science experiments and activities for children

  • Great-Lakes-Aquarium-in-Duluth-Minnesota-visit

Duluth Minnesota Great Lakes Aquarium Visit

Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth Minnesota

Miss Owl and Ms. Frog visited the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, MN. From interactive displays, to videos, to a scuba diving Santa, it was pure educational fun. They did take their parents with, of course, and everyone learned new things.  Although I’ve been to Duluth about a hundred time or more since childhood, we frequently drive through. For one thing, the aquarium was only built in 1989. It began when Lake Superior Center incorporated as an organization devoted to freshwater education. It opened its doors in 2000 on the waterfront. Driving through with a car loaded for the cabin made stopping by difficult. A special trip is best to fully enjoy the visit. There are many lovely hotels and restaurants along the shore, such as Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory where I held an owl and hawk by adopting them.

School groups visit, and there are teacher workshops and resources to access.


The interactive exhibits drew the attention of Miss Owl and Ms. Frog right away.


Special displays were all around. It was difficult to know what to look at first.


Oh, look, it is Scuba Diving Santa! That was very fun for the season. And who is that with him in the tank?


The Aquarium is home to North America’s largest sturgeon.


There are several marine touch-pools, also.


The shipwreck exhibits explain the hazards of the Great Lakes, where there have been over 6000 wrecks.


The Otters’ Birthday Party was held in this area, but not at this time. See more images on Instagram.


The interactive exhibits drew the attention of Miss Owl and Ms. Frog right away.

The Aquarium is within walking distance of the iconic lift bridge

The building is within walking distance of the famous lift bridge. It is interesting to see the boats pass by!


The electric eel is a “Fan Favorite.” Not so much for me, but it is interesting.

  • climate-change-info-text-earth-day-Easel-activity-and-assessment

Climate Change Earth Day Printable Informational Text and Writing

Climate Change Earth Day Printable Informational Text and Writing

Printable climate change informational text fill in the blank, draw, and write for Earth Day to inform students about pollution. A few lines of a poem runs through the pages, and it completes on one of the final pages. There is a children’s YouTube video suggestion to accompany the pages.

Climate-Change-Grades-3-6-information PPTX


Work-pages to print PDF

This is a sample of one of the work pages to use with the word bank.
The last page in the 29 page printable has all the phrases from the work pages speech bubbles and is the full poem.
The printable pages begin with a word bank used in the work pages that are informative about climate change.
There are several blank writing frames, as well as this writing prompt.
I hope some teachers find this useful.
Thank you for reading,
You might also like the following free Climate Change downloads. 

Climate Change Captives 2035 Paperback, eBook, and Free Novel Unit


Climate Change Captives 2035 Paperback, eBook, and Free Novel Unit

Free Jamboard Google App

Information about the Jam is on this post

The book is Available on Amazon

In this futuristic book, the world has changed due to global warming. All characters are learning to cope in a new world faced with the effects of climate change from a previous society who disregarded the build-up of greenhouse gases. Living towers house those willing to stay inside community walls while resisters live in the nearby forest. Transportation is mostly limited to walking. Going outside to be in the sun involves dealing with rampant poison ivy which thrives on the increased carbon dioxide levels. Air transport can only be used in emergencies. Readers meet the main student characters Brea, Robert, Kalli, Tristan, who want to work on solutions to help the earth.

Brea and Robert who live in the forested area both earn scholarships to attend city center secondary schools. Robert’s parents have been missing since their house slid down a hill and was covered in mud during a land bomb cyclone. Robert has also won an award allowing him and his grandfather to move to an apartment tower due to his asthma. Kalli and Tristan have a once in a lifetime opportunity to fly from Northern Ireland to the USA to work on climate solutions at the city center school.

Transportation vehicles were suddenly banned in 2028. Most work efforts were directed to renovating large apartments in tall towers previously built to accommodate more families. Construction toward travel was stopped. Wars were banned, being bad for the environment as well as human life. The Slip-Away spaceship, built but never really taken seriously by wealthy business people, becomes essential to them when they wish to avoid prosecution for polluting the planet.

References provide documentation and online links for the many facts mentioned in the story. Download your free pack at the next link.



character traits for three main characters in the book

Three of the characters are Brea, Cara, and Mr. Washington. Students will circle the true statements to show understanding of the text read. Additionally, they might discuss how they knew which answers were correct or incorrect by citing text evidence.


