It’s springtime! If you’re an upper elementary teacher in Virginia, that means it’s time to start your SOL test prep. In this post, I’m sharing some of my favorite science SOL test review ideas.

All of the tips and resources shared here are aligned to the 2018 science SOLs.

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Need an easy science SOL reference tool? Download my free guide all about the revised science SOLs to quickly break down the biggest changes made to the science SOLs.

Science Escape Rooms

If you’ve followed me for long, you know that I LOVE classroom escape rooms. Why? Because classroom escape rooms are a fun way to get students to use critical thinking skills as they review various topics. As an added bonus, the activities also get students up and moving within the classroom during your science SOL test review.

Most of my science escape rooms have a fun theme that involves them being trapped. The only way to “escape” is by completing 5-6 challenges.

Challenges require students to do things such as:

  • use coordinates to find key vocabulary and solve riddles
  • read a passage and use a key to decode information within the passage
  • match puzzles with key terms and definitions
  • use keys to decode hidden information and solve puzzles
  • solve math problems related to science concepts to create a code
  • use diagrams and graphs to answer questions and create codes

Science escape rooms are one of my students’ favorite ways to review for the science SOL test!

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In this Weather Escape Room activity, students use graphs to answer questions and create a code.
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In this Planets Escape Room activity, students answer true and false questions. Then, they calculate the numbers associated with each answer to find a code.
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In this Matter Escape Room activity, students match puzzle pieces to define important terms.

All of my science escape rooms include a PDF version, which works well for centers in a classroom, and a self-checking, digital version that can be assigned in Google Forms.

You can find escape rooms in my store for most third, fourth, and fifth-grade science SOLs.

Group Presentations about Science SOLs

Another way to review for the science SOL test and incorporate critical thinking is to have students complete a group research project.

Assign groups of 2-4 students. Instruct students to research a topic related to a science SOL and create a visual presentation. Visual presentations could include a poster, slideshow presentation, video, etc.

After students have researched the given topic and created some type of visual, they should share their presentation with the class. Not only does this type of project require them to research a science SOL, but it also requires students to use science and engineering practices such as communicating information.

Below, I’ve provided some research topics for each upper elementary grade level.

Third Grade:

  • gravity or magnetism
  • a plant or animal life cycle
  • a weather phenomenon that has occurred in their region
  • a habitat they are interested in visiting

Fourth Grade:

  • a plant or animal’s unique structures that aid in survival
  • a food web for a specific habitat
  • a planet
  • resources available in a region or county within Virginia

Fifth Grade:

  • energy transformations within their school
  • the visible spectrum
  • a specific earthquake or volcanic eruption
  • renewable or nonrenewable energy sources

Jeopardy-Style Science SOL Review Game

A science SOL test review activity that my students are always up for is a Jeopardy-style game.

For these science review games, I assign students to teams. Each team is given a small dry-erase board and a marker. I allow all groups to respond by writing their response on their whiteboards and holding their boards up at the same time. For me, it gets too crazy when all the teams are trying to buzz in first with the correct answer.

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All of my science SOL Jeopardy-style games come with a version for BOTH PowerPoint and Google Slides.

The PowerPoint versions are played in presentation mode. Category values disappear when they are clicked on. Scores can be typed directly onto a scoreboard while playing in presentation mode. The presentation has been coded to easily navigate from the category board to questions and answers without scrolling.

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A question from the Virginia Resources Jeopardy Game.
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A question from the Water Interactions Jeopardy Game.

The Google Slides versions are played in full screen, edit mode. Scores can be typed onto a scoreboard but the category values do not disappear when they are clicked on. This is a limitation of Google Slides. But, markers are provided alongside the category board that can be dragged and dropped over the category values after they have been used. The presentation has been coded to easily navigate from the category board to questions and answers without scrolling.

You can learn more about how my science SOL Jeopardy-style games work by checking out this video.

You can find these Jeopardy-style science SOL review games in my store for most third, fourth, and fifth-grade science SOLs.

STEM Challenges

A STEM challenge always makes for an engaging science SOL test review activity. STEM challenges are one of the best ways to review science and engineering practices.

Here are a few of my favorite science SOL test review STEM challenges:

  • Give students some simple materials and a balloon. Instruct students to use any of the materials to get the balloon from one side of the room to the other without using their hands.
  • Give students a box with a lid, some coins, and some simple materials. Instruct students to use the materials to insulate the box so that no sound escapes when shaking the coins inside.
  • Give students some simple materials and a marble. Instruct students to build a ramp that will allow the marble to travel the farthest after it is released from the top of the ramp.

You can find more simple STEM challenges by performing a quick Google search.

Science SOL Task Cards

Task cards make for the easiest, no-prep science SOL test review activities.

What I love about task cards is that they can be used in so many different ways. With a few sets of task cards, you can easily host a variety of different SOL science test review games. Check out this blog post or watch the video below to see some of my favorite task card games.

You can find science SOL task cards in my store for most third, fourth, and fifth-grade science SOLs.

All of my science SOL task cards include a PDF version and a self-checking, digital version that can be assigned in Google Forms.

Science Flashcards

Before the science SOL test, it is always a good idea to review important terms used in each of the science units. Flashcards are an easy way to do just that!

Students can review with flashcards independently, with a partner, or in groups. For independent work, I like to keep a set of science flashcards in an easily accessible place. Students can get the flashcards anytime if they finish an assignment early or need a quick activity to fill the time. For partner or group work, flashcards can easily be turned into a simple matching game, Pictionary game, or charades game.

I have science flashcards in my store for all of the third, fourth, and fifth-grade science SOLs. Each of my flashcard sets includes a PDF version and a self-checking, digital version that can be accessed with Google Slides.

Conclusion

Many people automatically think “boring” when they hear test prep. But, science SOL test review should be engaging.

All of the games and activities I have shared in this blog post are fun ways to prepare for the SOL test that still incorporate critical thinking and collaboration. I promise that neither you nor your students will be bored with these activities!

For more information about some of the science SOL-aligned activities mentioned in this blog post, check out the following links.

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Have you heard about the Virginia Teacher Club?

The Virginia Teacher Club is a one-of-a-kind program for upper elementary teachers in Virginia. Members receive instant access to a curriculum library of SOL-aligned math, science, social studies, and ELA resources. There are lesson plans, games, assessments, passages, digital activities, and more for EVERY SOL. By using the Virginia Teacher Club, our members save hours of planning time every month and have access to high-quality, SOL-aligned resources that students love.

CLICK HERE to join the wait list and be the first to know when the Virginia Teacher Club reopens for new members.