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

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. 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. 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

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,

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. 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

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. 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

Jul. 01, 2014

How Fireworks Get Their Colors

By Science Buddies

In this activity from Science Buddies, you will burn some metal salts to investigate what colors they make, then you'll explain to your family and friends how fireworks colors are made!

Jun. 27, 2014

Physics Secrets for Hula Hooping

By Science Buddies

In this activity from Science Buddies, kids will create their own hula hoops and investigate how the hoops' masses affect how they spin. Which do you think will spin better, a heavy hoop or a lighter one?

physics, speed, forces, weight, gravity, rotation, DIY, make, outdoor activities, sports, inertia, torque

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. 20, 2014

How Tails Help a Kite to Fly

By Science Buddies

In this activity from Science Buddies, you will experiment with how a kite's tail affects how it flies.

aerodynamics, wind, flight, forces, sled kite, drag, lift, force, resistance, outdoor, activity, summer

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. 02, 2014

Going to Extremes: Chia Seeds From Outer Space

By MAVEN Education and Public Outreach

In this activity, students will devise an experiment to find out whether chia seeds are still able to grow after exposure to extreme conditions like the ones we may find on other planets. This activity was created by MAVEN Outreach and Education to help t...

astrobiology, environment, extreme, experiment, extremophiles, botany, plants, life, organisms, characteristics of living things,

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



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