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

Sep. 15, 2015

Go Out and Observe the Moon!

By International Observe The Moon Night

Learn about the Moon with this lunar observation kit from International Observe The Moon Night

moon, lunar, celestial, planet, earth, space

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. 28, 2015

Solar Convection

By Lawrence Hall of Science

Use hot and cold water to see how fluids at different temperatures move around in convection currents in this DIY Sun Science Activity from Lawrence Hall of Science.

convection, solar, photosphere, chemistry, light, heat, liquid, fluid, heat transfer, sun, rays

May. 21, 2015

Map Sun Trails

By Lawrence Hall of Science

Use photosensitive paper to make a map of the path of sunlight on the earth in this activity from the Lawrence Hall of Science.

chemistry, solar, photosphere, photosensitive paper, light, heat, chemical change, fluid, heat transfer, sun, rays

May. 13, 2015

Spot the Sunspots

By Lawrence Hall of Science

Use binoculars or a telescope to identify and track sunspots. You’ll need a bright sunny day for this DIY Sun Science Activity from Lawrence Hall of Science.

sunspot, solar, photosphere, magnetic field, magnetosphere, light, heat, liquid, fluid, heat transfer, sun, rays, solar observation, astronomy, technology

May. 08, 2015

Make a UV Detector

By Lawrence Hall of Science

On a bright, sunny day, use tonic water to detect ultraviolet (UV) light from the Sun in this DIY Sun Science Activity from Lawrence Hall of Science.

UV light, chemistry, refraction, light, absorption, sunlight, sun, rays, waves

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

May. 07, 2015

What Does the Sun Do? Solar Experts Respond

By Julie Leibach

Experts with a vested solar interest weigh in on the sun's various starring roles.

May. 01, 2015

Build an Earthquake Machine


In this activity from IRIS, students explore a mechanical model of a fault to learn how energy is stored elastically in rocks and released suddenly as an earthquake.

earthquake, seismology, plate tectonics, tectonics, convergent zone, faults, Nepal, potential energy, kinetic energy

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. 14, 2015

Convection Can Be Pretty

By Karla Talanian

In this excerpt from the book Science for Parents, learn how to visualize convection using stuff you’ve probably already got in your kitchen.

convection, conduction, heat transfer, kitchen, chemistry, experiment

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. 27, 2015

Eggs to Dye For

By Steven O'Malley

How does egg dye work, and why do eggs turn out brighter with a little vinegar? Investigate how different acids affect the brightness of egg dyes in this kitchen experiment.

color, chemistry, dyes, eggs, easter, chemical, structure,

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. 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

Feb. 23, 2015

How Can We Clean Up an Oil Spill?


In this activity from the American Association of Chemistry Teachers, students simulate an oil spill and test different materials’ abilities to “clean” the oil spill.

oil spill, Valdez, Deepwater horizon, environment, chemistry, sorbent, salt water, ocean

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. 22, 2015

Get Ready to Hike

By National Wildlife Federation

Make your family hikes so much more fun with these hiking tips.

outdoor activities, hiking, exploration, book club, with kids

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,

Dec. 10, 2014

Simulate Net Forces to Predict an Object’s Motion

By PhET Interactive Simulations

Use a simulation from PhET Interactive Simulations to model force in a tugging competition and a pushed skateboard.

force, motion, newtons, acceleration, friction, balanced forces, net forces, push, pull, objects

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. 24, 2014

#ObserveEverything Reflection

By Science Friday Education

Experience the Science Club's #ObserveEverything project.

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

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

Oct. 09, 2014

#ObserveEverything: Staff Picks, Week #2

By Charles Bergquist

A celestial event, citizen science, and a variety of natural wonders drew observations in week 2 of Science Friday's Science Club.

lunar, eclipse, citizen science, science club, observation, scientific method

Oct. 03, 2014

#ObserveEverything: Staff Picks, Week #1

By Charles Bergquist

We observe: you're amazing! Staff picks from the first week of Science Club's #ObserveEverything

science club, observation, bugs, laser, clouds, gall, leaves, rotifer, microbiology

Sep. 26, 2014

Science Club #ObserveEverything

By Science Friday Education

Go out and observe something interesting! Submit your in-depth observations with the hashtag #ObserveEverything.

observation, experimentation, watch, look, science skills, scientist, job, vocational,

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

Sep. 12, 2014

One For All: A Natural Resources Game

By Population Education

In this game from Population Education, students must use cooperative decision making strategies to manage a renewable resource.

population, natural resources, sustainability, renewable, resources, energy, population growth, simulations

Sep. 05, 2014

Squishy Circuits

By AnnMarie Thomas

Use two play dough recipes to create "squishy circuits" and explore electricity.

circuits, electricity, STEAM, NGSS, LED, current, resistance, inquiry, motor, LED,

Aug. 28, 2014

No Waffling on the Numbers

By Bedtime Math

Three delicious math games you can play on your waffles to build math fact fluency and geometry skills, from the folks at Bedtime Math.

geometry, math facts, mathematics, multiplication, education, learning, home, kitchen, food, games, elementary

Aug. 22, 2014

Classroom Strategy: Image of the Day

By PA Earth Science Teachers Assoc.

Three approaches for using images as gateways to instruction in grades 4-16

earth science, media use, classroom, higher education, Common Core, observation, inference, multimedia, scientific method

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. 31, 2014

Balloon Rockets

By Chemical Educational Foundation

In this lesson from the Chemical Educational Foundation, apply the concepts of pressure and Newton's laws of motion to build balloon rockets.

newtons laws, force, thrust, pressure, motion, rocket, straw, balloon, middle school, NGSS

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



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