Activities for Grades 3-5
World in a Drop
Look at a variety of microorganisms under the microscope. We’ll bring in local samples collected from lakes, swamps, puddles, or even the dishes under potted plants. We've seen all sorts of things - including tardigrades and all kinds of spinning, squirming, and swirling protozoa. Students will learn how to operate a microscope and prepare wet-mounted samples.
Build a Leydon jar and charge it up to make your own lightning! Or use it for a portable static shock delivery system. Students will learn about static electricity, charge storage, and where lightning comes from.
Pneumatic Rockets and Planes
Design, build, and launch pneumatic rockets and/or airplanes.
See how your design flies! Take it back to the bench and tweak it until it flies how you want it to. Students will learn about, air pressure, aerodynamics, and what makes things fly, Our custom launch pad ensures the same launch conditions every time, so you can really see the effects of your changes!
Build a working wind turbine and see how much power you can make.
Simple to build, a lifetime to optimize!Students can change the number of blades and/or the tilt angle and/or shape of the blades and see how it effects the power output. Students will learn about renewable energy sources and where electricity comes from.
Build a working battery from pennies, washers and lemon juice!
Students will learn about where electricity comes from and how batteries work. We've had kids build voltaic piles generating up to about 12 Volts - just with pennies and washers!
You are presented with four clear, colorless liquids and need to figure out which one is the calcium salt, the acid, the base, or the water based on how they react with each other and a cabbage-juice indicator.
Students will learn about how different chemicals react differently andthat things that look alike can be drastically different. They will use their reasoning skills to identify each of the materials.
You will mix baker’s yeast with soapy water and hydrogen peroxide. Enzymes in the yeast create oxygen gas, which bubbles out in a quick-rising sudsy foam.
Make and customize a zany little robot with a nail brush and an off-balance motor. See if you can figure out a way to control how the robot moves or to keep it from tipping over.
Students will learn how to build a simple circuit and how vibrations can be converted into translational movement.
Make zany little robots with markers for feet! A vibrating motor sets your creation in motion to bounce and dance and make art. Change the size of the off-balance weight and see how it affects your 'bot's sketches.
Students will learn how to wire up their own circuits and how an off-balance motor can result in motion.
Build a Circuit Puzzle
Find out who has the steadiest hand by building a game that lights up when the player their wand along a wire path or – make a quiz show that lights up with correct answers.
Students will learn how electricity flows through a circuit and what it means to have a closed or open circuit.
Anything that is conductive can be used as a wire. Here, you’ll make electronic gadgets with sculpting dough – like a snake with light-up eyes, or an owl with light-up eyes, or a person with…well, you get the idea.
Students will learn how electricity flows and what it means to be conductive or insulating.
Make an Electromagnet
You will use the electricity from a battery to make a magnet from a regular ol’ nail.
Students will learn how electricity can be used to make a magnet that can be turned on and off.
Make a Battery
You will generate your own electricity (enough to light several LEDs) using pennies, lemon juice, and washers from the hardware store. Kids have made batteries capable of generating over 12 Volts!
Students will learn about voltage and electricity and how batteries work.
Make a Periscope
You’ll make a periscope with mirrors and cardboard that can be used to peer around corners or over walls.
Students will learn how light from an object can be redirected with mirrors.
Build a Camera Obscura
A camera obscura is a primitive camera made with a single lens and a screen. An image of what you point it at is cast onto a piece of paper so you can trace the picture. Several of the Old Dutch Masters, particularly Vermeer, are suspected of using this technique in their paintings!
Students will learn how cameras work and how light from an object can be collected and directed by lenses and mirrors.
See your cells!
Take a look at your own cheek cells under the microscope and see the effects of a common cellular dye. In most cases, you can even see bacteria on the cells as well (especially if you don’t brush your teeth beforehand).
Students will learn how to operate a microscope and how to prepare wet-mounted samples.