Teacher friends, I don’t know about you, but every year at this time I am TIRED. Come November I’ve got a countdown on my whiteboard to Thanksgiving break, closely followed by the longestthreeweekseverrrr until winter break and I.AM.READY. The LAST thing I have is the energy to come up with fun Thanksgiving activities for my various high school science classes.
If this is you, know that you are NOT alone! And I am here to help! Today I have four fun ideas for Thanksgiving science activities that you can do with your high school science students. These are especially perfect if you have classes the Monday/Tuesday leading up to Thanksgiving (I am not even LISTING Wednesday as an option because I am praying that isn’t the reality for any of you!!!!)
Thanksgiving Science Activity Idea #1: Turkey Wing Dissection
Anatomy teachers on a budget, this idea is for you! Maybe you are in a teaching situation where finding the funding for dissection specimens is difficult. If so, this is the perfect time of year to do dissections with readily available specimens at your grocery store – TURKEYS!
Grab a few small turkeys at your local grocery store and have your students practice dissecting them. An analysis of their wing anatomy is especially relevant if you have recently covered the muscular and skeletal systems! If you Google “chicken wing dissection” you can find a zillion freebies for how to do this, and the chicken and turkey anatomy is really similar. But I encourage you to not take this too seriously and keep it informal and fun while still being a great relevant learning experience for your students!
Thanksgiving Science Activity Idea #2: Pumpkin (Pie) Drop
I have a set of free Halloween science activities for high school science teachers and in it is a pumpkin drop activity. Since here in the United States, we have Thanksgiving after Halloween, pumpkins are often still plentiful, so you can easily do the pumpkin drop investigation for Thanksgiving time, too!
This is PERFECT for physics or physical science classes. If you wanted, you could have your students bring in their leftover pumpkins. You could even make it a turkey drop if you prefer to tie it into the Thanksgiving theme more closely. Or better yet (and more cheaply), buy a bunch of pumpkin pies and do a pumpkin PIE drop. See who can create the best device to protect the pie.
Thanksgiving Science Activity Idea #3: Sweet Tea Chemistry
I live in the southern part of the United States so down here, the Thanksgiving meal is lunch and the drink of the meal is sweet tea (I grew up further north where the Thanksgiving meal was served at dinner time and the drink of choice was wine – you choose for yourself who does it best ;)) Because of this, an investigation that utilizes sweet tea is perfectly relevant seasonally (and really, sweet tea is always relevant in the south!)
My sweet tea reaction rate lab is a HIT with my physical science students during our chemistry semester every year. It’s such a fun opportunity to use this lab as an inquiry investigation to introduce factors that affect the rate of a chemical reaction. Best of all, it uses very simple materials and can EASILY be done in a stations format – which is perfect if you are limited on space and equipment! You can check it out here.
Thanksgiving Science Activity Idea #4: Turkey Tired Research Activity
Last but not least, I’ve got a simple CER-based research activity that I love to do with my biology students – but it can really serve as a Thanksgiving activity for any science class. I call it “Turkey Tired”, but essentially students research whether “turkey makes you tired” is fact or fiction. You can grab it and use it with your students today for FREE by clicking here!
I hope these four ideas for Thanksgiving science activities get you excited to celebrate and do something festive and fun with your students this month!
If you do any of these with your students, reach out to me on Instagram and let me know!! I LOVE hearing from you all when you put It’s Not Rocket Science®️ideas into action!!