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Science Curriculum

Curriculum Titles

3-D Dinosaur is filled with fossils and dinosaurs. Students learn about fossils, dinosaurs, and the Mesozoic era.


  • Name the three periods in the Mesozoic era.
  • List two types of living things that can become fossils.
  • Name the two people involved in the Bone Wars.
  • Name two reasons that fossils become visible.
  • Use a computer to watch a presentation on the Mesozoic era.
  • Make fossil rubbings and look at real fossils.
  • Put together a dinosaur skeleton.
  • Learn about Greek and Latin roots in dinosaur names.
  • Create and name a dinosaur.
  • Sort dinosaur cards into herbivores and carnivores.


9-week unit


In Aeronautical Engineering, hot-air balloons and various types of model airplanes are used to illustrate key principles of aeronautics and to develop associated skills. By constructing and launching hot-air balloons, engineering students understand the significance of surface area, volume, radius, and lifting force of the balloons as well as learn about the gas laws and what forces act on the balloons. They also learn how to make logic-based predictions. Then, students move on to airplanes – the basic paper airplane, balsa glider, foam wing glider, and rubber band-powered airplane. They learn about aspect ratio, stability, thrust, drag, lift, gravity, initial velocity, control surfaces, and more.


In the Surface Area and Volume activity, students use the hot-air balloons they constructed in the previous activity. Applying area estimation methods and formulas, they find the surface area of the tissue paper used to build each balloon and of the gores cut from the tissue paper. Using this information, they estimate the surface area of the assembled balloon.

Modeling each hot-air balloon as a sphere, students then calculate the volume in cubic units. They launch the balloons, recording the wind speed, outside temperature, and flight time. All the data is recorded, graphed, and evaluated.

  • Inflation Station balloon launcher
  • Foam Wing Cutter
  • Wing Tester
  • Balance or scale
  • Various small tools such as a hobby knife, scissors, and ruler
  • Assorted kits and materials
  • Aeronautical Engineering Teacher's Guide
  • Model Airplanes Teacher's Guide
  • Hot-Air Balloons Teacher's Guide
  • Balsa Gliders Teacher's Guide
  • Engineering the Future textbook
  • Aeronautical Engineering Scope & Sequence


9-week unit


An excellent activity for experimentation, rocketry is thoroughly explored in Aerospace Engineering. In this course, students build and launch rockets and record results from activities with four different types of rockets: fun-and-easy straw rockets, air-powered tube rockets, water-fueled bottle rockets, and solid-fuel rockets. With straw rockets, they understand center of gravity and independent, dependent, and control variables. Using air-powered (AP) tube rockets, students learn how to design a rocket experiment to achieve specific results and how to measure apogee using an altimeter. Water-bottle rocket activities help students understand how to apply basic trigonometry and to calculate apogee. Finally, students build and launch solid-fuel rockets to explore energy, ascending and descending velocity, and the process of design and documentation.


For the Computing Apogee II activity, students learn ways to calculate the apogee of a water-bottle rocket. They launch a rocket built in a previous activity several times as they stand 10, 20, 30, and finally 40 meters from the launchpad while recording the altimeter angle of each launch.

Using the recorded launch data and trigonometric functions, students calculate the height of apogee for each rocket launch.

  • Straw Rocket Launcher
  • AP Launcher with tire pump
  • AquaPort Launcher with tire pump
  • LaunchGuard System
  • Balance or scale
  • Altimeter
  • Various small tools such as a hobby knife, scissors, and ruler
  • Assorted kits and materials
  • Aerospace Engineering Teacher's Guide
  • Water Rockets Teacher's Guide
  • Solid-Fuel Rockets Teacher's Guide
  • Engineering the Future textbook
  • Aerospace Engineering Scope & Sequence



In Air and Water, students learn about Earth’s dynamic systems of air and water. Students investigate Earth’s atmosphere, the water cycle, weather forecasting, and how water is cleaned.


  • Name the four parts of the water cycle.
  • Name three layers of the atmosphere.
  • Explain why the Sun causes weather.
  • Explain how weather moves across the United States.


  • Draw arcs and label the atmosphere.
  • Make clouds using cotton balls.
  • Model the hydrologic process.
  • Practice forecasting weather.
  • Test water and model the amount of each type of water on Earth.
  • