General Science and Teaching

Showing the Power of Experiential Learning


I'm interested finding a short activity (10-20 minutes) that really shows the power of learning by doing. Does anyone have somethign like that? The audience is science teachers. Thanks!


Matthew Hartman
Matthew Hartman
2720 Activity Points

Hello Matt,

This is interesting...perhaps you can give them some simple science demonstrations that they haven't done before and conduct the demo for the group. I think it would be important that they pick demos that they have never done before.


  • elephant's toothpaste (a teacher needs to practice this to get the proportions right, etc.)
  • pouring striped drinks using different density juices (experimentation is needed to get the right order and it's a refreshing break!)
  • build a small catapult to shoot mini-marshmallows using popsicle sticks and rubber bands.  
  • non-Newtonian fluids (getting the right consistency and figuring out its properties)
  • assembling a coin battery

OR, you could have them learn magic or card tricks.  They have to be done to be understood!

Hope this helps,


Gabe Kraljevic
Gabe Kraljevic
4164 Activity Points

Dry ice is pretty easy to obtain (all the local grocery stores around me carry it). You can do so many demonstrations using dry ice and a few other simple materials. Plus, you get the wow factor of the fog created by the dry ice! 

Here are a few resources to explore this more: 

Emily Faulconer
Emily Faulconer
4660 Activity Points

Hey Matthew,

Looks like you already have some great ideas on here. I would also recommend checking out the exploratoriums science snacks. They are made to be quick and cheap but are all tied to science standards.

Laurence Taylor
Laurence Taylor
635 Activity Points

Hi, Matt

I work for Foldscope Instruments (full disclosure) and suggest considering Foldscopes for an activity.  The Foldscope is a low-cost microscope made of paper and a small glass bead for a lens. It costs less than a dollar to manufacture and we sell them in packages of 20 for $25 (that's just $1.75 per microscope)  They have 140x magnification and 2micron resolution, so very much like a microscope you would find in a science lab.  And because they are so inexpensive, every student (or teacher) can have their own!  See our website for more info. 

For getting started, we have lessons online at Ted Ed that could be used including how to fold the Foldscopehow to viewhow to make paper slides and how to make glass slides.

Once students have working Foldscopes, then we have subject lesson plans on our site that you can use with the Foldscope. 

Good luck! 


Christine Kurihara
Christine Kurihara
30 Activity Points

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