Teachers are welcome to select which pages fit their class situations, or use them as large group discussion if there is a document camera available. The first one is “Memory Matching” which helps students organize the characters and events. Teachers may allow students to use the book with this page, work in pairs, or work in cooperative groups to find answers. It also may be used as an assessment near the end of the book.

settings work page -- students circle correct answers

For this settings page, students will circle the correct statements. Again, text evidence might be discussed for explaining why some answers were correct or incorrect.

cause and effect work page

The cause and effect work page will help students think through what happened as a reaction to another event.

There is an answer key with probable answers for all the work pages, although in some cases answers will vary.

There are more worksheets, also, as you can see by clicking the PDF link, above.


Thank you for reading!


Wise Owl Factory LLC Books


Books written by Carolyn Wilhelm for children have Lexile reading levels as well as free supporting teaching resources for teachers and homeschools.

Alex Asks About Auntie’s Airplane Day: An Adoption Day Story is an easy reader picture book

Alex Asks About Auntie’s Airplane Day: An Adoption Day Story by Carolyn Wilhelm, illustrated by Pieter Els

Read more at the blog post

eBook for Kindle


Free airplane, gotcha, or adoption day coloring cards PDF available, link at this post

500 L Lexile Level Informational Page on

Alex Asks Grandpa About the Olden Days: A 1940s Story

Alex Asks Grandpa About the Olden Days: A 1940s Story

Written by Gary L. Wilhelm, Edited by Carolyn Wilhelm, Illustrator Pieter Els

Read more at the blog post

Paperback (Amazon)

Kindle eBook (Amazon)

Free teaching resources pack PDF available, link at this post

700 L Lexile Level Informational Page on


The Frogs Buy a New House: An Economics Story for Children

Frog Theme Day for the Sub Tub or Class – in our Premium Area

by Carolyn Wilhelm, illustrated by Oxana Cerra

Read more at the blog post

Paperback (Amazon)

Kindle eBook (Amazon)

Free teaching resources pack PDF available, link at this post

700 L Lexile Level Informational Page on

A Mom: What is an Adoptive Mother? by Betsy and Carolyn Wilhelm, illustrated by Pieter Els

A Mom: What is an Adoptive Mother? by Betsy and Carolyn Wilhelm, illustrated by Pieter Els

Read more at the blog post

Paperback (Amazon)

Kindle eBook (Amazon)

eBook for Nook (Barnes and Noble)

Free teaching resources pack PDF available, link at this post

600 L Lexile Level Informational Page on


Little Art City on the Prairie: Impressions of Faulkton South Dakota Book

by I. Reid, Gary L. Wilhelm, and Carolyn Wilhelm

Read more and the blog post

Paperback (Amazon)

Kindle eBook (Amazon)


  • review-of-the-economist-9-21-2019-climate-change

Review of The Economist Climate Issue 9-21-2019

A Warming World: The climate issue

The 9-21-2019 Economist magazine has many articles about climate change. They say their special issue is not all about the carbon-based climate crisis. The June 2019 Time magazine climate change issue had only one article. There is a free work page for students and answer key for teachers at this link for the Time magazine article. I wanted more information and consulted The Economist. Unlike the one-time article, however, except for short exerpts, the infomation is not free online. Libraries probably subscribe to the magazine, though

Near the beginning paragraph of the first article, it says:

“From one year to the next, you cannot feel the difference.”

For elementary students, I would say that from similar seasons they have experienced in their short lives, they might not feel much difference. Summer is summer, winter is winter, and so on to children. In summer, we swim and have picnics. In winter, we skate and go sliding. On some days, there might be an indoor recess due to rain or snow. The weather might seem different to them, while they are (like us) unaware of global warming. The cover of the September 21st 2019 edition of The Economist shows stripes on the cover, revealing temperatures have risen one degree Celsius.

What is the big deal about a one-degree rise in temperatures? This link is to an infographic “Earth Temperature Timeline,” that shows in cartoon form why a degree is a big deal. They mean Celsius when they talk about the rise in temperature, not Fahrenheit. For every 1-degree change in Celsius, there is a 1.8-degree change in Fahrenheit. The degree rise information would be a good topic for math class.


Article one in The Economist’s climate issue is about how the changing climate touches everything. They say the issue “must be tackled urgently and clear-headedly.” They state the foundations of the world economy and geopolitics are carbon-based. It is not simple to solve the issues. They think this does not mean “shackling capitalism.” They say climate (alone) is never the entire story. This is why the topic of climate change is so controversial.

