Leon Lowenstein Teaching Kits

Overview

Included in the kits are all materials necessary to complete the activity, critical thinking questions, and a complete instruction manual for adult facilitators, which describes the tasks at hand and suggests ways to discuss the topic and background with the students. These kits are designed such that any adult, regardless of their scientific background, can lead an inquiry based science experiment with a group of students. Science Teaching Kits are targeted for students in grades 6-12. Current Kit topics include:

More kits are in progress, and YSP is continually interested in feedback from teachers, such that we can create kits that will be easily incorporated into lesson plans.

How to Use Kits

All the information necessary to perform Teaching Kit activities is available online. In addition, all kits, including necessary materials, are available to borrow from YSP. Currently, YSP is set up for on-campus kit pickups only; anyone located outside of the St. Louis area can use online kit materials freely, and special requests can be sent to ysp.kits[at]gmail.com.

Evaluation

We are continually adding and improving YSP Teaching Kits based on essential feedback from teachers and students like you that use our kits. If you check out materials from YSP or use the materials from this site, please fill out a teacher evaluation and have students fill out the student evaluation. Evaluations are available in online and paper formats:

Teacher Kit Evaluations
Student Kit Evaluations

If filling out paper evaluations, please return them with any kit supplies and equipment you have been asked to return, or scan and e-mail them to ysp.kits[at]gmail.com, or mail them to:

The Young Scientist Program
Washington University in St. Louis
Division of Biology & Biomedical Sciences
Campus Box 8226
660 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110

If you have any additional comments, please contact us at ysp.kits[at]gmail.com. Thanks for your support!

Curriculum

DNA Extraction

Kit Overview

In this lab, students will break open the cells from strawberries or bananas and isolate the DNA from the cell nuclei. After this lab, students will be able to answer questions like: Is there DNA in your food? How do you know? and If DNA is so small it fits in one cell, how are we able to see it with our eyes after extraction?

Video Demo For Teachers


Resources

Molarity & Dilutions

Kit Overview

One of the most important skills in science is to calculate dilutions. In the lab, correct dilutions of solutions are critical to performing accurate science. In medicine, these skills are necessary to ensuring proper medicine dosage and treatment.

This kit teaches the concepts of molarity and dulutions using Kool-aid and nerds. By using Kool-Aid, watching the color fade in the solution provides a visual way to see what is happening in dilutions. Each individual Nerd candy represents a mole of sugar. By transferring Nerds from one beaker to another and adjusting the ''volume'' in the beaker, students are simulating dilutions.

Resources

Surface Tension

Kit Overview

Surface tension is a phenomenon in which the surface of a liquid acts like a thin elastic sheet when it is in contact with an external force, such as a gas. This physical property allows the surface of a liquid to resist the pressure of the external force by reducing its interaction with the force. The optimal shape for limiting this contact is a dome like structure, visualized as the liquid ''beading up''. After this lab, students will be able to answer questions like: How do some insects walk on water? Could YOU somehow walk on water? and What happens to surface tension with the addition of soap to water?

Video Demo For Teachers


Resources

Diffusion & Membrane Permeability

Kit Overview

This kit focuses on three main concepts.

  1. DIFFUSION is a passive (requires no energy), spontaneous (happens on its own) process involving the random movement of particles or molecules from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration.
  2. EQUILIBRIUM across a membrane occurs when the number of molecules is even on both sides, and there is no longer a concentration gradient.
  3. SELECTIVE PERMEABILITY across a membrane can result in differing salt concentrations on either side of the membrane and will cause movement of water towards the side with higher salt concentration.
After this lab, student will be able to answer questions like: What causes food coloring to spread out when dropped into a glass of water? Why do plants wilt when dry and why do they become rigid when fully watered?

Video Demo For Teachers


Resources

Anatomy of Breathing

Kit Overview

This module covers the anatomical basis of breathing through a set of fun simulations. Students will model the major physical mechanism of inhalation and exhalation (Boyles Law), demonstrate the pathway taken by air from the nose to the alveoli (which is where gas exchange takes place), and learn how and why gas exchange occurs in the alveoli as well as the consequences of damage to the lungs. When finished, students will be able to explain pressure and concentration gradients, and how lung disease prevents oxygen from reaching all of the parts of the body.

Resources

Density

Kit Overview

Through several basic experiments, students will learn how to calculate the density of regular and irregular objects as well as liquids. Using common household liquids, they will also create a layered column which explores the concept of liquids with greater density sinking below those with lesser density. Finally, there are links to several demonstrations covering how temperature and pressure affect density.

Resources

Ecological Interactions

Kit Overview

Students will learn about ecological relationships, including symbiosis, mutualism, competition, parasitism, commensalism, generalists, and specialists. They will personally experience these relationships through a fun simulation activity. Each student will represent a different species competing for limited food (M&Ms). Between rounds, students will count how many M&Ms they collected and answer questions. After the game, students will be able to apply what they have learned by analyzing two graphs and a comic.

Resources

Energetic Reactions

Kit Overview

Heat transfer is an important part of many chemical reactions, but it is often not directly observed. In this module students conduct an experiment (making homemade ice cream) that requires heat transfer to occur. Students measure temperatures and observe states of matter throughout the experiment in order to draw qualitative conclusions about the direction and amount of energy transfer that occurs in the reaction. Additionally, students are introduced to colligative properties as they manipulate freezing point of water in order to facilitate the reaction. At the end of the experiment, students get to do something not usually done in chemistry labs : eat the product of the reaction!

Resources

Natural Selection

Kit Overview

Students will be introduced to the concept of variation and natural selection by filling out a worksheet during class discussion. Afterwards they will experience these concepts first hand by simulating how natural selection acts on a population of black and white peppered “moths” in two different environments. By trying to pick up as many black and white circles as they can from either a black or white construction paper background, students will see how the color of the moth increases the frequency of capture, and thus survival.

Resources