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Introduction to Scientific Tools

Introduction to Scientific Tools

TEKS Objective

The student will collect information using tools, including computers, hand lenses, primary balances, cups, bowls, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices, including clocks and timers; non-standard measuring items such as paper clips and clothespins; weather instruments such as demonstration thermometers and wind socks; and materials to support observations of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

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Essential Understanding

The student uses age-appropriate tools and models to investigate the natural world.

Science Background

Tools and Equipment of Science: BioEd Online (video) - Barbara Tharp, MS, explains what types of tools are used in the elementary classroom and how to introduce the proper usage of tools to students.

Tools and Equipment of Science
BioEd Online,

Scientific Instruments: SciTechStory (website) – This article discusses how scientific instruments extend our senses and open up new worlds of discovery.  In kindergarten, this can be seen in the form of a magnifying glass allowing students to see the details of a tiny object which could not be made out with the naked eye.

Scientific Instruments

Signature Lesson

Science Tools: Rice University (website) - This is a very complete lesson that can go in very different ways as decided by the teacher. Students are required to complete a task. To complete the task, they need to select the tool or tools that will help them to collect information. For kindergarten students, the teacher should pick a task that is appropriate for a kindergarten student.

Science Tools
Rice University,

Supporting Lessons

Fruits and Vegetables: Ohaus (PDF) – Students use a pan balance to order a group of fruits and vegetables from lightest to heaviest. This lesson is on page 5.

Fruits and Vegetables

A Magnet Project Makes a Great Science Fair Idea! Easy Science Fair Projects (website) – Students make predictions, observe outcomes, collect data, and test various objects to find out if they are attracted to a magnet.

A Magnet Project Makes a Great Science Fair Idea!
Easy Science Fair Projects,


Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Shoebox Full of Surprise: Kids Science Experiments (website) – Students use their senses as tools of observation to discover each object in the mystery box.

Shoebox Full of Surprise
Kids Science Experiments,

Magnets: What “Sticks”: Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project (website) - Explore what does and does not “stick” to a magnet.

Magnets: What "Sticks"
Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project

Assessment Ideas

Students select three tools. They make a drawing of each tool and then connect with a line to another drawing showing the tool in action doing something. Have them label the drawings when appropriate.

Literature Connections

What is a Magnifying Glass?, Blevins, Wiley (ISBN-13: 978-0516273280)

Experiments with a Hand Lens, Tocci, Salvatore. (ISBN-13: 978-0516269948)

You Can Use a Balance, Bullock, Linda, (ISBN-13:  978-0516278995)

Scientists Ask Questions, Garrett, Ginger (ISBN-13: 978-0516246628)

What is Science? Dotlich, Rebecca Kai (ISBN-13: 978-0805073942)

Related Science TEKS

(K.2A) Ask Questions
The student is expected to ask questions about organisms, objects, and events observed in the natural world.

(K.2B) Plan and Conduct Descriptive Investigations
The student is expected to plan and conduct simple descriptive investigations such as ways objects move.

(K.2C) Collect Data
The student is expected to collect data and make observations using simple equipment such as hand lenses, primary balances, and non-standard measurement tools.

(K.2D) Record and Organize Data & Observations
The student is expected to record and organize data and observations using pictures, numbers, and words.

(K.4B) Five Senses
Use senses as a tool of observation to identify properties and patterns of organisms, objects, and events in the environment. 

Related Math TEKS

K.9A   Describe and compare the attributes of real-life objects such as balls, boxes, cans, and cones or models of three dimensional geometric figures.

K.13B Solve problems with guidance that incorporates the processes of understanding the problem, making a plan, carrying out the plan, and evaluating the solution for reasonableness.

K.15A Justify his or her thinking using objects, words, pictures, numbers, and technology.

Additional Resources

Science Equipment: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Education Place (website) - Make your own science tools using everyday household materials.

Science Equipment
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Education Place,

Tools to do Science: Learning Science (website) – On this page, teachers will find free tools so students can measure, graph and calculate.

Tools to do Science
Learning Science,

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