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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. 

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, Writing Prompts and Lab Journals, 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 are required to implement one of the provided pre-visit activities (journal writing and/or vocabulary) and post-visit activites (journal writing and/or activity) in your classroom.  


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)


Pre-Visit and Post-Visit Activities

Writing Prompts and Lab Journals
Keeping a lab journal is an essential part of any scientist’s or engineer’s job.  A lab journal serves as an ongoing collection of ideas, prototypes, drawings, data, calculations, failures, successes, and conclusions.  We have designed a simple lab journal to be used by your young engineers and scientists in the Tech Science Labs in hopes that they too will document their hard work from the classroom to the lab and beyond.

Each lab journal is a blank journal that includes two pages each for vocabulary, pre-visit writing, lab notes and sketches, museum notes and sketches, and post-visit writing.  Although you do not have to use all of the sections within the journal, we feel that your students’ learning experience in the lab and in the museum galleries will be maximized by utilizing all aspects of the journal. Implementing the lab journal is also one method of incorporating language arts into your science curriculum.  
The following document contains pre-visit and post-visit writing prompts and topics for all seven of our labs that may be used for your Lab Journals: Pre-Visit and Post-Visit Writing Prompts.  Journals will be found below with each corresponding lab topic.  


Pre-Visit Vocabulary
Each pre-visit vocabulary document features important terms for each lab as well as several graphic organizers and games that may be used to help your students review the vocabulary.  All documents will be found below with each corresponding lab topic.

Post-Visit Activities
Post-visit activities generally require some additional materials and time to prepare.  Please download and review before coming to the lab so you have time to properly prepare and ask questions if necessary.  All documents will be found below with each corresponding lab topic.

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.

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 Lab Journal
Physics of Roller Coasters Lab Journal: Grades 2-3
Physics of Roller Coasters Pre-Visit Vocabulary

Physics of Roller Coasters Lab Lesson Plan
Physics of Roller Coasters Post-Visit Activity: Balloon Hovercrafts
hysics of Roller Coasters Post-Visit Activity: Kinetic Energy/Potential Energy (Grades 2-3)

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 Lab Journal
Chemicals of Innovation Pre-Visit Vocabulary

Chemicals of Innovation Lab Lesson Plan
Chemicals of Innovation Post-Visit Activity: Getting Warmer or Getting Cooler?
hemicals of Innovation Post-Visit Activity: Acid and Base Rainbows

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 Lab Journal
Engineering for Earthquakes Pre-Visit Vocabulary

Engineering for Earthquakes Lab Lesson Plan
Engineering for Earthquakes Post-Visit Activity: Earthquake in a Box
ngineering for Earthquakes Post-Visit Activity: Liquefaction

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 Lab Journal
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 Lab Journal
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
reen by Design Post-Visit Activity: Greenhouse Effect in a Bag

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 Lab Journal
implicity of Electricity Pre-Visit Vocabulary
Simplicity of Electricity Lab Lesson Plan
Simplicity of Electricity Post-Visit Activity: Electric Zapper
implicity of Electricity Post-Visit Activity: Lemon Battery