22 Science Experiments for Spring
Celebrate spring with these free lessons and activities for enriching hands-on STEM related to spring weather, flowers, plants, and more!
STEM Activities to Explore Spring Themes to Science Class
After the winter months, the return of spring brings fresh patterns of weather, animal behavior, plant growth, and more. There are plenty of opportunities for students to explore science with activities related to spring!
- Spring is a Season
- Wind and Rain
- Plants and Flowers
- Bugs and Worms
- Other Experiments
Note: Science Buddies Lesson Plans contain materials to support educators leading hands-on STEM learning with students. Lesson Plans offer NGSS alignment, contain background materials to boost teacher confidence, even in areas that may be new to them, and include supplemental resources like worksheets, videos, discussion questions, and assessment materials. Activities are simplified explorations that can be used in the classroom or in informal learning environments.
Spring is a Season
If you teach younger students, you might teach about the seasons and their characteristics. The arrival of spring is a good opportunity to talk about seasons.
What happens during spring? With the What Season Is This? lesson, students explore weather patterns and other changes common to each season.
Note: For additional lessons and activities related to teaching about seasons, see Seasonal Science: The Reasons for the Seasons, Birthday Season Weather Report, Kinesthetic Astronomy: Longer Days, Shorter Nights, and How Sunlight Warms the Earth.
After flying to warmer places for the winter, many species of birds return in the spring, build nests, and lay eggs. These STEM activities pair nicely with learning more about bird behavior, nutrition, and habitats.
Bird nests are often tucked away out of sight or up high, but not all birds build nests in trees! In the Build a Bird Nest activity, students learn about the many types of nests birds build and why different birds build nests in different locations. As students think about the reasons for these differences, they also build their own model bird nests using natural materials.
Welcome returning birds with a homemade feeder! In spring, birds will be more able to find sources of food, but a bird feeder can be a great way to invite birds closer for observational study. Students can experiment with types of seed or the design of the feeder to see how important different variables are in successfully setting up a feeder that attracts local birds. In the Build a Bird Feeder to Study Birds activity, students build their own bird feeders from craft and recycled materials. These feeders help students discover the types of birds in the area and what types of bird food they prefer.
Tip: For a related discussion about setting up a science or engineering design project to increase the number of birds who come to your backyard, see the Which should you choose? Scientific Method versus Engineering Design Process video.
Wind and Rain
April showers bring May flowers, as the saying goes! Spring is often characterized by wet and windy weather. Students can learn more about meteorology and weather science with the following experiments and activities.
Spring may bring lots of rain, but how much rain really falls? Using a rain gauge is one way to keep track of rainfall! In the Make a Rain Gauge to Study Precipitation lesson, students learn about the importance of measuring precipitation, explore the function and design of a rain gauge, and then make their own. With "rain" from a hose or homemade "rain maker" watering cans, students can test their rain gauges and investigate to find out if rain gauges of varying sizes record the same amount of rainfall. (Tip: If it's possible to set a rain gauge up outside the classroom, we suggest having students monitor the amount of precipitation collected over the remainder of the school year!)
Where does all the rain go? Students may learn about major phases of the water cycle from a song, but the Make a Miniature Water Cycle Model activity helps put the water cycle into action in a way they can see firsthand. With a miniature water cycle model made in a plastic bag, students can see how water moves in and out of the atmosphere in a cycle of precipitation, evaporation, and condensation. The model also enables discussion about how the water cycle includes water that soaks into land, runs off mountains, and gets absorbed by plants. Explanatory information covers infiltration, transpiration, sublimation, and surface runoff.
Related: In the NGSS-aligned Make a Water Cycle Model lesson, students learn about the water cycle and how it is powered by energy from the sun and the force of gravity. Building a larger physical model of the water cycle in a transparent box and using a lamp as a heat source, students observe evaporation, condensation, precipitation, infiltration, and surface runoff.
Explore more: For additional lessons and activities, see 11 Activities to Teach Water Cycle Science.
When talking about wind, meteorologists measure and quantify based on the speed of the wind. In the Make an Anemometer to Measure Wind Speed lesson, students build anemometers (wind speed meters) with paper cups and straws and then experiment to see how the spinning of an anemometer can be used to monitor wind speed.
Windy spring days are great for learning about aerodynamics and flying kites! Use the How Tails Help a Kite to Fly activity to design and make simple sled kites. Students can then head outside to fly their kites and investigate to see if tails help kites fly. (Tip: To see this activity in action, see Taking Flight: Doing Fun Science at Home during School Closures.)
Knowing how strong the wind is blowing is one thing, but from which direction is the wind blowing? In the Wild Wind! Making Weather Vanes to Find Prevailing Winds lesson, students learn about global, prevailing, and local winds and make wind vanes out of paper, straws, and soda bottles. They then monitor local winds and use their data to complete a Wind Rose diagram that helps show prevailing wind direction.
9. Rain Garden
Make a model rain garden with the Fight Flooding and Pollution with...a Garden?! project and experiment to see how these gardens can stop flooding and help fight pollution.
After spring rain showers, you might see rainbows stretching across the sky. How many colors will you see? What order are the colors in and why? What causes a rainbow? A simple rainbow has a lot of physics to explore!
