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

Feb. 02, 2011

Grabbing a Bite to Eat

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will perform an experiment that replicates the dilemma that birds face in acquiring food from a confined area. Students will be given a variety of objects to use as “tools,” and will explore various ways of extracting the food ...

problem solving, tools, evolution, birds, animals, psychology

Jun. 13, 2011

Pinhole Viewer

By Teachers Talking Science

By building their own pinhole camera, students will learn how cameras, telescopes, and their own eyes use light in similar ways.

observatory, light, telescope, pinhole viewer, planets, photography

Sep. 15, 2010

Lighting Up Celery Stalks

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will conduct a series of hands-on experiments that will demonstrate how the working of these veins, known as capillary action, enables water to travel throughout the length of a plant. Students will learn how the forces of water...

water, plants, root system, leaves, biology, botany

May. 23, 2011

Delicious Smelling Chemistry

By Teachers Talking Science

Use household materials to investigate and explore their ability to smell an odor. Students will compare and contrast results to determine if some individuals have a better sense of smell than others. Students also will observe the Maillard reaction and ...

olfactory system, molecules, smell, amino acids, chemical reactions, diffusion

Aug. 25, 2011

Wind Power

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will discuss the differences between the Bear Creek Wind Park and Bergey Windpower turbines. Students will learn the basic parts of a wind turbine and then build their own model wind turbine out of recyclable materials. Students...

turbine, recycle, wind, electricity, windmill, energy, sustainable, renewable energy, engineering

Sep. 12, 2011

Termite Symbiosis

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will sort and classify interactions between pairs of organisms under the appropriate symbiotic relationship of commensalism, parasitism, and mutualism. Then students will observe mutualism in action, as they perform a termite di...

ecosystems, symbiosis, termites, lichens

Dec. 05, 2011

Cool Craniums

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will observe three “mystery” mammal skulls and compare and contrast the features of each skull. Students will learn the anatomical terms for skull features such as orbits, nasal passages, and foramen magnum. Students will learn...

bones, vertebrate, biped, fossil, skeleton

Jan. 03, 2012

Microorganisms on the Move

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will learn how to prepare deep well slides for observing two types of microorganisms called Paramecium (a group of protozoa, or single-celled organisms, which move with cilia, so they are called “ciliates”) and Euglena (microorg...

microbes, microscope, cilia, organisms, plant

Nov. 07, 2011

Keeping a Betta

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will research general information about bettas and use that information to determine suitable habitat requirements and maintenance. Students will work collaboratively to perform weekly maintenance duties to keep their betta aliv...

aquarium, fish, genus, species

Oct. 24, 2011

Mineral Madness

By Teachers Talking Science

Geologists are greatly interested in minerals because they can reveal an enormous amount about the history of the geologic environment in which they are found. Geologists can classify and identify minerals by observing various properties such as strea...

minerals, rocks, geology, iron, volcano

Aug. 10, 2011

Colorful Chromosomes

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students review how human physical traits, such as eye color, are determined by specific segments of genes. Students will use basic crafts materials to build a simplified model of a pair of chromosomes that represents some of their own p...

DNA, cells, genes, reproduction

Jun. 23, 2011

Brine Shrimp: Getting to Know a Salt Water Arthropod

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will assemble a small saltwater aquarium to raise and observe brine shrimp. Then students will observe and record the growth of brine shrimp through various stages of their life cycle, and examine their various anatomical featur...

Horseshoe Crab, brine shrimp, exoskeleton, invertebrate

Jun. 03, 2011

Fossil Detectives

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will learn about the two main types of fossils, body and trace fossils. Students will observe and examine a set of fossils to classify them as body fossils and trace fossils. Students also will act as paleontologists and try to ...

paleontology, dinosaurs, fossils, prehistoric organisms

May. 06, 2011

Make a Speaker

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will learn how an electromagnet works by making a simple one. Using this knowledge, students will design a diagram to make a working speaker using household materials. Then students will follow instructions on one method of ma...

electromagnetic, magnetic field, currents, amplifier

Apr. 18, 2011

Glowing in the Dark

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will learn about phosphorescence and how certain materials can absorb and store energy from a light source. Students will use critical thinking skills to hypothesize which type of light -- incandescent, ultraviolet, infrared or...

phosphorescence, light, slime, electrons, chemistry

Apr. 06, 2011

How to Cultivate Moss

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, to learn about the biological needs of mosses, students will grow and maintain their own moss terrarium. Through daily maintenance and observation, students will identify those factors necessary for the successful cultivation of moss.

terrarium, moss, cultivation, horticulture

Mar. 09, 2011

Building A Solar House

By Teachers Talking Science

Buildings that are called “green” or “environmentally sustainable” are designed to use energy as efficiently as possible. In Missouri, Washington University’s Tyson Living Learning Center achieves sustainability by incorporating green technologies in diff...

green, environment, solar panels, solar energy

Feb. 07, 2011

Explosive Science

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will use household materials to investigate and explore how the release of carbon dioxide gas from a chemical reaction can cause a small-scale explosion. Students then will experiment with variables to determine which factors la...

chemistry, Carbon dioxide, fireworks, explosion, air pressure

Dec. 29, 2010

Fun With Optics

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will perform several experiments, using simple materials to explore the properties of reflection and refraction and how they work in telescopes.

telescopes, light, reflection, refraction, physics, invention, engineering

Dec. 20, 2010

Stream Table

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will use a stream table to investigate river formations in two different landscape scenarios. Students will compare and contrast how the formation of the river differs if the topography of the land is changed from a flat plain t...

rivers, topography, water, erosion, earth, geology

Dec. 16, 2010

Ugh, a Bug!

