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Sound & Light Science Experiments for 1st Grade

Teaching Science has definitely not been my favorite subject to teach…even in first grade! It always seemed so challenging to explain such difficult concepts to kids!

examples of how to teach light and sound to 1st graders | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

I'm not gonna lie…I often pushed Science off in my plan book because I wouldn't want to face the questions from first graders {lame, I know!} When my school district decided to move over to the Next Generation Science Standards, I knew I had to get ahead of this curve and dive in deep. I set out to create easy to understand and do science lessons!

I am SO excited for my first unit in the 1st Grade Standards, Sound & Light! You guys, this labor of love was created so that ALL of us can easily teach the NGSS and actually understand it!

This unit is chock-full of step-by-step lessons, experiments, anchor charts, book suggestions, YouTube videos, response sheets and more to make sure your students understand Sound & Light through hands-on experiments and investigations.

Each lesson includes a learning target, background information, talking points, a book suggestion, and

Background Info for the Teacher

When I taught from our Science curriculum, I was always so overwhelmed by how much background info was provided! Was I going to be tested at the end? Eeeek!

In this Sound & Light Investigations unit I've shared just the right amount of information to totally “get” what you're teaching! There are also easy-to-understand vocabulary posters to help your students understand these big ideas!

background information and vocabulary for the ngss sound and light investigations unit | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

Each of the investigations uses super simple materials that you have around your classroom or can easily get from parents.  I've included a Materials List to make gathering these goodies easy!

materials list for light and sound activities for ngss 1st grade | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

I've also included a Family Letter to inform your students' families about what they're learning about!

What is a Scientist?

Kick off the unit by chatting about what being a scientist actually means!

Kids L•O•V•E science! Get them thinking about just what a Scientist does! It's fun to gauge their thinking and start meaningful conversations about science.  The bonus is that your students will start to see themselves as scientists!

what is a scientist sticky note idea for classroom | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch
lessons on sound graphic | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

I had SO much fun doing these experiments when I was making this unit, so I am certain you will, too! The best part – your students will definitely have fun and learn about light & sound along the way!

Sound Experiment Activities for 1st Grade

6 different lessons for teaching sound to 1st graders | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

You'll start this set of sound explorations by taking your kiddos outside for a sound hunt.  Give them a while to explore and record the sounds they hear using their senses.  They'll fill out a mini book and add their sounds to a poster.

goin' on a sound hunt activity for 1st graders | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch
children writing down the sounds they heard on their walk | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

Once your students have an awareness that sound is everywhere, you'll move into lessons to get them making sounds and understanding sound waves.

This kazoo is SURE to be a hit in that exploration!

easy to make kazoo for students to learn about sound | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

In the following lessons, students will continue to explore how sound moves and how they can change the sound things make.  Simple supplies from around your classroom will give students a chance to make their very own instruments!

play that funky music card | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch
a tissue box used for teaching students about sound movements with rubber bands | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

Thankfully I had this cutie to help me test out this hanger instrument! This lesson helps students see how sound moves through different materials.

a 1st grader doing a sound activity with a clothes hanger | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch
sound on the move paper card printout | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

The final lesson in the sound exploration gives students a chance to see how sound moves through solids, liquids & gases.

papers showing how sounds move through solids liquids and gases | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

By the end of these experiments, students will have a good understanding of sound! I've included book suggestions, YouTube links, and additional ways to extend the lessons!

Light Activities & Expirements for 1st Grade

lessons on light graphic | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

Here's a peek at all the lessons for sound.

list of all the lessons on light for 1st graders | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

To start, your students will explore why light is needed! Without light, we can't see anything!

Then, you'll move into a discussion about Natural vs. Artificial light.

natural vs artificial light worksheet | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

The students will follow up the discussion with this PowerPoint game.  Check out a sneak peek below!

After understanding that light is necessary to see and that there are various ways to see light, you'll move into a bit meatier ideas.  In the next lesson, kids will investigate different materials to see how light reacts.

Grab some cheap flashlights from the dollar store and a few different cups and you're all set to go!

using 3 different types of cups as an activity to teach 1st graders how light passes through material | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

Through exploration, the students will see that light affects transparent, opaque, and translucent materials differently!

By far, my favorite lesson is #4 – Eye Tricks!

Students will do a light experiment to see just how refraction works! I bet this will be a crowd pleaser in your classroom!

fun activity with water and cups to show how light reacts | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

Check it out in action!

reflective targets and objects worksheet for light unit 1st grade | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

Have you ever met a kid who doesn't love a mirror? Well, turn that fun and curiosity into some learning with these explorations. 

Students will explore with mirrors, toys, and lights to see what happens with light!

To wrap up your light study, you'll give students a chance to head outside and explore shadows!

student outlining a shadow on a paper to understand light | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

Lessons on Communication to Better Understand Sound & Light

To show their learning, students will wrap up the unit combining their knowledge of sound and light!

First up, they'll create a telephone using string and cups. Don't you remember doing this when you were a kid? Now, you can do it again…and share the science behind it!

worksheet for students to show comprehension of how light and sound works | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch
paper cup with a string through it for a science experiment about sound | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

And the final project will be creating a way to communicate with a friend…without speaking! Your students are sure to get creative with this activity!

what's that you say worksheet | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch
second sheet about communication tools for 1st graders | Lucky Learning with Molly Lynch

Recap of Sound & Light Experiments for NGSS 1st Grade

I promise this entire Sound & Light Investigations unit is TEACHER friendly! The kids will have so much fun learning and exploring that they won't even realize they're learning those new Next Generation Science Standards!

Go find it in The Lucky Shop here!

Want to check out some Sound & Light books for teaching this unit?
This post has my favorite light and sound books!

Slainte!

2 Responses

  1. Hi,
    Thank you for the great FOSS info. We are also teaching Sound and Light for the first time. Can you share what your report card grades for this unit?

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