In this activity, learners use a hand-made protractor to measure angles they find in playground equipment. Learners will observe that angle measurements do not change with distance, because they are distance invariant, or constant. Note: The "Pocket Protractor" activity should be done ahead as a separate activity (see related resource), but a standard protractor can be used as a substitute.
In this optics activity, learners discover that when they rotate a special black and white pattern called a Benham's Disk, it produces the illusion of colored rings. Learners experiment with the speed of rotation and direction of rotation to observe varying patterns. Use this activity to explain to learners how our eyes detect color and how different color receptors in the eye respond at different rates.
Cardboard Automata are a playful way to explore simple machine elements while creating a mechanical sculpture. This activity was inspired by the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, a group of automata builders based in England. Artists like Paul Spooner, Keith Newstead, and Carlos Zapata build beautiful narrative pieces using elegant mechanisms based on cams, gears, springs, and linkages. Working with simple materials, this activity is easy to get started, and may become as complex as your mechanical sculpture ideas.
In this activity, learners use pattern blocks and mirrors to explore symmetry. Learners work in pairs and build mirror images of each other's designs. In doing so, learners will examine principles of symmetry and reflection.
In this activity, learners design unique tiles and make repeating patterns to create tessellations. This activity combines the creativity of an art project with the challenge of solving a puzzle. This lesson features three investigations, in which learners make tessellations by translating, rotating, and reflecting the patterns.
In this activity, learners repeat patterns in two and three dimensions to create tessellations. This activity combines the creativity of an art project with the challenge of solving a puzzle. This lesson features three investigations that are appropriate for varying grades and levels.
In this activity, learners use their hands as tools for indirect measurement. Learners explore how to use ratios to calculate the approximate height of something that can't be measured directly by first measuring something that can be directly measured. This activity can also be used to explain how scientists use indirect measurement to determine distances between things in the universe that are too far away, too large or too small to measure directly (i.e. diameter of the moon or number of bacteria in a volume of liquid).
Light painting is a creative activity that involves creating striking images and illusions using a camera, a light source, and a little practice. Light paintings may be literal representations or impressionistic, color-filled images. When the camera shutter is open (and the room is dark) the film or digital sensor acts like a blank canvas onto which learners "paint" with a flashlight.
In this activity, learners slide shapes to create unusual tiled patterns. Learners transform a rectangle into a more interesting shape and then make a tessellation by repeating that shape over and over again. Learners will also calculate the area of a rectangle. This activity works best as a "centers" activity.
In this activity, learners explore scale by using building cubes to see how changing the length, width, and height of a three-dimensional object affects its surface area and its volume. Learners build bigger and bigger cubes to understand these scaling relationships.
This site invites children of all ages to explore the science of music through movies, questions, and online exhibits. Compose, mix, and play with music in ways you probably haven't before. Find out what makes sad music sad, why some songs get stuck in your head, and how opera singers are able to sing notes that seem to last forever.
In this art meets science activity, learners pack silver, ball-shaped ornaments in a single layer in a box to create an array of spherical reflectors. Learners can use this as a tool to study the properties of spherical mirrors while creating colorful mosaic reflections. This is a great optics activity to use during the holiday season or any time of year.
In this activity, learners walk the sides and interior angles of various polygons drawn on the playground. As they do so, learners practice rotating clockwise 180 and 360 degrees. Learners discover there is a pattern to the sum of the interior angles of any polygon.