Other Background Information to Know

Before I continue the review of the articles, I want to share some information to help put this issue in context, in addition to the Earth Temperature Timeline (link above). The next image is from my free climate change PowerPoint for grades 3-6. Often people think climate change is inevitable due to our position third from the sun. The atmosphere of Venus is 96% carbon dioxide and has a temperature of 467 °C or 872 °F. Yet Mercury is closest to the sun and has an average temperature of 332 °C or 167 °F, and has a very thin atmosphere. Venus should be a lesson to us as we trap more and more carbon dioxide within our own atmosphere.


Back to The Economist Climate Issue

We know what to do about climate change, but the difficulties in implementing solutions are complex. The article suggests using pricing on carbon could help innovations not yet imagined. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all. Although some countries have made improvements, it is difficult to know which countries are doing what when emissions in the world-wide atmosphere are considered. Twelve economies cause the most emissions. Capitalism and economic freedom must include global warming solutions.


The following section is Briefing Climate Change. The first part is “What goes up.” The article explains the gasses in the atmosphere and people who discovered them decades ago, such as Joseph Fourier (French), John Tyndall (Irish), and Svante Arrhenius (Swedish). None foresaw that our emissions would be nearly 20 times as much as in 1900. The article explains why it has increased so much. Before 1950, scientists thought carbon dioxide would be absorbed in the oceans, which Roger Revelle disproved.

“In 1965 the carbon-dioxide level was 320 parts per million (ppm). The carbon-dioxide level is now 408 ppm, and still rising by 2ppm a year.”

Their ice-age chart helps us understand the changes. The chart subject line says it is “like an ice age in reverse.” The scientific information is complex, in-depth, and provided in the magazine. 90% of the warming is in our oceans, but that is not solving the problem; it is warming the earth. A different source online explains that land icebergs reflect sunlight, but when land icebergs melt, the water is blue and doesn’t reflect, which means it absorbs heat from the sun.


The United Nations signed the 1972 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since then, there are been more emissions. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports there has already been a warming of more than 3 °C in the Arctic. The Paris agreement said the rise should be under 2 °C, so that is important to know. Maps and charts help students understand the dense text in the article. There is no certain temperature change that means anything catastrophic will happen to earth, but just as water boils at 212 °F, we are seeing certain heating at this time. The longer we wait, the harder it will be to make the necessary adaptations.

The obstacle course (Green New Deals) article evaluates whether big plans to deal with climate change can make a difference. America stands out as being the largest contributor to global warming and is reluctant to address the problems. The article says Americans who believe in climate change outnumber those who do not five to one. It has become a presidential election campaign issue. The many efforts to help the climate in the USA are described. The stances of the Democratic candidates are also described. The rhetoric of some Republicans has begun to change a little. Virginia coal miners are being retrained as beekeepers, which will help the environment, but larger nationwide programs are needed. More about other countries, The Panama Canal, and Bolivia are included in The Americas section.

Planning for rising sea levels: In Deep Trouble is the Asia article in this issue. The dramatic picture shows a family in North Jakarta, waist-deep in water carrying some of their belongings and trying to get to safety. Thirteen of the twenty cities predicted to have the most significant increases in annual losses caused by flooding are in Asia. According to Andreas, a geologist, the sea is rising, and the cities are sinking in parts of northern coastal Jakarta. Forty percent of Jakarta is now below sea level. Extensive amounts of money have been spent in Singapore. Systems were built, and as explained in the article, problems persist.

Fires in the Amazon are not the only ones smoldering on Earth. Indonesia, Sumatra, and Borneo have had fires. They need rain. The difficulties of stopping the fires from economic to location near peat bogs, weather, and unpaid fines are described. Peat fires burn underground much longer than above ground.

The Asia section says China has upheld pledges about greenhouse-gas emissions, but more must be done. It says power firms there proposed 500 new coal-fired power stations that, if built, will damn the planet. The article is very thorough.

Oil markets and the Middle East and Africa situations are also covered. How climate change makes it harder to reduce poverty in one of the world’s poorest states, Malawi, is explained.

The Europe section begins with “a warmer Russia” which some in Siberia are not against. New shorter shipping routes are opening up, and Russia is spending money on developing the routes. However, calamities due to increased warmth are also happening. Unstable weather problems are happening. However, most Russians are not very concerned with the temperature rise. Germany is reducing reliance on coal with some controversy. Southern Europe is seeing climate change destroy ancient olive groves. Again, the explanation is provided. Lessons from the largest offshore wind market in Britain are featured. Britain’s success is helping other countries who benefit from their experiences.

