I am so excited to be sharing my favorite end of year science units to teach in first grade with you: Dinosaurs, Objects in the Sky, Zoo Animals and Light, Sound and Heat.
You all know that time of year… you are burned out and so are your students..
You are patiently (or impatiently) counting the days until summer break and looking for anything that can spice up your routine.
I'll let you in on my secret:
SUPER FUN SCIENCE UNITS!!
I love these because they stil provide a lot of great instructional opportunities, writing opportunities and PLENTY of opportunities to align your daily read aloud with your science and writing block to create a great theme week!
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Ok, kids and dinosaurs just go hand in hand, so of course this is one of my favorite first grade end of year units.
We talk all things, starting of course with some vocabulary. We go over dinosaur names, but we also talk about what a paleontologist is, what they do, and why their work is so important.
We discuss dinsoaur diets, habitats and how to identify different dinosaurs using their key features.
Some of my favorite books include:
- Dinosaur Combat by Rupert Matthews
- Mister Bones: Dinosaur Hunter by Jane Kurtz
- Can I have a Stegasaurus Mom? by Lois Grambling
Light, Sound and Heat
This end of year favorite for first grade is filled with so many concepts and objects that students find in everyday life!
I love starting this unit with an interactive anchor chart (seen below). I premake the anchor chart and have students come up and help me fill it in. This is a great way to “share the pen” and get students engaged with a unit from the beginning!
I also love the “All About Light, Sound and Heat” pages because it allows students to identify things that they see or use everyday to help them understand the concepts of light, sound and heat.
Also, for this reason, I thought it was very important to include color photographs of these types of objects for students to use.
We do plenty of sorting activities like types of sound and types of light because I think it is important for students to understand what are natural sounds/light sources and which ones are man-made.
In a non-COVID world, the end of the year means our annual zoo field trip which makes Zoo Animals one of my favorite first grade science topics!
What I love about the topic of Zoo animals is that most students are already familiar with MOST of these animals, and therefore have a good knowledge base. I typically spend less time on vocabulary in this unit, I just use the colored vocabulary cards to briefly review what kind of animals students would see at a zoo.
For me, I use this unit to focus on reviewing good sentence structure by writing about our animals. Instead of writing:
“A hippo is very big.”
I encourage students to expand and use adjectives like:
“A hippo is very big with dull teeth to eat plants”.
This unit has a lot of good sorting activties like “Animal Speeds” and “Animal Diets” that are GREAT independent activities.
I typically get my students started on these sorting activties and then I will pull a small group for RTI/intervention or pull a student for one on one testing.
Objects in the Sky
Ok, this is not only an end of year favorite, its an all year favorite science unit of mine because it is SO fun!
Objects in the Sky includes Daytime v. Nighttime including the Sun, Moon and Stars. Students love to draw things that they see in daytime and nighttime and I especially love having them do creative writing projects like “If I Were an Astronaut”.
Again, creative writing is SO important because it allows students to summarize what they have learned, but do it in a non-traditional, fun way!
Here's what other teachers are saying about this unit: