors not included in the other tally boxes.)
Next you will need to provide students with instruction on the types of birds that they are most likely to see in the field study. You can use a multimedia presentation of local birds, documentaries or you can even use a picture book that features bird species commonly found in your area.
The field study can take any where from a half a period to a full period. You will give each student a tally sheet with pictures and names of common birds found in the area. To make recording data easier you will clip each tally sheet to a clipboard or sturdy piece of cardboard. The students will work in teams of two or three. They will walk around the playground or the target area and create a tick mark for each bird that they spot.
Before the end of the period you will regroup and share tallies. Students will be graded based on their tally keeping and their effort.
For homework you can assign that students conduct their own bird count at home. You can ask them to look for birds for one hour and make a tally of their home birds. They will need to bring in their tally sheets the next day, which should be signed by their parents to verify that the student actually conducted a bird survey and didn’t just created a series of random tick marks.