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The Tech Science Labs

Give your students a deeper learning experience as they explore different science and engineering 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 (found in the Teacher Resource Guide) 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).

 

Science Labs for 2015-2016

We currently offer 7 different lab topics. Short descriptions of each lab are below, along with Teacher Resource Guides and Post-Lab 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-lab activities (journal writing and/or vocabulary) and post-lab activites (journal writing and/or activity) in your classroom.   All pre-lab activities can be found in the Teacher Resource Guides below.

 

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-Lab and Post-Lab Activities

Teacher Resource Guides

Each lab has an associated Teacher Resource Guide filled with pre-lab information and resources to help teachers prepare students for the lab experience and connect the lab experience to the classroom.  Teacher Resource Guides include a brief summary of the lab, state and national standard connections, related internet links and games, Tech Museum Gallery and Exhibit connections, writing prompts, and pre-lab vocabulary terms, graphic organizers, and 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-lab writing, lab notes and sketches, museum notes and sketches, and post-lab 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-lab and post-lab writing prompts and topics for all seven of our labs that may be used for your Lab Journals: Pre-Lab and Post-Lab Writing Prompts.  Lab Journals may be downloaded from the links below:

Galactic Forces of Magnetism
Physics of Roller Coasters (Grades 2-3)
Physics of Roller Coasters (Grades 4+)
Chemicals of Innovation
Simplicity of Electricity
Green by Design
Engineering for Earthquakes
DNA and Genetics


Post-Lab Activities
Post-lab 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.

Teacher Resource Guide

Post-Lab Activity
DIY Compass
More post-lab activities coming soon...


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.

Teacher Resource Guide

Post-Lab Activities
Balloon Hovercrafts
Rubber Band Fling
Potential Energy-Kinetic Energy Red Light Green Light  (Grades 2-3)
R
ubber Band Cars

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.

Teacher Resource Guide

Post-Lab Activities
Periodic Table Battleship
pH Rainbows
R
eaction Rate Races
G
reen Pennies

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.

Teacher Resource Guide

Post-Lab Activities
Earthquake in a Box
Liquefaction
D
IY Shake Table
Convection Currents
 

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.

Teacher Resource Guide

Post-Lab Activities
Who Has the Gene? (Teacher sheet)-PTC Tasting papers will be provided in the lab for take-home activity
Who Has the Gene? (Student worksheet)
More post-lab activities coming soon...

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. 

Teacher Resource Guide

Post-Lab Activities
Which Direction Wind Vane
Solar Cooker
G
reenhouse 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.

Teacher Resource Guide

Post-Lab Activities
Electric Zapper
Lemon Battery
More post-lab activities coming soon...