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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: English Language Arts (7), or Mathematics (9 - 12), or Science (8 - 12)
Title: Attitude Determines Altitude
Description: This cross-curricular activity allows students an opportunity to practice their skills in math, science, language arts, and technology. As an extension to the ALEX lesson 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Blast Off, math and science teachers collaborate to allow students to apply their math skills in science class by calculating the altitude of a paper rocket. Students are given an opportunity to expand their literary knowledge by viewing an inspirational video clip by author, expert story teller, and NASA Rocket scientist Homer Hickam as he shares his adventures in rocket science growing up in the West Virginia coal mines.


Subject: Mathematics (8), or Science (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: The Need for Speed
Description: After viewing an introductory illustrated podcast on speed, distance, time, and velocity, students explore distance-time graphs using interactive websites. Working in cooperative learning groups, students will investigate the motion of toy pull-back racers and collect data to analyze the speed of the cars between various positions marked on the race track. Students will use the data to create graphs, analyze data and present findings to the class.


Subject: Mathematics (8), or Science (8)
Title: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Reflections of Light
Description: Students will learn about the reflective behaviors of light, and the wave and particle nature of light. Students will also recognize congruency of angles.


Subject: Mathematics (9 - 12), or Science (8 - 12), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Bloodstain Pattern Doesn't Lie......
Description: Students will formulate a hypothesis about the relationship (linear, direct, indirect, etc.) between the distance a drop of blood falls and the diameter of the splatter it makes. To test their hypothesis, the students will work collaboratively to make blood droplets, on paper, from different heights. After graphing droplet diameter and height using a spreadsheet program, individual students will evaluate their hypothesis. Students will use their graphed data to: 1) write an equation for the mathematical relationship of droplet diameter and height. 2) interpolate the height from which a blood droplet made by someone else was dropped. The students will compare data from different groups to determine possible sources for differences.


Subject: Science (8 - 12)
Title: Mentos, Soda, and Nucleation
Description: In this lesson, Mentos candy and different types of soda are used to show examples of nucleation, surface tension, surface area, polar attractions, and supersaturated materials. A video will be used to show the examples and the students will then work in groups to determine what their hypothesis is about what is happening and why. The students will be given a chance to debate with other students about why their hypothesis is correct. This lesson could be used in eighth grade physical science, physical science, chemistry, and/or physics.


Subject: Science (8 - 12)
Title: The Legend of the Mummy’s Curse- Fact or Fiction?
Description: This is a technology-based, hands-on Biology lesson used to introduce the scientific method to students. Students will make a prediction on whether they think the curse is true or false. Students will listen to a podcast describing a scientific investigation of the curse. Students will then research the Mummy’s curse using the internet and answer questions about the investigation.


Subject: Science (7 - 8)
Title: Genetic Babies  
Description: Students will explore Gregor Mendel's laws of genetics in this lesson. Students will be paired in male and female groups. If girls and boys can't be evenly divided, same sex students can be paired to represent research scientists. Different candy will represent alleles for various characteristics. Students will combine dominant and recessive traits to determine the phenotype and genotype of their genetic babies. The genetic baby will be designed and displayed for peers to view.This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science University, GEMS-U Project.


Subject: Science (5 - 8)
Title: I'm So Crushed
Description: In this activity, students will have an opportunity to solve a mystery. They will discover why a soda can collapses during a demonstration due to the effects of changes in temperature and atmospheric pressure. Students will gain further insight in the process of scientific inquiry as they suggest questions that need to be answered in order to solve the mystery at hand.This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.


Subject: Arts Education (6 - 8), or English Language Arts (8), or Science (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Inventions Using Simple Machines Project
Description: Students will have completed a unit on the six simple machines (lever, inclined plane, pulley, wedge, screw, and wheel and axle) before beginning this project. Students will choose to investigate an invention composed of one or more simple machines that has already been invented, or they will choose to build a device composed of one or more simple machines. The invention must be safe to operate and it should be one that can be demonstrated at school. It should be one that students use themselves in everyday life. It should not be complicated.This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.


Subject: Arts Education (6 - 8), or Science (8)
Title: Building a Paper Airplane using Bernoulli's Principle
Description: This is a culmination activity used after students have studied Bernoulli's Principle as part of a unit on forces and fluids. Students will use the Internet, textbooks, library resources and their cooperative learning group to design three paper airplanes using a sheet of 8 1/2 inch X 11 inch recycled copy paper and four inches of tape. The cooperative group whose plane had the longest flight in the air will get the most points.This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.


Subject: Mathematics (7 - 8), or Science (8)
Title: Transverse Waves
Description: Students will classify waves as mechanical or electromagnetic. Students will describe longitudinal and transverse waves. Students will show a transverse wave using a slinky.This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.


Subject: Mathematics (6 - 8), or Science (8)
Title: Incline Plane and the Crashing Marble
Description: Students will measure the effects of the height of an inclined plane on the force a marble produces to move a plastic, foam, or paper cup across a table. Students will discover that the higher the incline plane, the more force produced by the marble, which moves the cup a greater distance. Students will also learn how to graph data and discover the appropriate graph to use for comparison.This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.


Subject: Science (5 - 12), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Determining pH
Description: This lesson provides both hands-on and technology-based activities to reinforce measurement of pH. The characteristics of acids and bases are reviewed. Students evaluate pH through the use of indicators in the lab. An enhancement opportunity is provided by using an interactive website. This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.


