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Lesson Plans

Below are links to activities that have been developed and tested by Cornell scientists. They use common materials that students can find in their homes.

  Subject    Activity    Objective  Next Generation Science Standards  Grade Level   Author 
Physics Sound Effects Students will learn about the principles of sound, by constructing a speaker to amplify the sound and then to find a solution to reduce the perceived sound volume. MS-PS4-2


5-8 CCMR Staff
Physics Speed of Light Students will melt chocolate in a microwave to calculate the speed of light.  HS-PS4-4 8-12 Berit Goodge

Department of Applied and Engineering Physics

 Physics  Air Pressure: Bernoulli’s Principle Students will learn about the principles of fluid dynamics to understand everyday phenomena such as how airplanes fly. MS-PS2-2  3-8 Renee Sifri

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

 Biology Extracting DNA Students will learn about the importance of DNA and will be able to see it by extracting some from strawberries. LS1.A


5-12 Cheyenne Peltier

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Chemistry/Physics Non-Newtonian Fluids Students will about the difference between Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids. They will then observe the properties of a non-Newtonian fluid using cornstarch and water. 2-PS1-1


K-5 Darrah Johnson-McDaniel

CCMR Research Support Staff

Physics Physics of Bubbles Students will use some common materials found in the kitchen to make bubbles and observe some of their properties 1-PS4-3


K-8 Michelle Kelley

Department of Physics


Physics Paper Bridges Students will learn about the forces that act on a bridge and experiment to build the strongest bridge using a single sheet of paper.
K-8 Hanyu Zhang

Department of Applied and Engineering Physics

Chemistry/Physics Surface Tension Students will investigate the a property of water called surface tension. They will build a simple boat that uses surface tension to propel itself. 5-PS1-3
K-8 Grace Hester

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Physics Density of Coins Students will use a ruler and a simple, home-built balance scale, to measure the mass and volume of coins and use this information to calculate the density.  MS-PS1-1 7-12 Nick Bigham

Prof. Justin Wilson

Tracky Huang

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Chemistry Crystal Growing: Homemade Rock Candy Students will learn about how a solution changes through the crystallization of sugar and understand how temperature affects the ability of water to dissolve sugar (solubility). 5-PS1-4 3-8 Tracky Huang

Prof. Justin Wilson

Nick Bigham

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Physics Static Sticky Tape Students will use scotch tape to observe some of the properties of static electricity. Older students can also explore how a variable might affect the electrostatic force of the tape.
K-12 Prof. Natasha Holmes

Department of Physics

Physics Nanomaterials: how to stretch a 2-D material Students will learn about thin 2-D materials, like graphene, and make a stretchable in-plane spring out of a sheet of paper. They will then test how the number of cuts affects the stretchiness of the paper.
MS-ETS1-3 MS-ETS1-4 4-12 Beth Rhoades

Cornell NanoScale Facility


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