Hands-On Science Explorations

Extend your visit to the Challenger Learning Center to a day-long event!  Include a hands-on science exploration to your package and let you students learn science by doing science.

If you are looking for an exploration focused on a particular standard/indicator, please let us know.  The grade levels listed are recommended, not required.  If you would like one of the activities for a grade level not listed, let us know.  Many of the lessons can be adjusted to different age levels.

Straw Rockets (grades 3 and up)
***aligned to the 2014 S.C. Science Standards***
Students construct and launch a straw rocket to learn about force and motion.

Elementary Level Straw Rockets
5.P.5A.2:  contact and non-contact forces
5.P.5A.3:  balanced and unbalanced forces
5.P.5A.5:  reduce the effects of friction

Middle Level Straw Rockets
8.P.2A.2:  balanced and unbalanced forces
8.P.2A.4:  Newton’s Third Law of Motion

High Level Straw Rockets
H.P.2B.3:  Newton’s Third Law of Motion

All About Magnets(grades 2 and up)
***aligned to the 2014 S.C. Science Standards***
Students explore the properties of magnets!  As an add-on option, students can construct a Levitator (a paper car that travels on a magnetic track) and race their own Levitator.

Elementary Level Magnets
2.P.3B.1:  how magnet poles attract and repel each other
2.P.3B.2:  observe the effects of magnets on various materials
2.P.3B.3:  observe how magnets are used

Phases of the Moon (grades 4 and up)
***aligned to the 2014 S.C. Science Standards***
Students use a three-dimensional model to visualize the relative positions of the Sun, Moon, and Earth.  Students construct a “spinner” that demonstrates the correct phase of the Moon for its position.

Elementary Level Phases of the Moon
4.E.3B.1:  describe patterns in the location and appearance of the Moon

Middle Level Phases of the Moon
8.E.4B.4:  use models to explain how motions in Sun-Earth-Moon system cause moon phases

Bottle Rocket Competition (grades 3 and up)
***aligned to the 2014 S.C. Science Standards***
Students construct a bottle rocket to understand and explain Newton’s Three Laws of Motion.  Students also compare model rocket launches with space shuttle launches. ***Bottle rockets must be launched outdoors.  During inclement weather, students construct straw rockets instead of bottle rockets.***

Elementary Level Bottle Rockets
5.P.5A.2:  contact and non-contact forces
5.P.5A.3:  balanced and unbalanced forces
5.P.5A.5:  reduce the effects of friction

Middle Level Bottle Rockets
8.P.2A.2:  balanced and unbalanced forces
8.P.2A.4:  Newton’s Third Law of Motion

High Level Bottle Rockets
H.P.2B.3:  Newton’s Third Law of Motion

Earthquake! (grades 3 and up)
***aligned to the 2014 S.C. Science Standards***
Students learn about earthquakes and their properties.  Students construct a two-story tower to understand and explain earthquakes.  Students test their own tower using a Pitsco Epicenter Earthquake Simulator

Elementary Level Earthquake!
3.E.4B.4 design a structure to withstand an earthquake.

Learning about Light (grades 4 and up)
***aligned to the 2014 S.C. Science Standards***

Light is all around us, but what is it all about? Students will learn about and explore the properties and characteristics of light. Students will create a color wheel that demonstrates that white light is made of many different colors.  (Extended lesson:  students will create transparent/translucent/opaque glasses.)

Elementary Level Learning about Light
4.P.4A.1 Colors in White Light
4.P.4A.4 Reflection, Refraction, Absorption
4.P.4A.5 Transparent, Translucent, Opaque

Weather (grades 4 and up)
***now aligned to the 2014 S.C. Science Standards***
Students act as meteorologists, learning to recognize the three types of clouds and using thermometers, barometers, anemometers, and other weather instruments to accurately describe weather phenomena.  As a culminating activity, students play the Cloud Game to test their knowledge about the types of clouds they have learned about.

Elementary Level Weather
4.E.2B.1 weather tools and cloud types

Middle Level Weather
6.E.2B.1 weather tools and cloud types

additional resource:  http://scool.larc.nasa.gov/

Silly Space Stuff (grades K and up)

Students act as space scientists who have discovered a new substance from Mars.  They use their five sense to describe the substance after making it from simple household materials.  (Students may take their Silly Space Stuff home with them.  Silly Space Stuff lasts for about two weeks.)