26 Thanksgiving Themed Science Experiments

Ah, Thanksgiving. That special day where we express our gratitude for family, food, football, and…science experiments. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to explore science with your students. The best part about it is, you don’t have to rush to find experiments your students will love before the holidays. We’ve curated 26 experiments and activities that will leave you and your classroom very thankful.

These Thanksgiving Themed Science Activities are great throughout the month of November. Engage elementary students in learning about physical science, life science, and earth science with topics about pumpkin volcanos, slime, reversible and irreversible changes, and more! Here are 26 Thanksgiving Science Experiments for your little scientists.

We’ve taken the time to categorize the activities into Physical science, Earth science, Life science, and general STEAM categories.  This will help you meet your science requirements.


These Thanksgiving-themed science experiments are also a great opportunity to work in a little bit about the Scientific Method and Science Experiments.  Show students how scientists work through a process that asks a question and searches for an answer to that question. 

Scientific Method Posters in color and black and white that teach students how to perform a science experiment and record their ideas each step of the way. Includes science experiment recording sheets and a flip book. Posters for the hypothesis, experiment, conclusion, observe, research, and more! #scienceexperiments #scientificmethod #funscienceexperiments #elementaryscience #secondgrade #secondgradescience #thirdgrade #thirdgradescience

The Scientific Method Posters and Science Experiment Recording Sheets are a great addition to the 26 Thanksgiving Science Experiments. Here are a few photos from the Scientific Method Resource.

2nd-5th Grade Science Stations

Before we get into the Thanksgiving Day Science Experiments, did you know that we have hundreds of science stations available for second grade, third grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade? These science stations have engaging activities that are hands-on and come with digital components. All of our science stations are NGSS Aligned, too! Click on each grade level to see more.

All of our science stations are available individually, as part of a UNIT bundle, and DOMAIN bundle, or in YEARLONG bundles.

26 Thanksgiving Day Science Experiments

Just a quick note: Many of the experiments below include food because, well, it’s Thanksgiving! Be aware of your students’ allergies and substitute as necessary. Only a few of the ideas below are edible.

Also, many of the ideas below are not only good for Thanksgiving, but can be completed anytime during Fall. While they are great for Thanksgiving, they are also generic and fall-themed science activities.

Physical Science

Below are 12 ideas for Thanksgiving experiments and activities that focus on properties of matter, irreversible changes, density, and much more!

  1. Dissolving Candy Pumpkins

What would happen if you put a candy pumpkin in a glass of water? What if you put it in a glass of oil? This fun little experiment will have your students making their hypotheses and observations about the effects different liquids have on the candy.

  1. Cranberry Spy Juice

Do any of your students wish they were super-secret spies? (Maybe you do, too?) Teach them this neat little trick about acids and bases with cranberry juice and baking soda. Write your students’ messages prior to the experiment and watch their faces light up when they decode them. It’s no secret that they’ll love this activity.

  1. Pumpkin Slime

You know we could not have a list of science experiments without slime. Students love it, and there is so much to learn about Newtonian fluids and polymers. Plus, admit it, slime is fun. 

  1. Squishy Turkey

This is a really fun experiment and craft rolled into one. It combines the science and fun of slime with the traditional Thanksgiving craft of making a turkey. Your students will love this one.

  1. Dancing Corn

You’ve heard of corn that pops, but have you heard of corn that dances? This great experiment will teach your students about chemical reactions while they watch the corn dance. The question they’ll need to answer is, why does the corn dance?

  1. Bending Turkey Bone

Ever try to bend a bone without breaking it? Impossible? Save the bones from your Thanksgiving dinner and try this experiment with your students. What will the vinegar do to the bones? Your students will be amazed by the power of acids.

This is also a good experiment to introduce structure to bone structure and a little bit of life science!

  1. Popcorn Science

What makes popcorn pop? Does temperature affect its popping ability? After the kernel changes its state of matter, can it be reversed? These three experiments are fun ways to explore many different scientific concepts with your students using popcorn, including how to grow a popcorn plant.

  1. Making Butter

How is butter made? This simple experiment will teach your students how to make their own butter, and also teach them  about changes in states of matter and separation of molecules. Be sure to have more than one willing shaker on hand in case anyone gets tired.

  1. Mason Jar Whipped Cream

Just like the butter experiment, but with less shaking. Your students might like this sweeter version more than the butter, and they’ll learn the same concepts of molecular separation and changes in states of matter.

