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Student Science Center Activities for Fifth-Graders

by Bill Reynolds

Elementary schools often favor science centers as “class trip” destinations due to the family-friendly environments and hands-on educational strategies associated with this type of museum. When visiting their local science center, fifth-grade students can learn about everything from marine biology to human anatomy to the surface conditions on Mars. Science centers have a variety of activities fit for a wide age-range of elementary school students, including fifth-graders.

Learning Games

Science centers invariably feature various types of fun educational games meant for elementary school students. Such games are usually hands-on and do not require the supervision of science center staff members; children can experiment with various solo and team activities at their own pace. The Liberty Science Center in New Jersey features a “Bob the Builder” experience where elementary school children can participate in various construction-themed activities and games, such as using kid-friendly tools to make simple “repairs” on familiar household appliances.

Interactive Exhibits

Most science centers feature interactive exhibits tailored to provide participants with a tangible learning experience based on a particular science theme. Such exhibits geared toward the elementary grades can help children learn by stimulating their senses. An example of an interactive science center exhibit appropriate for fifth-graders is the “Forces of Nature” exhibit at Arizona Science Center. This earth-science exhibit uses technology to allow students to bodily experience a sampling of hurricane-force winds, earthquakes and other such forces of nature.

Educational IMAX Experience

Many science centers feature IMAX theaters on or near their premises. While such theaters may include typical Hollywood blockbusters, they will often include daily showings of educational IMAX documentaries dealing with such diverse topics as ocean life, space exploration and rain forest ecology. These documentaries are invariably family friendly, and showings can be used as learning activities for fifth-grade students. The IMAX theater associated with the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburg features educational documentaries based on the Hubble telescope, arctic life and the migration of butterflies.

Standing Exhibits

Many science centers feature unique standing historic exhibits where fifth-grade students can view and learn about objects and machines that have significance to the scientific community. The California Science Center features a permanent exhibit where visitors can view the actual Endeavor and other artifacts and images that pertain to the vehicle’s history and missions.

About the Author

Bill Reynolds holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from Rowan University. He has written hundreds of articles for print and online media, drawing inspiration from a wide range of professional experiences. As part of the UCLA Extension Writer's Program, he has been nominated for the James Kirkwood Prize for Creative Writing.

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