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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 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

Chemistry Concentration Students will learn about what affects the concentration of a solution by detecting the amount of vanilla dissolved in water. 5-PS1-1 3-9 Terry Bates

Department of Food Science

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 Density Column Students 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

4-6 CCMR Outreach Staff
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 Diffusion Students will learn about diffusion and what factors can affect it with a few simple demonstrations. 5-PS1-1

MS-PS1-4

3-8 Qingyuan Zhu

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Physics Exploring Light Students 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

Physics Exploring Newton’s Laws of Motion Students 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

6-12 Kevin Nangoi & Nathan Sitaraman

Department of Physics

Physics Exploring 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

5-8 Rakshit Jain

Department of Physics

Federico Presutti

Department of Applied and Engineering Physics

 

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

LS3.A

5-12 Cheyenne Peltier

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Chemistry Glued into Science: Sustainable Polymers Students 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

5-12 Scott Spring

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

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

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

5-PS1-3

K-5 Darrah Johnson-McDaniel

CCMR Research Support Staff

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-PS2-2
K-2-ETS1-1
3-5-ETS1-1
MS-ETS1-1
K-8 Hanyu Zhang

Department of Applied and Engineering Physics

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

MS-PS4-2

K-8 Michelle Kelley

Department of Physics

Physics Physics of Flight Students 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
Chemistry Red 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

2-8 Grace Hester

Sarah Parke

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

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

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
MS-PS1-1
K-8 CCMR Outreach Staff
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.
3-PS2-3
MS-PS2-5
HS-PS2-4
3-12 Prof. Natasha Holmes

Department of Physics

 

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