To help teachers understand how each of our modules is related to the Next Generation Science Standards, our Teacher Prep documents denote the relevant Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs – in progress). Our grade level progressions are sourced from NGSS Appendix E (DCIs), NGSS Appendix F (SEPs), and the NSTA’s Matrix of Crosscutting Concepts (based on NGSS’s Appendix G). Click on the title of the lesson to view the Teacher Prep document.
Visit the Lesson Sequences page to see which lessons can be taught as a series. The Standards page has a spreadsheet that matches all of our lessons to the relevant national and state (CA, MA and MN) standards.
Lessons by Region
All lessons are not currently available in a each region. Lessons not currently available in a given region may be requested, but additional build time may be required to provide the materials for that lesson. Requests for lessons not currently available in your region should be made at least one month ahead of the teaching visit to your instructors so that they can determine if the lesson can be created for that region. Thank you for your patience as we build out our library of lessons in a given area. Click here for a listing of available lessons by region.
* Lessons marked by an asterisk require extra notice to prepare.
Students make a cell model to learn about the functions and interactions of a cell’s organelles. In one option, students use materials provided to assemble a cell model as each group takes charge of one organelle and interactively instructs their classmates. In the second option, students base their cell model construction decisions on the information they learn, and justify those decisions to the class.
AP02-Microscope Mystery (New Lesson)
In this lesson, students learn to use microscopes by observing various plant and animal tissue samples. Groups of students will work to identify mystery tissue samples, presenting and comparing their findings with other groups. Longer classes will also make a phylogenetic tree containing all the organisms identified.
An introduction to the location and function of DNA in different cells, students think critically about the process of DNA extraction using a model. Students will then extract DNA from a strawberry (or other plant)! Afterwards, students will compare and contrast our DNA and the DNA of other organisms.
This lesson examines dominant and recessive genes, along with complete and incomplete dominance. Through the activity, students learn about genetic variation within a population by focusing on the genotype and phenotype of fish color, using wooden fish as a model. Students will investigate the impact of environmental changes on genetic variation and how favorable traits are passed down to future generations. Furthermore, students will evaluate whether dominant or recessive genes are more impacted by these environmental changes. Students should have prior knowledge of Punnett squares.
This lesson offers a hands-on simulation of how DNA creates proteins. Students are provided with DNA gene sequences, which they must first transcribe into mRNA and then translate into a protein to build a new species, called the Scimon. Time permitting, students may have the opportunity to investigate the effects of three types of mutations (insertion, deletion and substitution) on their Scimon model.
Students discover what determines a person’s blood type through a blood-typing activity using simulated blood. From the results, the class will discuss which blood types are compatible and what happens if you give incompatible blood to a patient during a blood transfusion. Longer classes will also examine human blood smears under the microscope and discuss the function of various blood components.
This lesson introduces students to the exponential spread of infectious disease. Students will model a disease outbreak through an activity where they spread an “infection” through the class by sharing liquid solutions with other students for multiple rounds. The liquid solution is then tested for “infection”. The focus of the lesson is on extracting meaningful information from data patterns formed by disease outbreaks.
AP10-Frog Dissection (Recently Revised)
This lesson explores frog anatomy and how frog structures and functions relate to human anatomy. Students dissect a frog in small groups; identifying and classifying the organs according to their functional group. After the dissection, groups present one system and compare their findings and classifications with other groups’ systems.
Students explore the role of decomposers, the flow of matter, and the cycle of energy in an ecosystem by dissecting a preserved earthworm. After a brief introduction to the dissection procedure, students work in pairs to discover how the earthworm’s simple, yet complete, digestive system plays a crucial role in the environment.
This lesson’s multiple short activities will lead students through the structure of the eye from front to back. Students observe the contraction of the iris, focusing of the lens, and features of the retina. Longer classes will explore afterimages. This lesson, though fun as a stand-alone, is intended to be taught after AP14: Eye Dissection to enhance students’ appreciation of the structures they have observed in the dissection of the sheep eye, by allowing them to experiment with those structures in their own eyes.
Students work in pairs to dissect and explore the anatomy of a preserved sheep eye. The lesson ends with a review of mammalian eye anatomy and the basic mechanics of vision.
AP15-Heart Dissection (Recently Revised)
Students prepare for the dissection by sketching and asking questions about the heart. After an orientation to the heart’s surface features and identification of external structures and vessels, students work in small groups to complete a dissection of a preserved sheep heart to identify key internal structures. Afterwards, the class will review the basic pathways of blood flow and the physiology of heart function.
