• How to Teach Science with Educational Toys

    Science is without a doubt the most exciting topic when it comes to hands on activities. The demonstrations, experiments and activities are really endless. Since Safari Ltd figurines are based on mostly animal themes there are hundreds of products to choose from to supplement your science curriculum. Below are a few fun ideas of how to incorporate animal figurines into different branches of science!

    Life Science

    Zoology

    The Life cycle lesson is a staple in every elementary school. Usually the lesson centers around the butterfly or frog life cycle. Luckily for you, Safari offers a variety of life cycle products for you to choose from. As a whole group read an educational article on the life cycle of your chosen animal. Scholastic and National Geographic have great options.

    As you go through the life stages show them the figurine. Pass the figurine around the classroom so each student has a chance to see it up close and hold it. If you are using a puppets then set the puppet to the specific life cycle stage and walk around the classroom to give every student a clear view. For older students you can incorporate a technology element and have them use the classroom computers to research life cycles of other animals and then present their findings to the class.

     

    Life Cycle

     

    Classification in high school delves pretty deep, but in the younger grades we start classifying animals into the 6 better known groups. Most commonly known animals fall into one of these 6 categories: mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, insects, and amphibians. The Good Luck Mini’s XL Bulk bag comes with approximately 80 mini pieces. Some are animals, others structure, or fantasy creatures.

    First, sort through the bulk bag and separate the figurines you can use, from the ones you can’t. Then break that large pile down into smaller piles. Make sure each pile has an array of creatures to fall under each of the 6 categories. After completing your lesson on classification, break your class up into small groups or partners. Give Each group a set of flash cards with the names of the animal categories on them. Have them sort the Good Luck Mini’s into the appropriate categories based on their characteristics. 

     

    Classification

     

    Physical Science

    Astronomy

    With Safari’s solar system set you can really compare the sizes of the planets. They come with a small tray included so you can see the layout of the planets in relation to the sun. As a fun, mid lesson assessment, you can have a few students try to place the planets in order from closest to furthest from the sun.

    You can also ask students to identify and pick out certain planets by name or characteristics. This is a fun and tactile way to assess their learning throughout the lesson. As an additional fun activity you can have students try to come up with fun/funny phrases to memorize the order of the planets. They can do this with partners or groups.

     

    Solar System learning

     

    Physics

    Energy is a difficult concept to grasp. Since you can’t physically see it, it's hard to really understand how it works. Most kids have a simple understanding of electricity. They know that it's what powers the lights in their house and is needed to charge up electronic devices. To start your lesson, you can have a quick brainstorming session.

    Ask your students what they know about electrical circuits or electricity in general. Jot down their ideas on the board. After teaching your lesson on open and closed circuits and conductors and insulators, have your students stand up. Tel them that they are going to be creating the electrical circuit with their body. There are two metal tabs on the energy ball. Have all your students hold hands.

    One student on each end of the ball must touch the tab to complete the circuit. Explain how our bodies are conductors and energy can pass through us. Then have one student use a piece of fabric to cover their hand and attempt the circuit again. This time you can use the example to explain how cloth is an insulator and stops the passage of the electrons. Here is a quick video of how Safari Ltd's energy ball works.

    Earth Science

    Paleontology

    If there is any topic that isn’t going to be difficult to get your kids excited for, its Dinosaurs. Learning about fossils is important in understanding our past world. To throw in a fun activity for your fossil lessons you can create a matching game with the Dino skulls Toob and Safari Dinosaur figurines. Break your class up into small groups and have them examine the dino skulls.

     

    Dinos

     

    Then have them look at the characteristics of both the dinosaur figurines and the dino skulls. Have them match up the living dinosaurs with their skull fossils. Then have them choose a dinosaur and sketch out the completed body skeleton of the Dino Skull that they chose. These can then be displayed on the classroom walls.

    Don’t forget to browse the safari website for more products to add to your science collection. Our themed Toobs are great for learning about animal habitats or individual species. The lifelike figurines are awesome for a detailed view of animals in the wild, and the Safariology collection has plenty of tools to help you along your scientific inquiry journey!

     

    DeAna Dunn is a former special education and science teacher turned stay-at-home mom to 3 toddlers. Living life in survival mode.

     

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