middle school science stations

7 Activities to Include in your Middle School Science Stations

Chances are, your middle school students are squirmy, chatty, and are still excited to do activities that are different from the traditional worksheet or Google Classroom activity. This is why I love using middle school science stations. They provide that differentiation that your students need, get them up and moving, and you can cover a lot in a single class period. 

There are plenty of benefits to using middle school science stations. For one, they increase engagement. They encourage movement and make learning more hands-on for students. Using stations is also time-efficient because you can add a lot of differentiation into a single class period. Sounds like a win, am I right?

The idea of having multiple types of activities in one class period may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! 

7 Activities to Include in your Middle School Science Stations.

Create Station

Your create station can be something as simple as drawing a diagram, a graphic organizer or an example of a topic you are teaching about. For example, if you are teaching about the water cycle, you can ask students to create a quick sketch of the water cycle that includes evaporation, precipitation, runoff and transpiration. Not a full poster, but something that takes no more than 6-10 minutes to complete.

Sorting Station

This one may involve a little bit of cutting but sorting activities can be beneficial to students, especially when learning new vocabulary. Make these simple! For example, if you are teaching about different types of heat transfer, you can have students quickly sort scenarios to fit in either a “conduction,” “convection,” or “radiation,” category.

Thermal Energy and Heat Stations

Research Station

The research station is a great way to apply some of that real-world connection to your topic. Give students 1-3 questions to quickly research and answer in a couple of sentences. You can ask questions like, “What examples of heat transfer occur within the layers of Earth?” or “How do satellites in space use the electromagnetic spectrum to gather information?” 

Experiment Station

You know that lab you’ve been putting off because it will only take about 5-10 minutes to complete? Using those types of mini labs in your stations activities are a perfect way to utilize experiment. These can be mini experiments such as using a flashlight and a prism to explore refraction or doing a short PhET simulation.

Properties of Waves Stations

Mini Quiz Station

Probably the most simple of all the options. Give students 5-10 multiple choice, true/false or fill-in-the-blank questions to answer. This one is also a great excuse to pull out some of those standardized test prep questions! It helps students get used to seeing the format of the questions they will expect on the actual exam. They could all benefit from the practice!

Observation or Demonstration Station

This station is focused around having students watch something, such as a demonstration by you, a simple online simulation, an engaging video, etc. Once they are done observing, have them describe what they saw. “Was this an example of a chemical change? Why or why not?” “Why does the food coloring move faster through the hot water vs the cold water?” Students will need to apply knowledge of what they have learned in previous lessons to answer these questions.

Physical and Chemical Changes Stations

Writing Station

Your ELA teaching colleagues will thank you for this one. Provide students with written response questions that relate to the topic of focus. “Describe the kinetic energy of molecules in a solid, liquid and a gas.” or “Explain the hierarchical structure of the Linnaean system and how it works.” You can even provide them with a simple CER prompt to have students practice using evidence to support a claim.

Make these your own. Make them work for you and your students. The purpose of using stations is to differentiate your instruction and make learning more fun while doing it! If you still need some convincing, read more about why you should start using stations in your middle school science class.