Leprechauns and rainbows and science, oh my! If you’re lucky enough to be spending St. Patrick’s Day with upper elementary school students, then hold onto your hats, because things are about to get wild!
Sure, you could settle for boring old green cupcakes and shamrock decorations, but why stop there? Get your green on with some St. Paddy’s-themed science experiments that will have your students feeling lucky and learning at the same time.
We’re talking slime, rainbows, and marshmallows! So don’t let the luck of the Irish pass you by – grab some goggles and get ready to have a blast with these St. Patrick’s Day science activities!
Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite St. Patrick’s Day science activities and experiments that are perfect for March 17th (or anytime in March).
These activities are easy to set up, exciting for your students, and with a bit of luck, will have them begging for more Irish-themed fun!
Both of the activities that I’m sharing, plus 3 more, are available in the St. Patrick’s Day Science Investigations & Experiments resource. If you love the idea of having holiday-specific science activities and experiments for your students, be sure to check out Easter Science Ideas, Valentine’s Day Science & 100 Days of School Science.
Why St. Patrick’s Day is Celebrated
Your students are probably familiar with St. Patrick’s Day and the traditional symbols associated with the holiday, like the clover, the color green, and St. Patrick’s Day parades. However, they may not be familiar with the history behind the March 17th celebration.
Saint Patrick was actually born in Britain and was kidnapped as a teenager and taken to Ireland. Although he eventually escaped, he traveled back to Ireland as a Christian Missionary. He is the patron saint of Ireland and has been celebrated on the date of his death, March 17th, every year since the 9th century.
Irish Americans brought the tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to the United States as early as the 1600s. Historically, the holiday was a celebration for Irish people to feast and have a day of prayer and rest. Today, the holiday is celebrated all over the world as a way for those who have Irish ancestry to celebrate their heritage. Celebrations consist of parties, parades, feasts, and leprechaun hunts.
If you’d like to give your students a background on St. Patrick’s Day, try this high-interest, non-fiction passage: St. Patrick’s Close Reading and Comprehension Questions.
St. Patrick’s Day science Activities
There are so many fun ways you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by conducting science experiments and short activities. These are a few that my students have loved over the years and I make sure to leave time in my lesson plans for them every March!
Dissolving Lucky Charm Marshmallows
Everyone loves the marshmallows in Lucky Charms cereal, or at least most people I know do. The marshmallows are usually the first pieces to be picked out or eaten from a box of Lucky Charms, so be sure to keep them under lock and key until you’re ready to do this experiment!
This St. Patrick’s Day experiment encourages students to test 3 different liquids to see which one will dissolve the marshmallow the fastest. This is a great, open-ended experiment because you can give the students free choice over what liquids they test.
St. Patrick’s Day Slime
Slime is always a class favorite and you can’t go wrong with green and glitter slime! This easy recipe for slime with a St. Patrick’s Day twist is the perfect activity for your 4th and 5th graders. They will be able to follow the directions independently to create their slime.
You can also use this activity when discussing the states of matter. Here is a great video on exactly how slime is made (although they’re using a different recipe, the concept is the same). You can stick to the first few minutes of the video on the chemical reaction that happens when you create slime.
How To Implement St. Patrick’s Day Science Activities
St. Patrick’s Day Science Centers
These activities, along with the others in the St. Patrick’s Day Science Investigations & Experiments resource, make fantastic science centers or science rotation activities. You can set these up for small groups over the course of 1-2 days in your classroom.
You may want to complete all of these activities with your class to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day but not have the time in your schedule. One great way to implement all of the activities with limited time is to split the class into small groups and add an oral presentation component.
Assign each small group one of the activities to complete. Have the students complete the activity and the included observation form. Then, they can present to the rest of the class their activity, findings, and discuss their predictions about what would happen if they changed one of the variables in the experiment.
St. Patrick’s Day Science Investigations & Experiments Resource
If you’d like an easy, print-and-go option to complete these fun St. Patrick’s Day science activities in your classroom, grab the resource! I’ve created this resource to make it easy to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your students by completing fun, engaging science and STEM activities.
The resource includes a supply list, so you can easily collect everything needed and be prepared.
Each activity has a student worksheet that includes instructions as well as observations and questions to prompt scientific thinking and extend the learning from the activity.
The activities included in this resource are:
- Create Your Own Lava Lamp
- What liquid will dissolve Lucky Charm marshmallows the most?
- St. Patrick’s Day Slime
- Rainbow Milk Investigation
- How many drops of water can you fit on the head of each coin?
If you love having print-and-go science experiments and activities for your classroom, be sure to check out the Science Experiments & Investigations Bundle!
How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in your classroom? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment and share what fun activities or lessons you do in March!