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will familiarize themselves with the distinguishing physical characteristics of an insect. Students will observe and maintain live crickets to learn the function of various body parts of a cricket. Further, students will have t...

insects, phobia, bed bugs, habitat, biology, senses

Nov. 16, 2010

Blood Typing

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will learn about another form of forensics: blood typing. Students conduct experiments with simulated blood to determine the blood type of each sample. Using the results of the experiment, students will determine if a blood sam...

forensics, anthropology, body, insects, forensics, blood type, human body

Nov. 11, 2010

Decaying Science

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will discuss the difference between organic and inorganic material, and how this distinction affects decomposition. The lesson will culminate with students building a composting column of soil and shredded organic material so th...

decomposition, composting, worms, organic matter, farming, conservation, biology, environment

Oct. 18, 2010

Flower Anatomy

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will discuss the various methods by which pollination can occur in flowers or plants. Students will dissect and identify the different parts of a flower, hypothesize the function of each part, and discuss the importance or rele...

pollination, fertilization, flowers, anatomical structure, biology, reproduction, plants

Oct. 13, 2010

The Color of Flowers

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will perform an experiment to find out where flower colors come from. Students will extract petal juice, use acid and base indicators, and observe chemical reactions to investigate how the amount of acid or base influences the ...

color, chemical reaction, flower petal, greenhouse, gardening, plants

Sep. 23, 2010

Illuminating Luminescence

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will compare and contrast different forms of luminescence by observing how chemiluminescence, phosphorescence, and fluorescence produce or emit light. Students will also compare these forms of luminescence to bioluminescence.

Luminescence, light, phosphorescence, oceanography, marine biology, fish, biochemistry

Sep. 22, 2010

How Boulders Are Born

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will review and discuss weathering, erosion and mass wasting, to gain a stronger understanding of how Hickory Run’s Boulder Field was formed after the Laurentide Continental Glacier receded. Using edible materials, students will...

glaciers, weathering, permafrost, erosion, geology, rocks

Sep. 20, 2010

Make a Chemical Clock

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will perform three experiments using household ingredients to observe and record color changes, indicators that a chemical reaction has taken place. Students also will observe a chemical clock reaction and explore how reaction t...

explosions, chemical reaction, hydrogen, oxygen, chemistry

Sep. 17, 2010

Lilliputian Landscaping

By Teachers Talking Science

In this activity, students will examine the different materials gardeners add to their soil, and discuss how these materials are important for plant growth. They will learn how to build a sustainable terrarium by adding a waterbed, mixing their own soil a...

soil, gardening, plant growth, terrarium, biology, gardening

Aug. 10, 2010

Cooking with Chemistry

By Teachers Talking Science

Chef Wylie Dufresne, the owner of New York City restaurant wd~50, experiments with food, literally. He has lab notebooks detailing what certain chemicals do to certain dishes. One of his signature dishes is a spin on eggs Benedict: he found that creating ...

food science, emulsion, homogeneous, molecules, cooking

Jan. 25, 2010

Cow’s Eye Dissection

By Teachers Talking Science

The human eye may be only about the size of a ping-pong ball, but it is an amazingly complex sensory organ that requires all of its components to function properly in order for a person to have optimal vision. Each part of the eye works together with th...

dissection, anatomy, eyes, brain, biology

Jan. 25, 2010

Delicious DNA

By Teachers Talking Science

In 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the structure of the DNA molecule, the double helix. Their discovery led to many developments in the fields of forensic science and biotechnology and in the understanding of heredity and genetic diseases...

DNA, double helix, forensic science, chemistry, cell structure, genetic disease

Jan. 25, 2010

Gassy Microbes

By Teachers Talking Science

Some microbes produce different types of gases as a byproduct of their metabolic processes. The microbes in this Science Friday Video released an odorless and flammable gas called methane. The type of gas or gases released by a microbe depends on the spec...

ecology, methane, permafrost, microbes, yeast, chemistry

Jan. 25, 2010

What is Nanotechnology?

By Teachers Talking Science

Nanotechnology is the study of what happens when things get very, very small – only a few atoms in size. The word “nanometer” means one billionth of a meter, perhaps five or six atoms long. At the nanoscale, materials can have very different physical o...

color, chemical biology, nanoscale, reflection, chemistry

Jan. 25, 2010

Let’s Grow Some Crystals!

By Teachers Talking Science

A crystal is a natural solid made up of a repeated pattern of molecules connected together. Crystals can form through the slow cooling of molten material (gemstones), or when a warm gas such as oxygen cools down (snowflakes), or when a liquid that contain...

snowflakes, crystals, solids, gemstones, salt, chemistry

Jan. 25, 2010

Sound Science

By Teachers Talking Science

Sound is all around us. Everything we hear in our day-to-day lives has a distinctive sound, from the jingling of keys to the tapping of footsteps in a hallway. Sound is created when objects vibrate. These vibrations cause the air around them to vibrate, s...

sound waves, vibrations, resonant frequency, chemistry, pitch

Jan. 22, 2010

Cheesy Chemistry

By Teachers Talking Science

There are hundreds of different kinds of cheeses that are produced in various countries around the world. Although each type of cheese has its own distinct taste, all cheese-making processes begin by separating the semi-solid portion of milk, called curd,...

liquids, solids, hybrid cheese, coagulation, chemistry

Jan. 22, 2010

What’s On My Skin?

By Teachers Talking Science

Bacteria are one-celled organisms that can only be seen under a microscope. There are thousands of kinds of bacteria, and they are found everywhere - in the air, in the depths of the ocean, in the human body and on human skin. Under favorable conditions...

bacteria, colony, bacterial culture, skin, microscope, biology



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