The International section explains the plight of small islands. I wrote about this in the Time magazine climate change article which is free and online for students and teachers. However, The Economist has an excellent article on this problem. The Business section is about climate change capitalists. The Science and technology section is also about climate change. As the beginning article states, climate change touches everything the magazine reports on.

Thank you for reading, Carolyn

The video below is motivational and is not about climate change. However, an analogy may be made to climate change as it is about degrees of heat, although we do not need to turn up the heat on Earth. We don’t know the degree at which problems on earth will be insurmountable. One degree makes a big difference.


You might also like

Climate Change Captives 2035 and Project SAVE: Students Help Save the Earth (Climate Captives)

In this futuristic book about how the world has changed due to global warming, students create projects to help save the earth. Living towers house those willing to stay inside community walls and resisters live in the nearby forest. The years 2019, 2027, 2028, and 2030 are especially important in this Cli-Fi middle-grade story. The dystopian ending is only for a few people who contributed to and thought they were escaping the end of life on Earth. Characters develop their own projects after researching and choosing their topics, and communicate by secret code when necessary. Endnotes provide documentation and online links for facts.

Download the free student pack at the link below:


and the Jamboard file at this link

Winner of the LiFE Award for environmental books. 

Sue Ready of the Ever Ready blog reviewed the blog at the next link:

Climate Change Captives 2035 on Amazon

You might also like

Climate change informational text for Earth and other days with answer keys on Teachers Pay Teachers


  • climate-change-grades-3-6-pptx-and-PDF-free

Climate Change for Grades 3-6 Free PowerPoint

Climate change information for grades 3-6 free PowerPoint and PDF version of the presentation for teachers and homeschools. The instant downloads are at the next links. Click to download your copies.

Climate-Change-Grades-3-6-information free instant download PPTX

Climate-Change-Grades-3-6-information free instant download PPTX


Climate-Change-Grades-3-6-information PDF

This picture is of Castleview Academy watching and learning from the presentation. homeschool-children-learning-about-climate-change

I recently posted about being trained by the Climate Reality program during August of 2019, provided a free K-3 climate change PDF Presentation, and interviewed someone about their pollinator-friendly lawn. I’ve noticed a lack of climate change materials for elementary grade levels, and today am adding a presentation for grades 3-6. I hope this will help some teachers at school or homeschool begin to discuss the topic with their students.


Begin by asking the students if they have heard about climate change. What have they heard? Are they aware of disagreements about this topic? 


Do students know about sources of global warming? Have they seen factories, pollution, garbage dumps, and other possible causes of the problem? 


The ozone layer is at the top of about ten miles high of atmosphere. The ozone layer has become thinner and has allowed more heat from the sun to be trapped beneath it, which is adding to global warming. 


Have the students seen flash flooding? Do they know what causes this problem? Rain that falls too fast is not absorbed in the ground, so the result may be a flash flood.

everyone can help save the Earth

Climate change has certainly been in the news on an almost daily basis this summer. Record heat waves, record amounts of icebergs melting, record storms, and increased fires have been news topics. The students will be aware of some of this information. The presentation has a few suggestions of what they might consider doing to help the Earth — not just on Earth Day.

No wars are fought over sunshine which makes solar power. No wars are fought over wind power. Wars are fought over fossil fuels. Discuss the fact that one hour of sunshine provides enough energy for the power needs of the earth for an entire year. Have the students discuss their ideas to help reduce global warming.

Thank you for reading, Carolyn

the sun provides all the energy the earth needs for a year every hour

You might also like the following resources.


  • what-causes-rain-bombs-and-flooding-free-PowerPoint-for-teachers-K-3

Climate Change for Children K-3 Free Presentation

This post has a climate change for children K-3 free discussion PDF because such resources are few and far between. I hope it will help teachers who will find the free download at the next link. It is a PDF for use with small or large groups.

what-causes-rain-bombs-and-flooding-k-3-free-presentation PDF

When we talk about the ozone layer in the sky, it is surely confusing to children who look way up and feel like the sky goes on and on forever. Especially to them, the distance must seem great and there is no obvious line in the sky.

Climate Change for Children K-3 Free Presentation

I thought such a discussion might begin with talking about the water cycle. Probably the class has done an experiment to show condensation. For sure children have noticed rainy days cause puddles to form.

