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Physics Lessons: Preschool – 5th grade

STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics) lessons are adaptable to various developmental levels of students. Grades noted next to descriptions are mere recommendations.

Cars from the Future

Students will brainstorm alternate ways to power a vehicle to reduce emissions. Student teams will design an eco-friendly car using the engineering design process and make a presentation to showcase their product.

2 class periods recommended.

2nd–5th grade

Density & Surface Tension

Students will observe physical properties and learn why some objects float and others sink. They will determine if size or weight is the determining factor of an object sinking or floating.

Preschool–3rd grade

Energy Everywhere!

Students will learn about different types of energy and their uses through hands-on activities.

Preschool–4th grade

Engineering Derby

Student teams will be challenged to navigate a table tennis ball through a timed obstacle course using only the provided unconventional “tools.” Teams act as engineers by working through the steps of the engineering design process to complete the overall task, with each group member responsible to accomplish one of the obstacle course challenges.

Preschool–5th grade

Gravitational, Potential and Kinetic Energy (Dropper Poppers & Tracks!)

Students will observe, compare and contrast elastic, potential and kinetic energy through a series of experiments.

1st–5th grade

Gravity - The Mystery Force

Students explore the effects of gravity on ping-pong balls through various experiments.

Prekindergarten–5th grade


Students will make their own mini hovercraft using a CD and a balloon and investigate how the amount of air in the balloon affects how long the hovercraft hovers.

1st–5th grade

Inquiry and Engineering Gliders

Student teams will implement the engineering design process and design, build and test small-sized gliders to maximize flight distance.

3rd–5th grade

Lego Balloon Car!

Students will study velocity by designing and testing a Lego Balloon car.

1st–5th grade

Lemon Battery

Students will examine properties of a voltaic battery with simple experiments.

2nd–5th grade


Students will perform experiments to determine if magnetic force can travel through different mediums.

Preschool–4th grade

Marshmallow Catapult

Students will construct a marshmallow catapult and experiment with trajectory.

Prekindergarten–5th grade

Matter Matters! – Solids, liquids and gases

Students will experiment with solids, liquids and gases to study phases of matter.

Preschool–5th grade

Potential and Kinetic Energy (Tracks!)

Students will demonstrate turning potential energy in to kinetic energy by creating an obstacle course track for a ball.

Preschool–5th grade

Rough Road Friction

Students will determine which textures cause the most friction of objects traveling down a ramp.

Preschool–1st grade

Science of Ice Cream

Students will study chemistry by making ice cream.

Preschool–5th grade

Solar Ovens

Students construct a working solar oven and learn about solar energy.

1st–5th grade

Space and Magnetism

Students will learn about earth’s magnetosphere and the impact it has on earth.

Preschool–5th grade

Spool Racer

Students will design vehicles to explore how elastic potential energy from twisted rubber bands can roll the spools. They brainstorm, prototype, modify, test and redesign variations to the basic spool racer design in order to meet different design criteria.

2nd–5th grade

Stomp Rockets

Students will explore air pressure, Newton’s laws of motion, mass, gravity by constructing working stomp rockets.

3rd–5th grade

Swing Low (Pendulums)

Students will investigate the factors that affect the speed and duration of a pendulum’s swing.

1st–5th grade

Tennis Ball Lift

Students will implement the engineering design process and construct a simple machine.

Preschool–5th grade

Thermal Energy (Glow Sticks)

Students will perform experiments using thermal energy to create a chemical reaction to demonstrate luminescence and fluorescence energy.

3rd–5th grade


Students will learn about circuits by implementing the engineering design process and making their own vibrating robot.

2nd–5th grade

Waves of Sound

Students will discover that sound is a form of energy that moves in waves and experiment with “seeing” and hearing sound waves.

Prekindergarten–5th grade

Wings and Other Flying Things

Students will perform experiments to study drag and aerodynamics.

Prekindergarten–3rd grade
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