Students are introduced to the structure and function of human lungs through the use of models. Students are provided with a variety of building materials to construct interactive model lungs and diaphragm to examine how the lungs and diaphragm work together to achieve breathing.
Students carefully handle and examine preserved sheep brains. After generating questions, students will identify which questions can be answered by observation alone. Students will also identify and learn about the major substructures of the brain.
AP19-Neurons (Recently Revised)
This lesson focuses on the human brain and its functional units, the neurons. Neurons (nerve cells) are specialized cells designed to transmit information to other neurons. The activity allows students to explore the structure and function of neurons through the use of models. Students will model various nerve impulses and discuss how neurons send signals between the sensory and motor systems. This module works best if followed up with AP20: Experimenting with Our Brains.
Students divide into small groups and learn to toss bean bags at a target while wearing prism goggles. When students remove the goggles, they “unlearn” the task, and have to adjust their throwing angles accordingly. Students collect data from the experiment and interpret them in the context of their brain’s adaptation to and communication with their sensory and motor systems.
AP21-Hair Identification (Recently Revised)
This lesson is an introduction to the concept of hair analysis. Students compare images of the medulla pattern of different mammal species to solve a mock crime. Students then use claim, evidence, and reasoning to explain their predictions about the crime and present their conclusions. With enough time, students may also use prepared hair slides or a sample of their own hair to observe medulla patterns under a microscope.
Students self-discover which type of fingerprints they have before investigating the various ways of leaving behind, collecting, and analyzing prints. Students will discuss arches, loops, and whorls as pattern descriptors. Students will explore fingerprint inking, dusting & lifting, and analysis.
AP40-Healing the Brain (New Lesson, Currently Only Available in Minnesota)
This lesson introduces students to changes in the excitability of neurons in a particular area of the brain and how it can be used in simple electric devices to help patients recover from injury or disease. Using this information, students act as doctors to design a treatment plan for different case studies. This lesson is recommended for older (7th-8th grade) students and as a prerequisite, students will need to have completed (or have the equivalent background of) AP01: Cells & Organelles, AP18: The Mammalian Brain, and AP19: Neurons and AP20: Experimenting with Our Brains.
This lesson demonstrates the unique properties of water through a series of simple activities that encourage students to ask questions and make observations. Students will explore cohesion, adhesion, and surface tension. The lesson culminates with the students physically modeling how water molecules interact.
Students perform several experiments to determine the identities of six different household white powders based on their solubility in different solvents and simple chemical reactions with vinegar and iodine. After the testing, students will learn how to distinguish between physical and chemical properties of substances and how these can be used to identify substances.
Students create cross-linked polymers and investigate their polymer’s behavior. Younger students (3rd-5th) will use pre-made solutions to make different polymers within a group of 4. They will then ask and answer a testable question to compare their group’s four polymers. Older students (6th-8th) will attempt to make a polymer that will stretch the longest without breaking by varying the amount of water and borax solution used. Students in all grades will have the opportunity to present their results to the class.
Students use a variety of tools to design and implement a multi-step process to separate three different materials; sand, rice and iron filings; assessing their separation techniques by comparing the recovered mass to the initial mass of materials. After discussing their results, students compare their techniques to the methods used for separation at recycling facilities.
In this lesson, students determine the pH level of acids and bases using common household liquids, a universal acid-base indicator from red cabbage juice, and pH strips. Students also investigate what happens when they add an acid and/or a base to a solution and learn about a chemical reaction between acids and bases. Long classes also discuss why certain solutions resist a pH change.
Students start by thinking about the prompt “You are what you eat” to discuss the nutrients that food and people have in common. In small groups, students will design tests to identify the presence of different nutrient molecules (sugar, starch, protein, fat). Common foods will be tested for these molecules and each group will share their results and conclusions. Longer classes may play a game classifying foods according to the categories in the USDA “Choose My Plate” graphic
Students use chromatography paper and a solution (such as alcohol) as an introduction to the concept of compound separation. Students are given two different brands of marker to separate the pigments in the ink and compare the results. While the experiment is running, students will participate in a discussion about chromatography and interpreting chromatograms. Time permitting, students will then design and execute a follow-up experiment.