Subject: Mathematics (7), or Science (8), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Probability- What Are The Odds?
Description: This lesson introduces the student to the concept of probability. Students will explore the meaning of theoretical and experimental probability by viewing interactive websites. A lab activity will be performed using cooperative learning groups to allow the students to determine experimental and theoretical probability.This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.


Subject: Science (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Blast Off!!
Description: Working in cooperative learning groups, students research early astronauts, both men and women. They research various rocket and space shuttle designs. With this information, they use Newton's laws to plan, design, and create a paper rocket. This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.


Subject: Science (8 - 12), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Comparing Solvents
Description: Students will investigate the effects of solvents in cleaning by designing and carrying out an experiment utilizing the steps of the scientific method. A video is used as an introduction to the concept of solvents. Hazardous effects of solvents are also discussed.This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.


Subject: Mathematics (9 - 12), or Science (8 - 12)
Title: Density
Description: Density is the ratio of mass to volume. Density will be introduced to students by a demonstration of coke verses diet coke. The teacher will then solve density problems for the students on the board. The class will then complete a lab on the density of plastics. After lab the students will compare results. Each group will present a Powerpoint presentation of their results.This lesson plan was created as a result of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science, GEMS Project funded by the Malone Family Foundation.


Subject: Science (8)
Title: Teaching the Scientific Method
Description: Life is one project after another, no matter what career field one chooses. The responsibility of planning a project is a valuable lesson for students that applies to most career fields. This method requires students to answer a question or solve a problem, make observations and collect data, and draw a conclusion as to the answer to the question or problem.


Subject: Mathematics (5 - 6), or Science (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Watch That Plant Grow
Description: This lesson allows students to explore horticulture within a controlled environment, a greenhouse. Students engage in hands-on activities as they grow their own plants and chart data concerning the conditions related to plant growth in a greenhouse. The data collected is recorded on a spreadsheet to aid in growth prediction over a specified amount of time. This lesson should precede other lessons regarding research on plants grown in a greenhouse.


Subject: Science (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Is my Water Safe?
Description: After a discussion of what makes water safe or unsafe, students will visit a local tributary, test the water, and complete tasks concerning the water. This lesson is designed for a 6th, 7th, and 8th grade gifted education enrichment classes.


Subject: Science (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Wet Heads
Description: The lesson will enable students to complete a lesson of scientific inquiry and use the steps in the scientific method to solve a problem. Students will determine the amount of water drops needed to cover the heads of various coins, including a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter.


Subject: Science (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: What burns when a candle burns? An Introduction to Using the Scientific Method
Description: In this hands-on lesson, the class is divided into small groups and required to use the scientific method to discover what burns in a candle and why. The steps reinforce this methodical approach to solving what initially appears to be a simple question. In this exercise, students will use the scientific method to discover the purpose of a candle's wick and how radiation allows candle wax to change from solid to liquid to gas, thus allowing the wicking action necessary for combustion to occur.


Subject: Science (8), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Sonar Mapping of the Ocean Floor
Description: Mapping the ocean floor must be done by indirect observation. One method involves bouncing a sonar signal off of the ocean floor and measuring the length of time this signal takes to return. This length can be translated into distance: Distance=Speed of Sound X Time/2. In this lab, students will be making indirect observations using a wooden rod as the "sonar signal."


Subject: Mathematics (7), or Science (7 - 12), or Technology Education (9 - 12)
Title: How Big Can a Bee Be?
Description: Students will study the relationship between surface area and volume. Math, science, and technology components are included.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Mathematics
Title: Exploring Linear Data      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Illuminations, students model linear data in a variety of settings. Students can work alone or in small groups to construct scatterplots, interpret data points and trends, and investigate the notion of line of best fit.
Thinkfinity Partner: Illuminations
Grade Span: 6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Mathematics
Title: What's in a Graph?      Add Bookmark
Description: The purpose of this Science NetLinks lesson is to help students understand data tables and graphs. They explore the guidelines for making tables and graphs and learn how to interpret graphs and determine which graph is best suited for the data.
Thinkfinity Partner: Science NetLinks
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Science
Title: Exploring Pendulums       Add Bookmark
Description: In this Science NetLinks lesson, students explore Web sites with simulations of pendulums, where they are able to change the length and angle of the bob and observe its effects. They then construct and test their own controlled-falling systems, or pendulums, to further observe and verify these theories. This lesson helps students understand concepts related to how gravitational forces act on objects by exploring the motion of pendulums.
Thinkfinity Partner: Science NetLinks
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Science - Physical Sciences - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Liquid Density and Oil Spills      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students conduct a simple experiment demonstrating the variable densities of corn syrup, water, glycerin, and vegetable oil. Students then transfer this concept to an examination of cleanup methods used in the Exxon Valdez oil spill. They conclude by writing paragraphs hypothesizing what would happen during an oil spill if oil and water were the same density and therefore mixed together easily.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Science
Title: Snow Goggles      Add Bookmark
Description: The aim of this lesson, from Science NetLinks, is to illustrate how the scientific method can be used to solve different kinds of problems. As part of this lesson, students build snow goggles similar to those used by the Inuit peoples. Students also create their own version of the goggles to improve upon existing designs and compare the process used to invent snow goggles with that employed by designers of the MESSENGER spacecraft.
Thinkfinity Partner: Science NetLinks
Grade Span: 6,7,8



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