Middle school science is a key part of any 7th grade curriculum, but words like chemistry, biology and physics can make a young teen’s eyes glaze over. Why not introduce 7th grade experiment ideas that incorporate subjects middle school students already love? Experiments that include music, food and friends can help students stay engaged and guarantee that science lessons stick. These simple experiments can be conducted in the classroom or at home.
Music Is The Key
Middle school science students may be introduced to psychology and anthropology through an experiment with the major and minor keys of music. A teacher or musician can help students identify songs in each key. Students recruit friends and family to listen to songs in both keys and document the emotional response to the music. Does one type of music make the subject feel happy, while the other type makes him feel sad? Students can create survey questions and document the results.
Curds and Whey
Introduce middle school students to biochemistry and food science through cooking experiments that explore concepts such as coagulation. An experiment that compares how different types of milk curdle can introduce discussion on proteins, acids, bacteria and pH levels. Warm some milk and remove it from heat. Then add acidic liquids, such as lemon juice or vinegar, cool the milk and strain it. Different types of milk will produce different amounts of curd.
Is It Real?
Middle school students spend every hour of their lives observing and interpreting the behavior of their peers. Experiments in human behavior can introduce concepts of psychology, biology and neurology. Students can document and interpret their friends’ smiles and determine whether they are genuine or fake, following an experiment originated by 19th century neurologist Guillaume Duchenne.
Students can recruit volunteers to do a taste test with some of their favorite types of foods. By covering the volunteers’ eyes or nose, students can explore which sense is most dominant and how smell impacts taste. This safe, inexpensive experiment uses common items from the kitchen and introduces concepts in anatomy and neurology.
Conducting experiments that appeal to middle school interests can bring science out of the textbook and onto a teen’s list of “favorites.”