This lesson provides an exploration in electrophoresis using wet and dry activities. The wet activity is to run an agarose gel electrophoresis, which is typically done to separate macromolecules (such as DNA) in a laboratory setting. The dry activities are designed to convey the concept that migration of molecules during electrophoresis is size- and charge-dependent, and to have students predict the results of their agarose gel electrophoresis. This lesson is geared towards older (8th grade) students and needs a minimum of 60 minutes to complete.
C10-A Vitamin C Experiment (Recently Revised)
This lesson introduces students to the useful chemistry process of titration through an exploration of the amount of vitamin C in different drinks. In the exploration, students predict and then measure the amount of vitamin C in selected drinks by counting the number of drops needed for a color change of an indicator solution. Students are then challenged to explain the molecular processes happening during the titration experiment.
This lesson provides students with an introduction to the states of matter by discussing phase transitions and the behavior of dry ice. Students will get to observe both water and carbon dioxide change phases in multiple ways and discuss the flow of heat energy causing these changes.
Students work in pairs to plan and conduct an experiment with baking soda and vinegar to prove that when substances are changed in a chemical reaction, the total amount of matter is conserved.
Students investigate viscosity by examining the speed at which a marble drops through tubes of fluids with varying viscosities. Students will formulate hypotheses about the viscosities of these fluids and predict variables that may affect their viscosity..
E01-Best Vehicle (New Lesson)
Students will build and assess four types of vehicles for person capacity, cargo capacity, maneuverability, and type of energy source. Based on the results of the testing, students will identify the set of criteria and constraints that a given vehicle was designed to solve.
This lesson gives students a hands-on, team-oriented introduction to engineering. As background, students learn about NASA’s Mars rovers as examples of the challenges engineers face. Similar to engineers, students will balance competing goals of time management, budgeting and attaining objectives. Students will build a landing module to protect their rover (an egg) as it drops onto Mars (the floor).
Students are presented with the engineering design challenge to build a bridge that will transport a defined number of people, modeled by weights. Students design, build, and test prototype bridges. During testing, they identify the failure points of their models and use these results to improve their designs, rebuild, and retest.
Students begin with a flawed prototype bookshelf made of Legos that must be redesigned based on certain constraints. Students will critique the bookcase, design and build a new prototype, and then present it to the class by testing it in a model hallway.
Students are introduced to the six basic simple machines and are then challenged to design and build a Rube Goldberg device to ring a service bell in a chain reaction using multiple simple machines. After the devices are built, the groups will present their devices and describe the simple machines used in their designs.
Students will examine the causes of beach erosion and discuss how erosion affects a beach. A model containing sand and water will help students demonstrate a storm and the subsequent beach erosion. Groups will then brainstorm engineering solutions to help protect their beach and build a prototype of their idea to test its effectiveness in additional storm models.
Students build different block configurations and test them using shake tables to determine which model provides the most secure building design in a simulated earthquake. Students will then identify the benefits and drawbacks of the models.
E08-Build a Magnet Detector (New Lesson)
Students design, build, and test a magnet detection device. During the testing process, they have the opportunity to observe that not all metals are magnetic. After testing, students will discuss the properties of the materials used in their own and their classmates’ devices that make them well- or poorly-suited to the task.
E10-Plastic in the Ocean (New Lesson)
In this lesson, students learn about the abundance of plastic in the ocean as they design and build a filter to remove pieces of plastic from an ocean model. If there is time, they will conduct a test to determine whether they successfully removed all plastic from their filtered water. Afterwards, students discuss solutions to reduce and remove plastics from the ocean.
Acting as environmental engineers and using a model of an oil spill in an ocean, students test different methods for effectively cleaning up the spill and determine the harmful effects that oil spills and their clean-up have on animals and the environment.
This lesson is an introduction to plate tectonics and the structure of the earth. Students consider how mountains are formed and work in pairs to construct a puzzle model of Pangea. After having time to build and revise their model, students analyze a modern-day map of the tectonic plates, model the plate boundaries using putty and tiles, and then return to the opening question about mountain formation.
Students will “visit” different locations in the western hemisphere—one in the North, one near the equator, and one in the South—and compile data on the average precipitation and temperature over the course of a year. They will then summarize what the weather is like in January in each location, and identify when it is summer and when it is winter.