What does the wavelength of visible light have to do with the colors of a rainbow? In the How Many Colors in a Rainbow? activity, students experiment with creating rainbows using a pan of water, the sun, and sheets of colored paper. Refraction of light creates the colors we see in a rainbow. In this activity, students create rainbows, learn about the refraction of light, and investigate the colors they see.
Note: For more lessons about the physics of light, see 16 Science Lessons About Visible Light.
Plants and Flowers
Plants and flowers start growing again as temperatures warm, and many gardens and crops are planted in the spring.
11. Plant Needs
With the Doctor, What Does My Plant Need? lesson for early elementary school, students learn about four variables plants need to survive. Role-playing a meeting between a plant scientist and a plant owner, students try to uncover what may be wrong with an unhealthy plant.
13. Flower Colors
What pigments make up the vibrant colors of spring flowers? With the Springtime Science: Exploring the Pigments in Red Flowers activity, students use paper chromatography to investigate the individual color pigments in flower petals. For a more in-depth experimental procedure, see the Reveal the Red: Exploring the Chemistry of Red Flower Pigments student project. (Note: for students interested in using paper chromatography for an independent science project, the Candy Chromatography Kit is available and can be used for leaf, candy, flower, and marker projects.)
The video below shows how chromatography can be used to investigate the colors in leaves, a process similar to the one used for the flower colors activity.
Through photosynthesis, plants convert light, carbon dioxide, and water into the oxygen and sugars they need for energy. In the Measure Photosynthesis with Floating Leaves activity, students conduct a floating leaf disk experiment that lets them see the production of oxygen during photosynthesis. For NGSS-aligned lessons to explore photosynthesis, see the two-part Study Photosynthesis with the Floating Leaf Disk Assay middle school lesson plan. In Part 1, students use a floating leaf disk assay to demonstrate the production of oxygen gas during photosynthesis. In Part 2, students experiment to see how different variables affect the rate of photosynthesis in plants. For an elementary school lesson, see Plant Cycles: Photosynthesis & Transpiration.
With the Flowers Seeking Pollinators lesson, students learn about plant reproduction and use real data to find out which flowers get the most attention from different pollinators.
"European honey bee extracts nectar" by John Severns
Note: For additional experiments and activities, see 10+ Activities and Lessons to Teach Plant Science.
Bugs and Worms
As temperatures warm up, you may notice increased activity among various bugs, insects, and worms.
16. Worm Observation
In the Worm Observation activity, students set up an observation container where they can study the behavior of earthworms.
Note: For other related experiments and activities, see Bug and Insect STEM Roundup and Teach About Biodiversity with Free STEM Lessons & Activities.
While many species do lay eggs in the spring, eggs as a "theme" is also common in spring months with Easter celebrations and traditions. These activities help connect hands-on science with egg-related traditions.
Square eggs? Hard-boiled eggs are commonly ovoid. When peeled, they have the same shape as the raw egg. With the Shaping Hard-boiled Eggs activity, students experiment with molding eggs into different shapes. What shapes work well? What is the most important variable in making an egg conform to a new shape? For added inspiration, see Wacky Tricks: Doing Fun Science at Home during School Closures (Activity #7).
Combining baking soda and vinegar is a classic chemistry experiment to explore chemical reactions, and the Launching Homemade Baking Soda Rockets activity contains directions for using the reaction to launch small film canister rockets. With a bit of creative thinking, this same principle can be applied to make and launch plastic egg rockets. How high can a baking soda rocket fly?
Using tablets of colored dye isn't the only way to dye Easter eggs! The Dye Eggs Using Silk Ties for Egg-cellent Colors activity guides students in using silk ties to dye eggs. Students investigate the chemical reaction involved and the role vinegar plays in transferring the color in the acid dyeing process. For a more in-depth student science project, see Dye Eggs Using Silk Ties for Egg-cellent Colors. Be inspired! See this student success story.
Note: For additional experiments and activities, see Egg Science for K-12 Students. For other Easter-themed STEM connections, see:
Other Spring-themed Experiments
20. Peeps Science
Peeps® candies are popular in spring months, and no spring STEM collection would be complete without our roundup of fun activities you can easily do with students using Peeps. See 5 STEM Activities with Marshmallow Peeps for five science experiments that are easy to plan and execute.
With the 3D Print with Icing: No 3D Printer Required! activity, students can "3D print" small spring-themed shapes (or "parts") using colorful royal icing. This activity helps students understand the way 3D printers build up ("print") shapes layer by layer. (For another activity to simulate the additive process of 3D printing, see 3D Print with Sand: No 3D Printer Required!.)
Measuring the circumference of the Earth without any high-tech equipment may sound impossible, but Eratosthenes used geometry and shadows to do this many, many years ago. In the Measure the Earth’s Circumference with a Shadow activity, students repeat the process and use a shadow to calculate the Earth's circumference. Note: This experiment needs to be conducted within two weeks of the fall or spring equinox, when the Sun is directly overhead at the Earth's equator.
Science Buddies Lesson Plans are NGSS-aligned.
Collections like this help educators find themed activities in a specific subject area or discover activities and lessons that meet a curriculum need. We hope these collections make it convenient for teachers to browse related lessons and activities. For other collections, see the Teaching Science Units and Thematic Collections lists. We encourage you to browse the complete STEM Activities for Kids and Lesson Plans areas, too. Filters are available to help you narrow your search.
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