Discover DNA

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What You Do:

Explore how scale models are built and used.

Learn about DNA and its function in the body.

Investigate how information is stored in DNA.

Build a candy model of the DNA structure.

Decode a secret message.

PB and J Day

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What You Do:

Practice writing and following directions.

Understand why clear instructions are important.

Explain to your teacher how to make the best PB & J!

Tower Power

What You Do:

Explore the engineering design process.

Learn about engineers and their jobs.

Practice teamwork and communication skills.

Build a index card tower in response to a design challenge.

Lesson adapted from the Engineering Adventures “Shake Things Up” curriculum from The Museum of Science, Boston.

LittleBits Introduction

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What You Do:

Explore circuits and their components.

Use the engineering design process to solve a problem.

Build functional circuits with LittleBits.

Lesson and media based off the material available at the LittleBits website.

Recommended Lead-Up Lesson: Circular Circuits

MagLev Trains

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What You Do:

Explore how scale models are built and used.

Learn about and apply magnetic properties.

Implement the engineering design process to problem solve.

Build a magnetically levitating “train”.

Origami Frogs

What You Need:

  • Pre-cut green paperorigami-jumping-frog-7
  • Googly eyes
  • Origami instructions

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What Do You Do?

  • Go through step-by-step instructions with the group as you make a jumping frog out of paper.
  • Add sticky eyes to the top and your frog is complete!

Summary:

This is intended as an end-of-year activity.  When kids are finished making frogs, we do a summary of all activities learned throughout the year–a bit of a question-answering contest.

 

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Bubble Geometry

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What You Need:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Small straws
  • Buckets with water
  • Dish soap

Bubble geometry

What Do You Do?

  • Thoroughly go over the bubble geometry presentation.
  • Give each student pipe cleaners and a handful of pre-cut small straws.
  • Have them make a cube, pyramid, or other 3-D shape with their supplies–make sure to keep a handle on the shape with pipe cleaners!
  • Go outside and dip the 3-D shape into the water with dish soap (bubble solution) and see what forms inside the shape.
  • If you can, try to blow bubbles with your wand!

What Happened?

Soap film must stretch to include the air trapped inside it, or reach the surfaces that form its boundaries.  The more soap film stretches, the more elastic potential energy it gains.  Soap film will stretch as little as possible to keep its potential energy low.  The soap film will try to keep its surface area small.

Refraction

What You Need:

  • Invisibility-through-refractionGlass test tubes
  • 500-1000 mL beakers
  • Baby oil

Light and reflection

What Do You Do?

  • Thoroughly go over the refraction presentation.
  • Fill the beaker about 3/4 full with baby oil.
  • Put the glass test tube into the beaker with oil–can you see the test tube?
  • Now slowly pour baby oil into the test tube (while it’s still in the beaker).  Can you see the test tube disappear?

What Happened?

When light travels from one material to another it usually changes speed. This change in speed makes light bend, and our eyes can see the change.

The refractive index is a measure of the change in speed of light when it passes from one material (like water or air) into another.

This activity uses two objects that have a similar refractive index, and light does not get bent (refracted) when it passes through the baby oil and into the glass. As no light is bent, our eyes cannot see a change in what’s there.

Light and Reflection

What You Need:

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  • Laser pointers
  • Bullseye printouts
  • Handheld mirrors

Light and reflection

What Do You Do?

  • Thoroughly go over the light and reflection presentation.
  • Group the students and have them practice reflecting the laser pointer light from the mirror to the bullseye.
  • If time permits, have student groups compete to see who can hit the bullseye the fastest!

What Happened?

Reflection occurs when light bounces off objects.  How much reflection depends upon how even the surface is.  If the surface is rough, the light scatters.  If the surface is smooth and flat, the light will bounce off it at equal angles.  That is why a flat mirror reflects a good likeness of the object being reflected.

Solar Bags

What You Need:

  • wslr_200-04Solar bags (ordered from Steve Spangler Science)
  • String to tie the bag shut and keep it from floating away!

Solar Bags

What Do You Do?

  • Thoroughly go over the Solar Bag pdf presentation.
  • Go outside and carefully roll out the solar bag and tie one end with the string.
  • After rolling out the bag and tying one of the ends, you have to run around and fill the bag with air.
  • Once it is full, tie the other end so that air can’t escape and watch the power of the sun at work!

What Happened?

The solar energy will heat up the air inside the bag causing the molecules to move around and bump into all sides of the solar bag and make it rise! This is a perfect experiment to learn about the properties of air, buoyancy and convection. It’s amazing science at work!