Easy and Inexpensive Science Labs to Do at Home With Your Teens


High school and middle school science can be complex and hard to understand, especially concepts that are more abstract and hard to visualize. Experiments and labs can help these abstract ideas become easier to understand. While some experiments are complicated and require expensive equipment like a lab freezer or dangerous chemicals, there are plenty of easy labs that can be done at home with ingredients and materials that most people already have on hand. Here are some of the most common and useful experiments for biology, chemistry, and physics:


This physics lab introduces students to the concept of density by having them experiment with the mass and volume of various objects and substances. One popular and easy density lab involves stacking liquids of different densities, such as oil, water, syrup or honey, and dish soap. Because the liquids are different densities you can pour the lighter liquids on top of the heavier ones and they will not mix.

You can also compare the densities of two pieces of bread that are the same weight. An ordinary piece of bread will float on water until it dissolves. However, if you squash that same piece of bread in a tiny ball it will quickly sink. The bread pieces are the same weight but one is denser than the other.


This physics lab explores the properties of pendulums and how they swing by having students vary the length, mass, and angle of the pendulum. Pendulum labs are usually easy to set up and don’t take much time to prepare. Students should have ample time to experiment with the pendulum and record their findings so they can compare different things they tried. For example, students could be given a series of challenges, such as making the pendulum swing farthest, making it swing for the longest amount of time, or making two pendulums race.


This chemistry lab teaches students about the separation of mixtures by using paper chromatography to separate the colors in different ink samples. For this lab, students will need chromatography paper and markers of various colors. They will use both water-soluble and non-water-soluble markers and a solvent, such as rubbing alcohol. The experiment will allow them to separate the different dyes in the markers.

Egg Drop

The egg drop lab is a classic physics lab that is a real experiment, as opposed to a demonstration with predictable results. In the egg drop lab, the students have the chance to try out different ideas and test their creations in a fun and messy way. This lab allows students to explore the principles of physics by designing and constructing a container around an egg. The container or structure should be designed to try and protect the raw egg from breaking when dropped from a height. Ideally, the students will have the time to build more than one structure so they can try different ideas and learn from their mistakes.


This biology or botany lab demonstrates the process of photosynthesis by having students see how plants give off oxygen when they are exposed to light. Plants do this during photosynthesis. The experiment involves submerging spinach leaves in a solution of water and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), placing them in the sunlight, and watching for the formation of bubbles. Bubbles don’t form in a control experiment when leaves are submerged in pure water because they need the presence of carbon to photosynthesize.


This biology lab introduces students to enzymes and their role in biochemical reactions by having them observe the effects of enzymes on poisonous liquids. In this experiment, liver pieces are placed in a solution of hydrogen peroxide. The liver contains an enzyme that can break down hydrogen peroxide, evidenced by the production of bubbles. The experiment can be done with other plant and animal tissues to look for a similar reaction.

Microscope Experience

Experience with microscopes is an important part of high school science teaching and is used in many different studies and topics. Students explore the microscopic world by observing and identifying various specimens under a microscope. This experience is most meaningful and instructive if students learn to prepare their own slides and experiment by looking at a variety of different substances that they find around them or that interest them. Blood cells, plant cells, and the microscopic creatures that live in open bodies of water are typical examples of things students can look at under a microscope.


This biology lab demonstrates the process of osmosis by having students observe the movement of molecules in different substances. The students need iodine, plastic baggies, cornstarch, and water. The iodine can permeate the bag and will change color upon contact with the starch.

You can also demonstrate the action of diffusion by showing how tea slowly changes the color of water while it is brewing until the water is all evenly stained.


The osmosis lab is a biology lab that demonstrates how osmosis happens in living things. For the osmosis lab, students will experiment with pieces of a plant, usually slices of celery or another crunchy vegetable, to see how water flows in and out of the cells in response to different solutions. When the plant pieces are placed in pure water, they get crisp and firm. However, when placed in a salt-water solution the pieces become soft and limp as the water is pulled out of the plant cells.

Magnetic Field

This lab explores the properties of magnetic fields by having students use magnets to investigate the magnetic properties of different materials. By placing a magnet underneath a piece of paper covered with iron filings, students can actually see the magnetic field created around the magnet. The iron filings will rearrange themselves in reaction to the magnetic field. Students should try this with differently shaped magnets and magnets of different strengths.


These labs are all great to help demonstrate difficult-to-understand concepts for students. In addition, many of these experiments require students to try different things in order to get satisfactory results, teaching them to make hypotheses and test them until they succeed. Finally, many students would much prefer to learn science through experimentation and demonstration than by reading a textbook. Doing labs for science is a useful and educational experience for everyone.

This content is brought to you by Jessica Lombardy.


The post Easy and Inexpensive Science Labs to Do at Home With Your Teens appeared first on The Good Men Project.

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