Climate Change for Children K-3 Free Presentation

From this discussion, it could be pointed out that icebergs and glaciers are melting. Children might be aware if their parents watch the news or they have heard some other way. Hasn’t it seemed that climate change used to make the news every year or so, while this summer it is making a daily appearance? The actual explanation is more complicated as this article suggests. Land icebergs reflect sunlight, but when land icebergs melt the water is blue and doesn’t reflect, which means it absorbs heat from the sun. Children do not need to understand the finer details, though.

Climate Change for Children K-3 Free Presentation

It helps to show an image of possible sources of too much carbon dioxide, as well. The children can probably tell about when they saw a factory with smoke coming out of smokestacks. They have probably noticed some other such things, as well.

explaining-climate-change-to-children-K-3 (11)

It is important that the children do not feel they are at fault. Of course, they are not the people who did such things.

explaining-climate-change-to-children-K-3 (25)

They might be reassured to know animals also did not cause pollution.

explaining-climate-change-to-children-K-3 (26)

Of course, it is important to tell children how they might help the Earth. They have probably been told things like turn off lights when you leave a room, recycle, and so on. But now they might feel these things are especially important.

explaining-climate-change-to-children-K-3 (28)

We have friends who have scuba dived all over the world. They stopped about ten years ago after 25 years of such travel. They mentioned how much ocean life had deteriorated over that time period due to pollution. We are all being made aware of plastic trash in the ocean and what a problem it is to animals. The chemicals from the plastics harm ocean plants as well, and will for decades to come.

Now storms are different each time. We have worse storms, rain bombs, land cyclones, and so on. It seems we often have a hundred-year storm happening somewhere. If you listen to the news or read the newspaper, the amount of news about climate change has become overwhelming.

This PowerPoint is basically about recycling, and it shows what some grown-ups are doing to help. It has 35 slides. Another really important lesson for children is about reducing what we use. Stay tuned for more educational resources about reducing and reusing.  So often, lessons end at recycling, and there we are done. Not so! I hope this helps children understand why recycling is important and that teachers will find the download helpful.

Thank you for reading, Carolyn

I took the Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Minneapolis, MN, in August 2019


  • Frog Theme Day for the Sub Tub or Class -- have a full day ready for a substitute for that emergency when plans are too difficult to make.

Frog Theme Day for the Sub Tub or Class

Frog theme day plans can be an ace in the hole for that time when a substitute is needed on an emergency basis. Be ready with a full day of print and go activities and place in a tub for a sub in the event you ever need to just call and simply tell the substitute where the materials are located. Of course, a seating chart, maybe name tags, a copy of class procedures, and the class schedule should also be printed. Those kinds of items may already be in the substitute folder, maybe even in the office. This is a 97 page PDF with literacy, writing, math science, and social studies. There are options in the math and writing pages to help provide differentiation. The teacher would indicate which students should work on which pages. It is available on a password protected page on this blog. Get the password by signing up for our newsletter. The password changes each month.

Just Print and Go

For reading, there is a readers’ theater play with 14 student parts. The scripts would need to be printed and stapled. Perhaps the cast name tags would also be printed as an option. Have two students practice each part so that at the first reading half the class has a turn to perform, and then the rest at the second reading.  readers' theater play with 14 student partsHave you heard the frogs are moving from the fishbowl all the way to the pond? A growing family needs more room. This economic and social studies story matches the reading play.


Two writing sets of prompts are provided. One set has more support with illustrated words for emergent writers. There are student and teacher rubrics.


Another set of writing prompts is for more independent writers.


The lifecycle of the frog is presented through an interactive student notebook activity. There is also a bridge building activity using only a single piece of paper and a few crayons for weight.


There are phonics bump games for the “fr” sound.


The math pages include some bump games for 3-addends as well as worksheets at different levels.


Download a free sample pack at this blog post link.

frog-fun-day-sample-pack-pagesYou might also like the paperback or eBook version of The Frogs Buy a New House: An Economics Story for Children. It is available on Amazon. Lexile Level 750


Thank you for reading, Carolyn

  • experiment-clean-a-penny-with-everyday-kitchen-staples

Penny Cleaning Science Experiment Using Kitchen Staples

This post is about a penny-cleaning science experiment using kitchen staples. Did you know things like ketchup, salt, vinegar, and lemon juice will clean and brighten pennies? If your pennies are all bright and shiny, you can keep them in water overnight to allow them to darken for this experiment. Warning, children might like to do this over and over! (more…)

2023-03-21T08:10:23-05:00By |Categories: For Parents, For Teachers, Free, Science|Tags: , , |
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