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)

Students construction and launch a straw rocket to learn about force and motion.

2021 S.C. Science Standard alignment
3-PS2-1  Balanced and unbalanced forces
4-PS3-1 Relating speed to energy
5-PS2-1 Effect of gravity
8-PS2-2  Effect of forces on object
P-PS2-1 Force, mass, acceleration

Related Careers:  aircraft technician,
aeronautical and aerospace engineer

All About Magnets(grades 3 and up)

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.

2021 S.C. Science Standard alignment
2-PS1-1 classify materials by observable properties
3-PS2-3 magnetic interactions

Related Careers:  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technician,
Manufacturing Engineer specializing in magnet production

Phases of the Moon (grades 5 and up)

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.

2021 S.C. Science Standard alignment (8th grade)
8-ESS1-1 lunar phases

Related Careers:  Astrophysicist, Astronaut, Astrologer

Earthquake! (grades 4 and up)

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

2021 S.C. Science Standard alignment
4-ESS2-2  plate tectonics, convection cells, patterns of earthquake locations
4-ESS3-2  preparing for natural hazards, reducing impacts
6-ESS2-3 plate tectonics
6-ESS3-2 preparing for natural hazards, reducing impacts

Related Careers:  Seismologist, Structural Engineer

Learning about Light (grades 1 and up)

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.)

2021 S.C. Science Standard Alignment
1-PS4-2 Reflected light
1-PS4-3 Light passing through different objects

Related Careers:  Laser Engineer, Optical Engineer

Whistle a Happy Tune (grades 1 and up)

Why do different materials produce different sounds?  Students will learn about the properties of sound and then create a whistle out of paper.

2021 S.C. Science Standard alignment
1-PS4-1 Vibrating materials make sound

Related Careers:  Recording Studio Engineer, Seismologist

Weather (grades 2 and up)

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.

2021 S.C. Science Standard alignment
2-PS1-4 changes caused by heating and cooling
2-ESS1-1 Earth events [erosion] can occur rapidly or slowly
2-ESS2-1 preventing wind and water erosion
3-ESS2-1 identify patterns and make predictions
5-ESS2-1 atmosphere (winds and clouds)
6-ESS2-5 air masses and weather conditions

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

Related Career:  Meteorologist

Silly Space Stuff (grades K and up)

tudents 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.)

2021 S.C. Science Standard alignment
2-PS-1 classify materials by observable properties

Related Careers:  Chemical Engineers, Chemical Technicians

Working with Telescopes (grades 4 and up)

Students build and use a telescope and learn how astronomy is important in navigation and exploration.

2021 S.C. Science Standard alignment
8-PS4-1 Model of waves
PS4.A Wave properties
ETS2.B Technologies extending scientific investigations

Related Careers:  Physicists, Astronomers, Telescope Technician