Kids are natural scientists. Just give them a gloopy substance, some knobs and string, a bit of cardboard, and a challenge, and they’ll invent something. The results may not be pretty, and the experiment may “fail,” but when left free to experiment, your students may surprise you, challenge you, and learn to persevere.

Along with the editors of Scholastic’s SuperScience, Science World, and Science Spin magazines, we searched for the best open-ended projects in their pages—ranging from exploring flight with paper airplanes to building musical instruments from “junk”—backed by fascinating, grade-appropriate articles. We had a ton of fun making these, despite our “failures.” We hope you will, too!