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Investigations, activities, & teaching plans
Classified by dimensions of science & age levels

Integrated ideas


Inquiry & science cross cutting concepts, processes, & skills

Science cross cutting concepts, processes, & skills

Order and organization

Evidence, Explanations, and Models

Change, Constancy, and Measurement

Evolution and Equilibrium

Form and Function



Physical Science

  • Air - as matter, occupies space, & pressure
  • Balance and stability - activities & plans
  • Balloon Piercing | Plastic bag piercing |
  • Bubble exploration - 12 activities with plans: bubbles in the air, under water, on a surface, anti bubbles, big bubbles, little bubbles, Alka-seltzer bubbles, measuring bubbles, color of bubbles
  • Chemistry - lab notes for activity to model atoms, elements, & compounds with nuts & bolts.
  • Colored Water - liquids as matter, mass, density
  • Density - learning cycle inquiry activities for middle grade to apply linear, mass, volume, measurement for matter, to introduce density of solids, liquids, & gases. Includes 14 activities with lesson plans and lab sheets. Includes pop can float, wood, metal, plastic, gas, assorted materials, cubes, spheres, population of school rooms, cross cutting concepts measurement, change, properties, variables, operational definitions Assessment data base for density related concepts
  • Electrical circuits - A middle level study of electricity and magnetism. Activities start with a historical static influence. Moving to understand current electricity in a simple closed circuit (bulb, battery, & wire) by creating a model that explains the energy transfer from source to receiver. Continues to circuit tester, multiple sources & receivers in parallel and series, resistance, make a switch, electical puzzles, electro magnetism, & electro scale.
  • Electricity - static electricity
  • Energy - activities and concepts - no instructional suggestions
  • Force, mass, and movement activities - annotated list of activities
  • Gravity, acceleration, inertia, friction - includes link to moon feather hammer experiment
  • Heat and energy transfer * - teacher directed plan with lab notes to explore: hot & cold with touch, variety of activities using water, mixing hot & cold water, warming ice water to boiling, salt & ice, temperatures of cars in sunshine, blowing hot & cold bubbles, conduction, convection, & radiation.
  • Heat energy and conservation - candle & heat
  • Hoop & bottle challenge - force, motion, Newton's laws of motion
  • Kitchen science - food groups, fat test, acid test, sugar test, yeast
Ph index image
  • Motion
  • Light - unit plan for grade four a & up, activities to collect evidence & reason abou the properties of light. Make diagrams & models. Activities include: How light travels, explore flat mirrors, string mirror apparatus, mirror puzzles, bouncing light & text reflections, refraction & liquids, bent pencil, appearing coin, lens & different liquids in cylindrical containers, lens & two slit beams, lens & candle, sight & eye , pin hole camera, light & color - white light through colored filters, colored objects in colored ligh, colored paper reflections, mixing colored light, light, shadows, & their shapes, light, shadows, & their properties, analysis of light, shadows, & highlights in works of art, light & shadows of different colors, reviews - prisms & light, water lens, turning colored light - white, making fire from light
  • Light - optical illusions - Unit plans, activities, & supporting information for activities: Go (red) - Stop (green) color illusion; Hello Red Fox by Eric Carle; Zoomer & tops for color blending, zoomers & pencil flipper for bird in cage illusion; filter light; shadows, black, white, gray illusions; rotoscope; perspective & warped window illusion; & flip book with plane looping.
  • Magnetism & magnets - activities & lesson plan for a unit on the properties of magnets. Explore magnets, magnetic materials & non magnetic, magnetism through different materials, strength of magnets, iron filings to explore magnetic poles & magnetic fields, rules of attraction, strength of magnets, fish and clips, holding power of multiple magnets, & floating magnets
  • Measurement: middle level review of linear, mass, volume, measurement of matter, with an introduction to density with directed inquiry activities & blank student lab notes
  • Mixtures - Solid, liquid, filter, solutions
  • Pressure and Equilibrium - balloons, fizz keepers, and two-liter plastic bottles | Plastic bag piercing |
  • Probes - experiments that use electronic probes and data collecting software
  • Propulsion -
  • Ramps and paths for rolling spheres
  • Rolling Spheres - relative position & motion inquiry unit, focuses on sphere tracks
  • Relative Position & Motion - sample science unit plan with science dimensions integrated
  • Outdoor education activities
  • RubberBandOlogy - elasticity & inquiry activities
  • Simple Machines - A unit with plans, to review or develop a beginning understanding of simple machines through science explorations. Simple machines introduced: inclined plane, lever, & pulley.
    • Water splatter imageLevers - Unit with activities to develop a deeper understanding of levers. Includes three classes of levers and concepts for physical science, inquiry, & science habits of mind.
    • Simple machine activities with K'Nex - Examples of incline plane, measure distance from different heights, pulley, free pulley, screw, grain auger, super ball track, equal arm balance, bridges, cooperative building, team building
  • SOAP-BUBBLES and the Force which mould them. - first book on soap bubbles.
  • Solid, Liquid, Gas -
  • Sound unit - for fourth grade including notes on its development
  • States of matter properties chart
  • Static electricity -
  • Structure - Notes on relationship of walls & roof. Related to Minds of their own series.
  • Surface tension 1 - Paper clips and coins in a cup full of water, Drops on coins, floating objects, plain water, soapy water
  • Surface tension 2 - coins in a cup full of water. surface tension, pepper in water, tooth pick attract.
  • Temperature by touch - Developing explanations for why different objects feel different temperatures
  • Temperature -activities & concepts including thermometers, no instructional procedures
  • Water - absorption, cohesion, adhesion
  • Water cycle - condensation, transpiration, percolation, absorption, condensation

Life Science

Animal & Ph of water survival


Human Health & Anatomy


Personal food computer


Earth, Atmosphere, and Space Links





Science perspectives





History of Science

Nature of Science

Design process steps

A comprehensive design process has many ideas that can be used to guide a design process. However, the use of different ideas depends on the problem and the design being considered. While the process is sorta linear, sorta cyclical, and sorta random. Meaning it can be started at any point and move to any other point the designer desides to consider next.

There is no magic number of steps or ideas to be included in a process, but it is helpful to start with four or five ideas and add more or subtopics, as users become familiar with designing.

A basic design with limited steps and a more comprehensive process follows:

A basic design process includes:

  1. Ask: - What is the problem?
    • Empathize - consider others’ needs beyond solving the problem. (Ask)
    • Define the problem and create meaningful and actionable problem statement. (Ask)
  2. Imagine solutions - encourage innovation throughout brainstorming. May be helpful to remember that any design is culture-bound and visual memories are very influential. creative design may be found outside one's culture or altering a known visualization. Visualization is necessary in engineering. Visualize and draw.
  3. Iterate prototypes - identify and develop a best solution through multiple iterations. (Research, identify, design, draw, evaluate, solution, prototype)
  4. Test - evaluate prototypes and consider improvements. (Test, redesign, redraw, create or make the solution)
  5. Present & communicate the solution - draw, model, and explain.

A more comprehensive representation of the design process:


Design process


Design problems

  • Design error
  • Operator error
  • Poor maintenance of vital parts
  • Complex combination of risks


Model process

Models have explanatory and predictive power (physical objects, plans, mental constructs, mathematical equations, computer simulations...) that may or may not be observed with real objects, systems, and events. They are created with information collected from observations, facts, laws, inferences, thought, and reasoning. They represent systems or things and are used to provide an explanation.

Model of models

More information on models in the literate section of models in the science processes knowledge base. Or activities in the evidence, explanations, & models section.