Educational Programs

V-Lab Elementary School Program and Experiments

Elementary School (5th grade):

The Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) topic(s) that are supported by the experiments are shown in parentheses at the end of each description. The available dates are shown in blue at the end of each description.

ES-01. A World of Measurements – ES:
This experiment serves as an introduction to or reinforcement of concepts relating to measurements. Through a series of investigations, students will become more familiar with different tools that are used by scientists, as well as everyday household items that are designed specifically for measuring. (5-PS1-3)
September 23 – September 27, 2019

ES-02. Candy Color Wheel – Mixing and Separating Colors:
Students will look at the formation and separation of secondary colors from primary colors using an M&M color wheel. We will mix colors using primary colored M&Ms and water, then use paper chromatography to separate them again. We will also make a cardboard color wheel to observe the color mixing. (2-PS1-1, 2-PS1-2, 2-PS1-3, 5-PS1-2, 5-PS1-3)
December 9 – December 13, 2019

ES-03S. Curious Crystals:
In this activity, students will carefully look at known household crystals. Students will observe and describe the crystals, and use a series of tests looking at color, shape, hardness and solubility. An unknown crystal, which is chemically the same as one of the known crystals but looks different, is also included. As an optional experiment, students can gather enough evidence to identify the unknown crystal. (2-PS1-1, 2-PS1-2, 2-PS1-3, 2-PS1-4)
January 6 – January 10, 2020

ES-04S. What’s The Matter?:
This experiment involves testing how five different substances behave when treated with water and observing and recording their physical and chemical properties. This will facilitate discussions on the different states of matter and how to compare, contrast, and categorize different substances. The concepts of (1) conservation of mass, and (2) all matter is made of particles too small to be seen, will be discussed. Continued observations over a week will enhance and reinforce these concepts. (5-PS1-1, 5-PS1-2, 5-PS1-3, 5-PS1-4)
October 7 – October 11, 2019

ES-05S. Electroplating – Science Cents:
In this experiment students will investigate what happens to pennies and nails during an electroplating process using vinegar and various combinations of zinc, sugar, and salt. They will be introduced to the concept of variables in a scientific experiment and will also become familiar with the concepts surrounding matter and conservation of matter. (5-PS1-1)
April 6 – April 11, 2020

ES-06. Gravity – What Goes Up Must Come Down:
This lab investigates the force of gravity by carrying out “speed sinking” races using beans of different size and shape. The beans will be dropped into containers of water. Students will investigate the effects of resistance on the speed of sinking. A final, classic demonstration of falling in a vacuum will be used to illustrate this effect. (5-PS2-1)
October 28 – November 1, 2019

ES-07S. Erosion – Water Digs It!:
An investigation into the process of erosion and environmental factors that influence the degree of erosion will be conducted. Students will complete several experiments exploring the factors that slow down or speed up the process of erosion. The effects of erosion on our environment will also be discussed. (5-ESS2-1, 5-ESS3-1)
February 10 – February 14, 2020

ES-08. The Reasons for the Seasons:
In this experiment, students will explore the astronomical factors that go into determining the seasons of the year. They will learn about the orbit of the earth and explore how the tilting of the earth gives rise to the seasonal change we all experience. Students will have the opportunity to graphically analyze their results and draw conclusions about why different regions of the earth experience the seasonal change differently due to the earth’s tilt. (5-ESS2-1, 5-ESS1-2)
May 25 – May 29, 2020

ES-09S. Flowers for the Bees – Ecology:
This experiment is designed to fortify the understanding of ecology, ecosystems, food chains and the transfer of energy in a living/biological environment. Students will learn about the ecosystem of the honeybee and investigate and design the best soil conditions for the growth of wildflowers, the honeybee’s food source. Along the way, they will also learn how plants can convert energy from the sun, soil, and water into alternate sources of energy for the bees to eat. (5-PS3-1, 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1, 5-ESS3-1)
May 4 – May 8, 2020
Please note: The content for this experiment and MS-08S Bombs Away! A Lesson in Ecology is very similar, with differences appropriate for each grade level.

ES-010S. Spaghetti Engineering:
Students will learn about stress, strain, tension, compression, and how these concepts are important during the designing and building processes. By utilizing spaghetti as their building material, students will explore the forces at work on a bridge and will test the strength of their own spaghetti bridge. (3-5-ETS1-1, 3-5-ETS1-2, 3-5-ETS1-3)
March 16 – March 20, 2020