ES04-The Rainshadow Effect (New Lesson)
Students read a story that describes a rain shadow and use key terms to build a model of the described environment. After asking questions about the rain shadow phenomenon, students participate in a demonstration of how they are created. The students then redesign their models, adding labels to identify the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and the components necessary for the formation of a rain shadow.
This lesson merges science with social studies by familiarizing students with topographic maps. Students create a 3D model of a landform from PlayDoh and slice it horizontally and trace each piece to create a 2D topographic map. Students will then evaluate their understanding of contour lines by interpreting another group’s map.
In this team problem-solving exploration, an astronaut crew has suffered an emergency crash landing on the Moon 60 miles from their destination. Everything is damaged except for 14 specific items. Each student must decide which items are most useful, based on their knowledge of their Moon and resources available. Individuals then come together in teams to share ideas and negotiate team choices as they rank the salvaged items in terms of their importance in allowing them to reach their base. At the conclusion, item scores can be compared to real NASA scientist rankings.
Celestial mechanics refers to the movement of celestial objects (objects found in space). Using a model, students will learn how the geometry of the Moon’s orbit around Earth and the Earth’s orbit around the Sun result in the phases of the Moon that we observe on Earth. Students will determine how the Moon progresses through its eight major phases and discuss why most Earthlings have only seen one side of the Moon. Older students and longer classes will also explore the causes of solar and lunar eclipses, and their relationship to the phases of the Moon.
This lesson provides an overview of the objects that make up our solar system, with an emphasis on modeling the scale of both the sizes of objects and distances between them. After making observations of a model of relative planet sizes, students will build a model of relative distances of the planets from the sun. This will help students visualize how much of space is really just… vast, empty space. Students will then discuss the two separate models in order to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each.
ES09-The Rock Cycle (Recently Revised)
Students identify a set of rocks by matching their characteristics to a dichotomous key. Afterwards, they classify the rocks as igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic based on additional text. The class will review the rocks through mini-presentations given by each group.
Fossils are fundamental to discovering information about the Earth’s past inhabitants. Students will learn about the creation of fossils and have the opportunity to excavate model fossils from a rock. Using their fossils to reconstruct and analyze a fossilized skeleton, students will look for clues to identify the type of creature that existed during the late Jurassic period.
Working in pairs, students create a scatter plot to classify stars based on their temperature and brightness. Students then analyze data from their graph and learn what the position of a star on the graph can tell Scientists about the star.
Students predict the path that water takes through the water cycle before playing a game where each student acts as a water molecule. Students move around the room to model the path their water molecule might take, and revisit their earlier predictions to compare to the path they took as a water molecule. The class then identifies benefits and limitations of this water cycle model.
While plants do not need soil for photosynthesis, it is often a source of nutrients for optimal plant growth and success. In this activity, students will test various samples of soils for the three primary macronutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium or N-P-K) and use their data to formulate an argument for which soils are best for healthy plants.
This lesson introduces students to the characteristics and formation of soil. In order to answer the question of which soil is best for a tomato plant, students examine the color, texture, and field capacity (a measure of how much water soil can hold and make available to plants) of different soils.
ES15-Seismic Waves (Recently Revised)
Students will explore different types of seismic waves produced by an earthquake as recorded on a seismogram. Students build a simple seismograph to understand how seismic waves are detected and analyzed. They will model the two main types of seismic waves (S- and P-waves) and use their seismograms to identify the waves. Longer classes learn how to use seismic waves to locate the epicenter of an earthquake.
Using a series of demonstrations and activities, students learn about how clouds form and the role that air temperature and moisture have in this phenomenon. They will also see how these factors allow clouds to ultimately produce rain or other forms of precipitation.
In this lesson, students will learn about weather patterns, weather symbols, and how to interpret a weather map. Using the skills they have learned, they highlight the weather on a national weather map and identify pressure systems and weather fronts. This lesson is geared towards older (6th-8th grade) students and students should have seen the lesson ES16 Weather Basics, or have a strong understanding of air pressure and weather fronts.
This lesson gives students hands-on practice with two different viscoelastic materials (behaves as a liquid under steady pressure but as a solid in response to sudden shock). Silly Putty® and oobleck also exhibit the behaviors of both solids and liquids and are used in this lesson to promote an understanding of the properties of the Earth’s asthenosphere.
ES20-Our Carbon Footprint (New Lesson)
Students learn about how carbon dioxide affects the climate. Students play the Carbon Footprint board game to explore different human activities that can increase and decrease our carbon footprints, and how they might be able to reduce their own carbon footprint.
