Science Friday’s lesson plans and activities are produced by our education staff and with partner organizations. Sign up for our educator newsletter here.

Oct. 16, 2015

Build a Cloud Chamber

By Ariel Zych

Observe the radioactive particles all around you by building a cloud chamber using a clear container, dry ice, and a little rubbing alcohol.

cosmic ray detector, cloud chamber, nuclei, radiation

Aug. 19, 2015

Write Your Name in Binary Code

By Ariel Zych

Want to write like a computer? Here's your chance to get started.

binary, computer, programming, data, processor, ASCII, digital

Jul. 24, 2015

How Many Licks? Controlling Lollipop Licker Variation

By Ariel Zych

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Navigate the perils of licker variation by designing your own lollipop-licking experiment.

variables, variation, procedure, experimental design, scientific method, writing

Jul. 10, 2015

Track a Plant's Movement

By Ariel Zych

In this activity, you’ll monitor the position of a houseplant to find out whether or not it changes position in response to a change in sunlight.

plant, behavior, tropisms, photosynthesis, adaptations, measurement,

Jun. 19, 2015

Jet-setting Cephalopods

By Ariel Zych

Can you engineer a jet propulsion system that mimics the speed of a squid?

Jun. 11, 2015

Dissect a Silkworm Cocoon

By Ariel Zych

Learn about the insect origins of silk by dissecting a cocoon and “degumming” it to reveal the protein that scientists use for constructing new materials.

metamorphosis, butterfly, larva, moth, caterpillar, silk, fiber,

Jun. 04, 2015

A Human Sundial

By Ariel Zych

Why does the length and direction of our shadow change throughout the day? It all comes back to rotation and position of our planet relative to the sun.

sun, shadows, rotation, revolution, orbits, seasons, sun dial

May. 07, 2015


By Ariel Zych

What does the Sun do? Tell us, using the hashtag#ExplainTheSun

sun, #explainthesun, science club, space weather, heliophysics, NASA, solar power

Apr. 22, 2015

Science Friday Discussion: Negotiating the Challenges of Teaching Evolution

By Ariel Zych

Learn from experienced educators how to teach evolution in communities where evolution is controversial and browse classroom evolution resources.

evolution, hangout, discussion, panel, ethics, evolution, creationism, professional development

Apr. 09, 2015

Can You Explain The Sun?

By Ariel Zych

For this science club, we want you to explain something to us, something BIG…

sun, heliophysics, astronomy, evidence, explanation, common core, solar, wind, space, photosynthesis, skin cancer

Apr. 01, 2015

A 20-Year Dive Into Climate Change History

By Ariel Zych

Have scientists always agreed on the impacts of climate change? Act like an investigative reporter by sifting through expert interviews and reports on extreme weather and climate change.

climate, weather, climate change, NGSS, CCSS, IPCC, history, consensus, opinion

Mar. 20, 2015

Ready for Take-Off: Teens Pilot Airplanes in New York City

By Ariel Zych

Students at Frederick Douglass Academy in New York City use flight simulators as part of an aeronautics class, with some kids eventually logging flight time in real planes.

technology, ed-tech, STEM, integration, pilots, simulation

Feb. 17, 2015

How Can We Build Homes That Are Resistant to Mold?

By Ariel Zych

Test which building materials will be resistant to mold after a flood or hurricane.

mold, fungi, habitat, food, autotroph, heterotroph, engineering, disaster, FEMA, hurricane, flood

Feb. 09, 2015

Magnetic Turtle Navigators

By Ariel Zych

Create small turtle navigators and use them to detect magnetic fields in this activity and companion game.

animal behavior, magnetism, adaptation, core, fields, mapping, navigation, migration

Feb. 04, 2015

How Dense Is Snow?

By Ariel Zych

Use a measuring cup to figure out the density of snow.

snow, density, measurement, conversion, units, volume, mass, substances

Jan. 27, 2015

How Has Technology Changed Exploration?

By Ariel Zych

Students hear how 21st century tech has changed exploration, then decide for themselves: "What one piece of technology would you take on your own expedition?"

explorers, inventions, technology, history of science, innovation, exploration

Jan. 12, 2015

Engineer a 'Filter Feeder'

By Ariel Zych

Build and test a water filter inspired by marine filter feeding organisms.

marine biology, structure, function, engineering, STEM, NGSS, design, filter, fluid, dynamics

Dec. 31, 2014

Science Friday Home Science Highlights of 2014

By Ariel Zych

Our best home experiments and maker projects from 2014.

winter break, home, science, experiment, parents, kids, projects, science, try-its, demos, kitchen, food science

Dec. 19, 2014

Christmas Tree Combustion

By Ariel Zych

A home holiday experiment that explores combustion using festive fuels such as fir, pine, spruce, and cedar.

combustion, fuel, ignition, heat, temperature, flame,

Nov. 21, 2014

What Exactly IS a Comet?

By Ariel Zych

Gather evidence from interviews with scientists about comets, then create a wordy illustration of comet characteristics.

comets, evidence, CCSS, reading, digital, listening,

Nov. 15, 2014

Snotty Plots: How Do You Graph a Sneeze?

