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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 
PhysicsAir Pressure: Bernoulli’s PrincipleStudents will learn about the principles of fluid dynamics to understand everyday phenomena such as how airplanes fly.MS-PS2-23-8Renee Sifri

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

ChemistryConcentrationStudents will learn about what affects the concentration of a solution by detecting the amount of vanilla dissolved in water.5-PS1-13-9Terry Bates

Department of Food Science

ChemistryCrystal Growing: Homemade Rock CandyStudents 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-PS1-43-8Tracky Huang

Prof. Justin Wilson

Nick Bigham

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

PhysicsDensity ColumnStudents will explore density by creating a density column using different household liquids. They will add some simple materials to their column to estimate their densities.5-PS1-3

MS-PS1-1

4-6CCMR Outreach Staff
PhysicsDensity of CoinsStudents 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-PS1-17-12Nick Bigham

Prof. Justin Wilson

Tracky Huang

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

ChemistryDiffusionStudents will learn about diffusion and what factors can affect it with a few simple demonstrations.5-PS1-1

MS-PS1-4

3-8Qingyuan Zhu

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

PhysicsExploring LightStudents will use the light sensor in their phones, using a free app (Science Journal), to explore the properties of light with different materials. They will also learn how to use light to measure concentration and estimate the concentration of juice in a mixture.MS-PS4-2

HS-PS4-4

3-12 

Prof. Phillip Milner, Ruth Mandel, & Kaitlyn MacMillan

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

PhysicsExploring MagnetismStudents will use the magnometer sensor in their phones, using a free app (Science Journal), to explore magnetism and to look at the relationship between magnetic force and distance.2-PS1-1

3-PS2-4

MS-PS2-3

HS-PS2-5

3-8Prof. Greg Fuchs, Brendan McCullian, & Jialun Luo

Department of Physics

PhysicsExploring Newton’s Laws of MotionStudents will use the accelerometer sensor in their phones, using a free app (Science Journal), to explore Newton’s Laws of Motion by measuring the acceleration of objects and calculating the amount of force used to cause the motion.MS-PS2-2

HS-PS2-1

6-12Kevin Nangoi & Nathan Sitaraman

Department of Physics

PhysicsExploring Sound

 

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

MS-ETS1-4

5-8Rakshit Jain

Department of Physics

Federico Presutti

Department of Applied and Engineering Physics

 

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

LS3.A

5-12Cheyenne Peltier

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

ChemistryGlued into Science: Sustainable PolymersStudents will create different polymers through the process of cross-linking. They will then observe and test for the properties of these and other household plastics.MS-PS1-2

MS-PS1-3

5-12Scott Spring

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

PhysicsNanomaterials: how to stretch a 2-D materialStudents 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-ETS1-44-12Beth Rhoades

Cornell NanoScale Facility

Chemistry/PhysicsNon-Newtonian FluidsStudents 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

5-PS1-3

K-5Darrah Johnson-McDaniel

CCMR Research Support Staff

PhysicsPaper BridgesStudents will learn about the forces that act on a bridge and experiment to build the strongest bridge using a single sheet of paper.K-PS2-2
K-2-ETS1-1
3-5-ETS1-1
MS-ETS1-1
K-8Hanyu Zhang

Department of Applied and Engineering Physics

PhysicsPhysics of BubblesStudents will use some common materials found in the kitchen to make bubbles and observe some of their properties.1-PS4-3

MS-PS4-2

K-8Michelle Kelley

Department of Physics

PhysicsPhysics of FlightStudents can apply Bernoulli’s Principle by making paper helicopters and/or paper airplanes. They will learn about the forces that act on flight and experiment to test how a variable affects flight.3-5-ETS1-1 & 2

3-PS2-1 & 2

MS-ETS1-2

CCMR Staff
ChemistryRed Cabbage Chemistry

Students will learn about acids and bases by making an indicator solution with red cabbage and testing different household liquids to find out their pH.2-PS1-1

5-PS1-3

MS-PS1-2

2-8Grace Hester

Sarah Parke

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

PhysicsSpeed of LightStudents will melt chocolate in a microwave to calculate the speed of light. HS-PS4-48-12Berit Goodge

Department of Applied and Engineering Physics

Chemistry/PhysicsSurface TensionStudents 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
MS-PS1-1
K-8CCMR Outreach Staff
PhysicsStatic Sticky TapeStudents 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.
3-PS2-3
MS-PS2-5
HS-PS2-4
3-12Prof. Natasha Holmes

Department of Physics

 

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