LS01-Hereditary Traits (New Lesson)
Students examine how traits are inherited from parents to offspring by using Cootie® toys with interchangeable body parts. In the first activity, students will choose Cootie parents to make a Cootie baby and play an inheritance game to determine what traits their Cootie offspring may have. In the second activity, students will deduce who the possible parents are of a Cootie baby with a given set of traits.
LS03-Exploring Life Cycles (New Lesson)
Students will build models of life cycles using laminated illustrations. They will then use their models to identify and name the four generalized steps of every organism’s life cycle: birth, growth, reproduction, and death.
LS04-Invasive Species (New Lesson)
Students explore what it means for species to be native, non-native, or invasive by completing an activity that models how different types of predatory fish might capture their prey. From their results, students identify what makes an organism invasive. They then discuss what to do with invasive species and are introduced to one method of eradication, the artificial predator Guardian LF1 robot from Robots in Service of the Environment (RSE).
Students construct a food web model that represents a simplified version of the Yellowstone ecosystem and consider what would happen to the ecosystem if the food web were disrupted by the removal of a native species and/or the introduction of an invasive species.
LS06-Population Changes (New Lesson)
In this lesson, students play the Oh Deer! game to learn about population dynamics. While playing the game, students observe the natural fluctuation of a population and the effect of limiting factors on population levels. After the game, students graph their data and analyze the effects of various limiting factors. Additionally, students discuss what defines the carrying capacity of a habitat and how carrying capacity may change over time.
Students discuss the adaptations owls have that allow them to swallow their prey whole – bones, fur/feathers, and teeth! They will then dissect an owl pellet with a partner to gather data about the owl’s diet. Time permitting, students go on to learn about several other owl adaptations including stereo eyesight, keen hearing (and uneven ears), and feathers that allow for silent flight.
Students work in groups to represent fishing villages and play a fishing game to explore the concepts of sustainability and the tragedy of the commons. Once most “villages” run out of fish, groups collaborate to devise strategies that will allow them to fish sustainably. After the activity, students present their group’s strategy and the class chooses a strategy that will allow them to continue to fish indefinitely.
Students work in pairs to model photosynthesis through an interactive game which has students building their own 2-dimensional plant. Students will face challenges like drought and insects to think about how environmental factors affect plant growth. Based on the results of their game, students develop an argument that plants need sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water to make food.
Students observe the main structures of common, edible, and flowering plants (roots, stem, leaves, and flowers/fruit) and discuss the function of each component
This lesson provides an opportunity to investigate how carbon dioxide and oxygen cycle through a biological system. With a computer simulation, students observe the interaction of a snail and a water plant in a closed environment and use a chemical indicator to determine the presence of carbon dioxide in the system. The experiment will be facilitated by the instructor so that students can focus on analysis of the experimental data. This lesson requires a computer and internet access for each pair of students and is intended for older (6th-8th) grades.
Students carry out an experimental lab investigation of photosynthesis using the floating leaf disk procedure to indirectly measure oxygen production. Groups will pick a variable to change in their experiment (e.g. the color of light) and compare that to their control experiment (e.g. white light) to observe the effects that their variable has on the rate of photosynthesis. Due to time constraints of the experiment, this module requires a 60-minute class (minimum). This lesson is geared towards older (7th-8th grade) students.
Students play a hunting game to gain an appreciation of the challenges that camouflage and mimicry pose for predators. Classes with more time may continue to explore different examples of camouflage and mimicry.
Students explore the concepts of mutation, gene flow, genetic drift, and natural selection using beads and event cards to simulate the change of a beetle population over time. Students evaluate how these mechanisms work in different ways to create genetic variation in a population. This lesson is intended for older (6th-8th grade) students who are already familiar with DNA, genes, and heritable traits.
P01-Introduction to Magnetism (New Lesson)
Students use different types of magnets and items, including iron filings, to explore the strength of magnetic forces and the results of magnets interacting. This lesson is intended for younger (3rd – 5th grade) students
An introductory lesson to electrical conductors and insulators, students are challenged to build a simple circuit, test and classify various materials as conductors or insulators, and add a switch to the circuit. Students then use the evidence gathered in their exploration to explain why wires are made of a copper core encased in a plastic coating.