  1. Bread In a Bag

Who doesn’t love fresh bread? This activity will win over your students with how easy, and delicious, it is. Teach your students why yeast reacts the way it does with sugar and water, and why that makes the dough rise the way it does. It’ll be a hit!

  1. Edible Cranberry Slime

More slime? But of course. The best part about this slime? It’s edible! What could be better than that? This will be a sure winner with your students.

  1. Salt Crystal Pumpkins

Salt Crystal experiments are always fun anytime of the year. It’s a great way to teach students about ionic bonds as well as crystals and evaporation. This experiment also makes a great craft, transforming small pumpkins into sparkly decorations.

These Thanksgiving Themed Science Activities are great throughout the month of November. Engage elementary students in learning about physical science, life science, and earth science with topics about pumpkin volcanos, slime, reversible and irreversible changes, and more! Here are 26 Thanksgiving Science Experiments for your little scientists.

Earth Science

The following two activities are perfect for your Thanksgiving Earth Science studies.  These would go along well with our second-grade science units.

  1. Pumpkin Earthquake Cake

All right, not exactly an experiment, but it’s still science! This is a fun, and delicious, way to explore and discuss earthquakes. After the cake is finished baking, the top layer will crack and sink the same way the Earth’s crust cracks and sinks during an earthquake. You’ll definitely have your students’ attention with this one.

  1. Exploding Pumpkin Volcano

Pumpkin. Volcano. Do we really need to say more? Will your students love this? Yes. Will they learn a lot about chemical reactions? Yes. Will they learn about volcanoes? Absolutely. You can’t go wrong with this one.

These Thanksgiving Themed Science Activities are great throughout the month of November. Engage elementary students in learning about physical science, life science, and earth science with topics about pumpkin volcanos, slime, reversible and irreversible changes, and more! Here are 26 Thanksgiving Science Experiments for your little scientists.

Life Science

Here are five fabulous activities that focus on biodiversity, plant life, and animal life.

  1. Dissecting Acorns

Ever wonder what an acorn looks like inside? Now’s your chance! This is a great way for students to explore acorns and make observations about the different parts of this oak seed.

  1. Fall Leaf Chromatography

This fun activity explores why leaves change colors. It’s a great way for students to discover the importance of chlorophyll and the concept of pigmentation. They will also explore how light affects color development.

  1. Sweet Potato Growing Investigation

This classic experiment will teach students about the life cycle of plants while they grow their own sweet potato. Have your students keep journals to track their observations.

  1. Cranberry Science

Here are several experiments to perform with your students using cranberries. Compare fresh cranberries with dried cranberries and see which ones will float or sink. Cut them open and see why one floated and the other didn’t. Explore dancing cranberries (like the Dancing Corn activity) or find out what happens when you add heat to fresh cranberries.

  1. Parts of a Pumpkin

Your students have probably explored the insides of pumpkins before, but how much did they pay attention? (They might have been too eager to carve that face into it). This is a great way to explore the different parts of pumpkins and get to know the importance of each part.

STEAM Activities

These seven activities will help your students explore science, technology, engineering, art, and math to find new ways to save our planet!

  1. Candy Corn Catapult

Catapults are always a fun engineering project. And, whether or not you like candy corn, it is the perfect projectile. Students will love this project, as long as they don’t eat all of their ammunition.

  1. Potato Clock

The potato clock has been a staple of science fairs for a long, long time. There’s a reason for it because it’s awesome! How do you power a clock with potatoes? This will amaze your students as they learn about changing chemical energy into electrical energy.

  1. Pumpkin Clock

This is the same great, classic experiment as the potato clock, but with pumpkins! Did you know that pumpkins can be electrochemical batteries, too?

  1. Cranberry Structures

What wonderful shapes and structures can your students make? Hand them a handful of toothpicks and cranberries and let their imaginations amaze you. Help them explore what makes some structures stronger than others.

  1. Cardboard Turkey

What’s better than turkey on Thanksgiving? More turkey! This is a fun craft to do with your students. It’s a great way to get their imaginations going and creativity flowing.

  1. Light-Up Turkey

What’s better than having more turkey? A turkey that lights up, of course! This is a fun project to do with your students that explores building circuits and properties of electricity.

  1. Egg Carton Turkey

Yes, we know there are a lot of turkeys running around now, but who can resist this adorable craft? Your students will love creating these turkeys and displaying them at home for Thanksgiving.

More Holiday Science Experiments

Here are are a few more ideas that you can do at other times of the year!

26 Thanksgiving Themed Science Experiments26 Thanksgiving Themed Science Experiments

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