By Ariel Zych

Simulate a sneeze with paint, then graphically determine where most of it lands.

histogram, graphing, statistics, distribution, math, algebra, geometry

Nov. 07, 2014

Interns at National Labs Do Real Science

By Ariel Zych

Brookhaven National Laboratory provides a glimpse into the culture of the U.S. Department of Energy's summer undergraduate laboratory internship program.

Brookhaven, stipend, application, undergraduate, higher education, intern, mentorship, education

Oct. 16, 2014

#ObserveEverything: Staff Picks, Week #3

By Ariel Zych

A class keeps tabs on fruit decomposition, someone spies mystery in a lake, and a hiker sits down with an ant.

leaves, science club, citizen science

Sep. 19, 2014

Jumping Spider Shake Down

By Ariel Zych

Can you match each jumping spider dance to its vibratory song?

spiders, behavior, acoustic, bioacoustic, sound, analysis, spectrogram, frequency

Aug. 15, 2014

Salad Dressing Science: Emulsions

By Ariel Zych

In this experiment, you will test a few common household ingredients to see which is the most effective emulsifier for making salad dressing—and you can eat your results!

hydrophobic, hydrophilic, NGSS, emulsions, experiment, mixtures, solutions, suspensions, chemistry, molecules, polarity, soubility

Aug. 07, 2014

Create a Disease Map

By Ariel Zych

Map the spread of tick and mosquito-borne illnesses in the United States using real data.


Jul. 18, 2014

Fashion Circuit

By Ariel Zych

Add some pizzazz to your favorite clothing and accessories using some wire, tape, a battery, and an LED.

circuit, electricity, current, LED, tech, wearable, soft circuits

Jul. 11, 2014

Talk Like a Firefly

By Ariel Zych

Learn to speak the language of fireflies and invent your own secret flash code.

bioluminescence, communication, lightning bugs, insects, mating, reproduction, code, outdoor activities, summer, camp, flashlight

Jun. 23, 2014

How Does an Octopus Change Its Body to Blend In With Its Environment?

By Ariel Zych

Watch footage of a live octopus to model different ways that these animals can camouflage themselves by changing their body’s texture, shape, size, and color.

camouflage, description, adjectives, media, multiple sources, informational text, inference, observation, texture, color, art, STEAM, STEM

Jun. 04, 2014

Chocolate Crystal Concoctions

By Ariel Zych

Act like an experimental chocolatier and determine how different melting and cooling procedures impact the shine, hardness, and texture of finished chocolate.

crystals, crystallization, colloid, melting, states of matter, phase change, melting point, properties, solids, chocolate, chemistry, boiling, common core

May. 23, 2014

Blog: These Student Filmmakers Have Science Stories to Tell

By Ariel Zych

Student video competitions engage the minds of future science communicators.

video, competition, student, engagement, digital learning, media, technology

May. 09, 2014

Lovely Leidenfrost

By Ariel Zych

Experiment with the relationship between boiling point and the Leidenfrost effect using different aqueous solutions, a metal pan, and a little baby powder.

boiling point, water, solutions, mixtures, solvents, temperature, heat, force, evaporation, steam

Apr. 25, 2014

Blog: Battle of the Bots

By Ariel Zych

An international robotics competition challenges high schoolers to fund, design, and build an intelligent, semi-autonomous robot.

the bot side, first tech challenge, robots, robotics competition

Mar. 27, 2014

Make an Art Machine

By Ariel Zych

Safely find, build, or hack a machine that makes any kind of art.

machine, mechanics, science club, art, sciarts,

Mar. 21, 2014

Blog: Teaching Digital Design Using New World Studio

By Ariel Zych

Teenage girls learn computational design in a collaborative weeklong workshop at the New York Hall of Science.

digital design, second life, virtual world, virtual, architecture, teens, pedagogy, workshop, cooperative learning

Mar. 14, 2014

Make a Wire Critter That Can Walk on Water

By Ariel Zych

Learn how insects have inspired engineers to make a robot that walks on the surface of water. Design your own water-walking critter using thin wire, and test its effectiveness: how many paperclips can it hold up using surface tension?

intermolecular forces, properties, water, molecule, cohesion, adhesion, biomimicry, robotics

Feb. 28, 2014

Make a Model of a Home Made From Shipping Containers

By Ariel Zych

Watch an interview with a couple who built a home from shipping containers. Then, design and construct a scale model of a unique shipping container home using printed templates, and estimate the cost of flooring and paint based on model dimensions.

architecture design scale ratios mathematics Common Core engineering

Feb. 21, 2014

Use Clues to Solve an Ice Mystery

By Ariel Zych

Use the physical characteristics of ice to determine where and how several mystery samples could have been frozen.

Ice, melting point, cystal, solid, liquid, phase change, physical science, glacier, olympics, frozen, melt, dissolved oxygen, properties

Feb. 14, 2014

Test the Finger Wrinkle Hypothesis

By Ariel Zych

Perform an experiment to determine whether smooth or wrinkled fingers are better at holding wet objects. The experiment requires only a water bottle, paperclip, and plastic ruler. Downloads: Video, student data sheet, illustrated instructions

physiology, nervous system, biology, form, function, adaptation, human, evolution

Jan. 31, 2014

See the World Through Color-Filtering Lenses

By Ariel Zych

Explore color by creating color-filtering glasses using paper and tinted cellophane.

light, color, vision, spectrum, waves, perception, images, bulb, filter, glasses, make, craft, activity,try,



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