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The Tech Science Labs

Give your students a deeper learning experience as they explore different science topics in our interactive, 90-minute hands-on labs. Our lab instructors provide an engaging science experience with Design Challenge Learning, captivating your students through an open-ended design process. Students work together to find creative solutions to real-world science and engineering challenges, while reinforcing science concepts and developing 21st century skills and habits of mind of Silicon Valley innovators.  All labs meet state and national standards.

Visit our galleries along with your lab and see Lab and Gallery Connections to create a strategic path through the museum for your students. All labs and galleries are inspired by the innovative science & technology of Silicon Valley, and designed to spark fascination for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math).

"The labs are fabulous!  Super hands on with knowledgeable instructors!"
—4th grade teacher, Bowers Elementary School


Science Labs for 2014-2015

We currently offer 7 different lab topics. Short descriptions of each lab are below, along with Lesson Plans, Pre-Visit Vocabulary, and Post-Visit Activities that expand on topics covered in the lab.  

If you are a Title 1 school and have been granted a fee-waived lab, you must implement the pre-visit vocabulary and/or the post-visit activity in your classroom.  

The pre-visit vocabulary available for download includes the vocabulary terms relevant to the lab as well as a set of graphic organizers and games to help your class learn and review the vocabulary.  We will also be adding lab journals with writing prompts and additional post-visit activities, so please check back soon.

State and National Standards Connections

Below you will find charts that show all state and national standards connections to the labs by grade level.  All of our labs support Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core Language Arts, and California Science Content Standards.

Second Grade Standards Connections
Third Grade Standards Connections
Fourth Grade Standards Connections
Fifth Grade Standards Connections
Middle School Standards Connections (Grades 6-8)
High School Standards Connections (Grades 9-12)

Lab Offerings

Galactic Forces of Magnetism 

Grades 3-8
Discover magnetic forces from our home on Earth to the outer reaches of the Milky Way.  Students learn about planetary magnetic fields and experiment with electricity, magnetic fields and the combination of the two--electromagnets.
Galactic Forces of Magnetism Pre-Visit Vocabulary
Galactic Forces of Magnetism Lesson Plan
Galactic Forces of Magnetism Post-Visit Activity: Make Your Own Compass

Physics of Roller Coasters

Grades 2-8 (Adaptable for high school students)
Discover the science and engineering behind thrill rides!  Students explore kinetic and potential energy, friction, and the engineering process by designing and prototyping their own roller coasters.

Physics of Roller Coasters Pre-Visit Vocabulary
Physics of Roller Coasters Lab Lesson Plan
Physics of Roller Coasters Post-Visit Activity: Balloon Hovercrafts

Chemicals of Innovation

Grades 5-8
Investigate chemical properties and bring the periodic table to life by experimenting with chemical reactions and exploring real-life applications and innovations featuring the elements of life.

Chemicals of Innovation Pre-Visit Vocabulary
Chemicals of Innovation Lab Lesson Plan
Chemicals of Innovation Post-Visit Activity: Getting Warmer or Getting Cooler?

Engineering for Earthquakes

Grades 5-8 (Adaptable for High School Students)
Construct seismically sound structures to survive "The Big One." Students work as teams to practice the structural design and engineering process as they learn about one of California's greatest natural threats: earthquakes.

Engineering for Earthquakes Pre-Visit Vocabulary
Engineering for Earthquakes Lab Lesson Plan
Engineering for Earthquakes Post-Visit Activity: Earthquake in a Box

DNA and Genetics

Grades 6-12
Students will investigate the wonders of DNA and genetics by examining their own cheek cells, spooling DNA from animal cells, and discovering some of their hidden genetic traits. This lab was created in partnership with the Stanford Genetics Department.

DNA and Genetics Pre-Visit Vocabulary
DNA and Genetics Lab Lesson Plan
DNA and Genetics Post-Visit Activity: Who Has the Gene? (Teacher sheet)
DNA and Genetics Post-Visit Activity: Who Has the Gene? (Student worksheet)

Green by Design

Grades 3-8
Harness the power of wind and sun!  Students work as teams to investigate the power of solar cells and create solar-powered cities.  They then build their own wind turbines. 

Green by Design Pre-Visit Vocabulary 

Green by Design Lab Lesson Plan
Green by Design Post-Visit Activity: Which Direction Wind Vane
Green by Design Post-Visit Activity: Solar Cooker

Simplicity of Electricity

Grades 4-8
Explore properties of static and current electricity with everyday objects.  Students investigate conductors and insulators as they tinker with electricity through the creation of circuits.

Simplicity of Electricity Pre-Visit Vocabulary
Simplicity of Electricity Lab Lesson Plan
Simplicity of Electricity Post-Visit Activity: Electric Zapper