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Curiosity Labs™

Lesson Library


Below is a list of our currently offered lessons. More lessons coming soon!

Overview

Lesson Questions of Inquiry:

  • What are biologic therapies?
  • How do we use biologic therapies to treat different diseases and health conditions?
  • What is the process for developing different medications?

Topics Covered

Production of Medicine

Summary

This activity introduces students to biologic therapies that are used to treat a range of diseases and health conditions. It specifically focuses on how these therapies are developed. Students learn about product development by observing a demonstration that models the upstream process of manufacturing and engaging in a hands-on activity that models the downstream process. They will come to understand that there are many different types of therapies, but all undergo similar stages of development; with the goal of producing safe, cost-effective medicines more quickly.

Overview

Lesson Questions of Inquiry:

  • Why does a glow stick create light when you crack it?

Topics Covered

Energy, Energy Transfer, Chemical Reactions, Structure and Properties of Matter, Scientific Instruments and Measurements

Summary

This activity introduces students to how matter can undergo physical and chemical changes and the evidence we can use to know if a chemical change has occurred. The investigation shows students one piece of evidence of a chemical change; the emission of light, or luminescence. Chemiluminescence is one type of luminescence, and has many practical applications, including glow sticks and forensic analysis.

Overview

Lesson Questions of Inquiry:

  • What is DNA?
  • What role does DNA play in the inheritance of traits from one generation to the next?

Topics Covered

Plant Science, Cells, DNA, Molecular Basis of Heredity

Summary

DNA science is used every day in our world. Forensic labs test DNA evidence, farmers use genetically modified seeds and doctors target disease treatments using DNA markers. Everyone has heard of it, and everyone has it, but what is it? In this activity students will learn about the structure and function of DNA.

Overview

Lesson Questions of Inquiry:

  • How have different dye technologies been used to produce colorful clothing across cultures and over time?
  • How can we create dyes that minimize human impact on the environment?
  • How can dyes be designed to solve the problem of waterway contamination?

Topics Covered

Design Safer Products for People and the Planet

Summary

This activity introduces students to the environmental impacts of current dye technologies, particularly the negative impacts that synthetic dyes have on waterways. Students engage in the design process to develop dyes that change color depending on the pH of the dye bath. They will learn about traditional, synthetic, and environmentally friendly dye technologies. They will come to understand that there are greener or eco-friendly fashion choices they can make right now to reduce the negative impacts fashion has on the environment.

Overview

Lesson Questions of Inquiry:

  • How do products become scented?
  • What is flavor?
  • How do we taste and smell?
  • How does the structure of flavor and fragrance chemicals influence their function?
  • How do flavor and fragrance scientists design unique scents for a specific purpose?

Topics Covered

Information Processing, Structure and Properties of Matter, Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems

Summary

In this lesson, students learn that humans can recognize more than 10,000 scents. Students practice recognizing scents by smelling different chemicals on scent sticks. They then learn how their body recognizes and interprets scents. The focus is on how the structure of the chemical causes the unique flavor or fragrance based on how it interacts with human sensory receptors. Students then use their initial research on the different scents to design a unique fragrance for a particular purpose. They present their fragrance to the class, including the name of their fragrance, how they created it, what product it would be used in, who their audience is and how much the product would cost.

Overview

Lesson Questions of Inquiry:

  • How do illnesses spread and how can we prevent it?
  • What role does surface contamination play in the spread of disease?

Topics Covered

Applied Sciences, Controlling the Spread of Disease

Summary

This activity introduces students to the applied sciences. Applied science is the practical application of science that uses scientific knowledge for specific purposes, like supporting businesses and clients. In this activity, students will model how illness can spread through surface contamination, and how they can monitor the school environment for germs using scientific practices. They will use their learning to explain why a school district in Colorado had to shut down from a Norovirus outbreak. They will come to understand that microorganisms, including bacteria and viruses, can cause illness outbreaks because they can spread easily when infected individuals touch various surfaces. One of the keyways to prevent the spread of these germs in our environment is to maintain proper hand washing.

 

Overview

Lesson Questions of Inquiry:

  • How is energy converted from chemical potential energy to light energy in a circuit?
  • How do the properties of graphite allow it to be used to form a circuit?
  • What are some of the potential and current uses of graphene?

Topics Covered

Physical Science, Materials Science Electric Circuits, Properties of Matter

Summary

Innovations in science and technology are moving at a rapid pace. Discovering new materials or finding new ways to use existing materials is the work of engineers and materials scientists. In this lab, students explore the properties of graphene and learn about current and potential future uses for this material.

Overview

Lesson Questions of Inquiry:

  • How can we create a high-quality glue that is safe for humans and the environment?
  • How can we use the 12 principles of green chemistry to develop products?

Topics Covered

Design Safer Products for People and the Planet

Summary

This activity introduces students to green chemistry, or the design of products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and creation of hazardous materials. It focuses on how we can use the 12 principles of green chemistry to design safe and effective products. Students learn about biomimicry, and how humans can use the natural world to gain inspiration when designing more environmentally safe products. Students engage in the design process to create two different glues, and they learn about the principles of green chemistry that apply to the glue design. They compare their glue designs by determining which glue used the least amount of energy, produced the smallest amount of waste, used the fewest toxic materials, and worked the best.

Overview

Lesson Questions of Inquiry:

  • What is the soil microbiome?
  • What affects the health of the soil microbiome?
  • How can we grow healthy plants?

Topics Covered

Earth Science, Life Science

Summary

This activity introduces students to the role of soil microorganisms in ecosystems; specifically, the relationship between the soil microbiome and plant health. Students learn about this relationship by creating plant models for a theoretical farm. The model shows students how different choices a farmer makes in preparing the soil for planting, choosing what to plant, supporting plant growth, etc. can affect the soil microbiome. They will come to understand that not all bacteria are bad bacteria, and that a diverse microbiome supports the growth of healthy plants.

Overview

Lesson Questions of Inquiry:

  • How much of the water on Earth is potable?
  • How can you use engineering to clean dirty water?
  • How do different components of the water filter work?
  • What is different about what a scientist does and what an engineer does?

Topics Covered

Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning and Resilience, Human Impacts on Earth Systems, Defining and Delimiting Engineering Design Problems, Developing Possible Solutions, Optimizing the Design Solution

Summary

In this activity, students learn that of all of the water on Earth, only a very small percentage is potable, or safe for drinking. Students use this information as motivation to design a water filter using the engineering design process. After creating a prototype of their design, students test their filter by pouring dirty water through it. The process of filtration is tied to the physical properties of matter, and students learn how water filtration is used in the industry by scientists and individuals. Finally, students test their clean water by recording visual observations and testing the chlorine content of the water.


Information for Teachers

The Curiosity Lab™ lessons are designed to supplement your classroom curriculum. We find that students are able to receive the most value from our lessons when they have at least baseline knowledge of the topic. Our lessons were written for an audience of students ages 8-13, but they can be adjusted with your input to best fit your students’ needs. We will work with teachers prior to entering the classroom to ensure our volunteers are able to maximize their time with students.

If you have any questions, please email us at curiositylabs@milliporesigma.com


Related Resources

Become a Partner School
Become a Partner School

Interested in enrolling as a partner school? Click here to learn more!

Curiosity Labs™
Curiosity Labs™

Learn More about Curiosity LabsTM and get to know a few of our scientists!

Curiosity Labs™ at Home
Curiosity Labs™ at Home

Check out our Curiosity Labs™ at Home site for more lessons that can be completed with materials typically found around the house.

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