P03-Collisions (New Lesson)
Students explore a “marble roller coaster” with two marbles that can collide with each other. Students ask questions about their observations and then test a few of their questions about force or energy with the apparatus. Groups describe their experiments and share the conclusions they draw based on their results.
P04a-Gravity (Recently Revised)
In this lesson for 6th-8th grade, students will use gravity wells to explore how mass and distance affect gravity. They then use their knowledge and the gravity wells to create a model of the current solar system and its formation. The lesson wraps up with students considering the benefits and limitations of the gravity well models. A large open area is required to set up the gravity wells.
P04b-Gravity Basics (Recently Revised)
This lesson for 3rd-5th grade focuses on the force of gravity and how it affects objects. Students will experiment with gravity wells and marbles to model the effects of gravity. They will learn that gravity acts in a downward direction keeping us on the surface of the Earth. Students will also learn that gravity attracts objects together and acts at-a-distance. Finally, students will explore how mass and distance affect the strength of gravity on two objects. A large open area is required to set up the gravity wells.
P05-Pendulum Patterns (Recently Revised)
Students are introduced to pendulums and their periodic motion. Students will experiment with pendulums of different lengths and bob masses. In groups, they will measure the period of a pendulum with three different lengths. Students will make observations about the relationship between pendulum length and the period, and use these observations to predict the period for a fourth pendulum length.
P07-The Force of Static Electricity (Recently Revised)
Students conduct an experiment using pith balls to observe the presence of a force that is generated when different materials are rubbed onto plastic, glass, and metal rods. Students will explain how they think this phenomenon occurs using claims, evidence, and reasoning.
Students explore circuits with light bulbs: a simple circuit, a series circuit, and a parallel circuit. They use their observations to explain why a string of lights wired in series will all go out if one bulb is removed, but not if the lights are wired in parallel. Students will then explain that energy is converted into different forms by electrical circuits.
Students explore an electric current producing a magnetic field as they build and test an electromagnet. With this experiential understanding, students demonstrate how electromagnets work and how to modify the magnetic fields they produce.
This lesson provides an introduction to sound. Students will develop an understanding of sound as a form of energy transmitted as a wave; consisting of a wavelength, frequency, and amplitude. A series of boisterous workstations allow students to explore how the pitch (frequency) and volume (amplitude) of sound waves can be changed in different homemade musical instruments.
This lesson introduces students to the idea that reflected or emitted light is the only thing we see; we perceive this as seeing objects. Students will explore how white light interacts with various objects. They will then observe that white light is made of all the colors of light, and will finish by exploring how filters can block all but one color of light, connecting this to the ideas of light absorption and transmission.
P15-How Does Heat Flow? (New Lesson)
Students will experiment with the flow of thermal energy to and from materials that have different thermal conductivities. They will examine the misconception that when something “feels” cold or hot, they have sufficient information about the material’s temperature. Students will be introduced to the term “thermal conductivity” and, if time allows, use this knowledge to explain the design of and/or propose designs for insulated beverage carriers which minimize thermal energy transfer with the environment.
This lesson familiarizes students with various forms of energy using demonstrations and multiple workstations. It also introduces the First Law of Thermodynamics (i.e., “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.”) through direct observations during activities.
Students construct boats out of aluminum foil to float on water. Younger students (3rd-5th grades) measure the mass that their boats can support before sinking; older students (6th-8th grades) calculate the predicted capacity of their boats and then test them in order to compare their predictions to the actual maximum load.
This lesson provides students with an introduction to friction by exploring the factors affecting friction and discovering two types of friction (kinetic vs. static). Students can explore the differences in frictional forces for different materials or the effect of the weight of an object on the frictional forces it experiences. This lesson is geared towards older (6th-8th grade) students.
This lesson provides students with an introduction to friction as a force that opposes motion. Students experiment with different surfaces and classify them as having low, medium, or high friction. Longer classes may investigate the effect of added mass on the force of friction. This lesson is geared towards younger (3rd – 5th) students.
This is an introductory lesson for the first day of teaching in your classroom. It serves to introduce the students to the Science from Scientists (SfS) program, its methods & rules, and the scientists. This lesson will be paired with another activity-based mini lesson, which will vary based on instructor/teacher preference and class time/requirements.
Students will experience procedural thinking by testing their ability to both give and follow directions. Students will work in pairs with a divider between them. One student will create an object with building bricks and write how-to instructions for building the object. The second student will then be challenged to use only the written directions of their partner to replicate the unseen structure. The lesson concludes with students comparing their completed designs, critiquing their partner’s instructions, and reflecting on their own work.
