Upper Elementary (4-5)

I See the Light

Format: In Person | Grade: Upper Elementary (4-5), Middle (6-8), High (9-12)

Students use light boxes to explore the effects lenses and mirrors have on the path of light. They then consider the human eye and what it means to be near- or far-sighted.

This investigation requires access to power outlets.

Keyword(s): optics, reflection, refraction

3-2-1 Blast Off

Format: In Person | Grade: Upper Elementary (4-5), Middle (6-8)

A student favorite and beloved tradition in many schools! Students apply their knowledge of experimental design to draw conclusions about the effects launch angle and launch velocity have on the horizontal range of a rocket.

This investigation requires the use of a large open field with an access point for the van.

Keyword(s): Projectile, Kinematics

Sparking Ideas About Uniform Motion

Format: In Person | Grade: Upper Elementary (4-5), Middle (6-8), High (9-12)

Spark timers and toy cars are used to spark student ideas about uniform motion and make connections between physical motion and graphical representation!

This investigation requires basic familiarity with graphical representations of data and access to power outlets.

Keyword(s): Kinematics, Motion, Graphs

You're Oil I Need

Format: In Person, Virtual | Grade: Upper Elementary (4-5), Middle (6-8)

Students use a simple model to consider what happens during an oil spill, making predictions, observations and explanations. Students are surprised by how the oil and water will not mix, however hard they try!

This investigation requires access to a water supply.

Keyword(s): Density, Oil Spills

Whatever Floats Your Boat

Format: In Person | Grade: Upper Elementary (4-5), Middle (6-8)

Using Archimedes Blocks, students are challenged to use fractions to investigate density and the impact on sinking and floating!

This investigation requires basic skill with division and simple fractions. Access to a water supply is also required.

Keyword(s): Sinking and Floating, Density, Fractions

Stormy Weather

Format: In Person, Virtual | Grade: Upper Elementary (4-5), Middle (6-8)

What does the inside of a hurricane look like? Students unpack this question using a tank model and all its stormy patterns.

This investigation requires access to a water supply and a power outlet. 

Keyword(s): Density, Heat Transfer, Convection, Hurricanes

Sea for Yourself

Format: In Person, Virtual | Grade: Upper Elementary (4-5), Middle (6-8)

Students consider density in the context of ocean flows as they make predictions and then test their ideas by creating their own density currents!

This investigation requires access to a water supply, ice, and a power outlet.

Keyword(s): Density, Ocean Currents

Freeze Your Mind

Format: In Person, Virtual | Grade: Upper Elementary (4-5), Middle (6-8), High (9-12)

Students unpack the concept of heat by comparing how ice responds to different materials. There are plenty of surprises as the ice melts! 

This investigation requires access to ice.

Keyword(s): Temperature, Heat

Don't Overreact

Format: In Person | Grade: Upper Elementary (4-5), Middle (6-8), High (9-12)

Students use their senses to detect a chemical change. Watch their eyes widen as they hold a bag that changes temperature, fills with gas, and changes color. This activity is derived from the GEMS Chemical Reactions.

This investigation requires basic familiarity with chemical changes.

Keyword(s): Physical Changes, Chemical Changes

Acid Rain

Format: In Person, Virtual | Grade: Upper Elementary (4-5), Middle (6-8)

Physical and chemical changes are compared through a simple model of acid rain. Students get excited as they create a bubbly chemical reaction. 

This investigation requires basic familiarity with physical and chemical changes.

Keyword(s): Physical Changes, Chemical Changes