Science Buddies' third grade science projects are the perfect way for third grade students to have fun exploring science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Our third grade projects are written and tested by scientists and are specifically created for use by students in the third grade. Students can choose to follow the science experiment as written or put their own spin on the project.

For a personalized list of science projects, third graders can use the Science Buddies Topic Selection Wizard. The wizard asks students to respond to a series of simple statements and then uses their answers to recommend age-appropriate projects that fit their interests.

Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-8th
Coming up with new ideas is hard! How do engineers design new things or improve existing ones? Engineers and inventors use different brainstorming techniques to help them think outside the box and come up with new ideas. In this lesson plan, your students will practice brainstorming with a method called SCAMPER. Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-7th
In this two-part inquiry-based activity, students will practice using the scientific method while learning about decomposition, exploring how some types of garbage will decompose while others will not. Students can then go on to design their own experiment to test different variables affecting the rate of decomposition. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-5th
Teach your students about the engineering design process with this fun lesson plan. They will design and build a ball-launching machine to knock down a target. Optionally, they can enter their designs in the 2020 Fluor Engineering Challenge for a chance to win a cash prize for your school! Teachers, note that middle school and high school versions of this lesson plan are also available, as is a Spanish language version of the basic challenge. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 3-5-ETS1-3. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
  • 3-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-5th
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Are paper airplanes a nuisance in your classroom? They don't have to be! Those distractions can be a constructive learning opportunity: use them to teach your students about the engineering design process. In this fun lesson, you will be the "customer" ordering a paper airplane, and your student teams will be engineering companies that will manufacture planes. Before they start making planes, they need to define the criteria and constraints of this engineering problem. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-7th
How can we determine the locations of tectonic plate boundaries? How can we use seismic waves to pinpoint the epicenter of an earthquake? In this activity, students will explore these and other questions using seismic data and triangulation. Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-5th
Our planet's surface may be mostly covered in water, but how much of that can we use? In this activity, students will see how water is distributed across different sources, how much can be used by humans, and will brainstorm ways to decrease their usage of fresh water. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 5-ESS2-2. Describe and graph the amounts of salt water and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth.
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd
Do your students think making things float in mid-air is a magic trick? Show them how you can do it with science! In this lesson plan they will learn about interactions between magnets and figure out how to make them float. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 3-PS2-3. Ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other.
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-7th
In this activity, students learn about plant reproduction and use real data to construct explanations about which flowers are the most attractive to different pollinators. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 3-LS1-1. Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.
  • 4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
  • MS-LS1-4. Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants, respectively.
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-11th
Have you ever thrown away food after a meal? Have you ever thrown away a whole piece of food? What are some of the reasons you threw away that food? During this Food Waste Audit, students will explore their own impact on our food system. Students will brainstorm solutions to reduce their food waste and be challenged to try out their solution! Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
Lesson Plan Grade: Kindergarten-5th
Students determine the coefficient of restitution (or the elasticity) for super balls. Working in pairs, they drop balls from a meter height… Read more
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Free science fair projects.