This lesson challenges students’ observational skills by demonstrating the difference between observations (quantitative vs. qualitative), inferences, and opinions. They will use these skills for a mystery object challenge: each small group will carefully observe an object in a box, they will then be asked to describe the object they received by writing quantitative observations, qualitative observations, and inferences. The hints will then be read to the class and their peers will guess what object is in each box.
This lesson gives students experience developing a physical model in order to understand how an unknown system (a mystery tube) works. Students will observe the mystery tube and it’s external mechanisms. They will then design, build, and test their own models attempting to replicate the external behavior of the unknown system.
SP05–Measuring Volume (New Lesson)
By exploring different methods to measure an object’s volume, students will gain a deeper understanding that volume is the space a substance occupies or contains. Students will get a chance to measure the volumes of at least three different 3D figures and explore measuring volume using unit cubes, rulers (& formulas if known), and/or water & graduated cylinders. Students will then share their results and discuss the pros and cons of each method. Older students will also get a chance to use volume by displacement.
Students will learn about making a testable hypothesis. Students first use a ruler drop procedure, which will test reaction time. After identifying independent, dependent, and controlled variables in the ruler drop experiment, students will develop a testable hypothesis and outline an experimental procedure to test. They will then critique another group’s experimental design. For longer classes, students may carry out the experiment in class.
SP11-Mean, Median and Mode (Recently Revised)
In this lesson, students explore different ways to analyze data including calculating the mean, median, and mode for a given data set. Students will collect measurements of height for students in the classroom to use as their data set.
This mini-lesson may be used on the first day of teaching following the introductory lesson (SP00) or at the start of a new semester and consists of a fun pair of geometric puzzles. Together they are a metaphor for the practice of science: various sets of data are combined to form a coherent scientific theory, but when new data is found it may require scientists to revise theories and reevaluate their previous ideas about the connections between the data.
SP22- Team Building Mini Lesson Cup Stacking
This activity may be used on the first day of teaching following the introductory lesson (SP00) or at the start of a new semester. The purpose of this activity is to promote team building. Developing good teamwork skills at the beginning of the year will prepare students for the active group work they will be involved in throughout the year in their science classes.
T01-Binary Code, or How to Speak Computer (Recently Revised)
This introductory lesson explains binary code and its role in any computer. Students will practice counting in binary using cards and then use their new knowledge to encode and decode English alphabetic characters; illustrating how computers are designed to communicate information.
T02-Biometrics (Recently Revised)
This lesson explores biometrics – the use of body metrics and calculations – and its use as an important method of security in our digital lives. Small groups will design and test hand geometry biometrics and identify unique characteristics which could be used in place of a combination lock on a school locker. Students will evaluate the designs and share their observations about factors contributing to the strength of a biometric.
T03-Conditionals in Code (Recently Revised)
This lesson introduces the concept of a conditional statement (a feature of programming language). Initially related to students’ everyday decision-making processes, a game is used to allow students to observe the execution of conditional statements as they would occur within the context of running a computer program.
T04-Cryptography (Recently Revised)
Students learn about cryptography, the science of encoding and decoding messages to protect information. Students are introduced to different types of ciphers (algorithms, or steps, performed on individual or small chunks of letters) to encode and decode messages.
T05-e-Trashing our Future (Recently Revised)
Students discuss problems resulting from electronic-waste (e-waste) that is not properly recycled. Students work through a model of how e-waste is handled in the United States. Students also discuss ways of reducing e-waste and learn how they can make a difference by properly recycling their e-waste.
T06-Digital Information Networks (Recently Revised)
Students will learn the basic structure of the connections that form the World Wide Web and will gain an understanding of what happens when they visit a webpage. Either on a gameboard or as an interactive activity, student teams will compete to “load” their webpage the fastest. They will model the operation of a browser by traveling through a model network to retrieve files from servers and assemble the text and images to create the finished webpage.
T07-Digital Footprint (Recently Revised)
After an introduction to digital footprints, older students will be given social media profiles and search histories of several (fake) Internet users. They will infer personal data about these people based on the information they can gather from their social media accounts. Younger students will create their own online gaming profiles and then perform a safety review of each other’s profiles. All students will then discuss what material is appropriate and safe to share online and what material should be kept private.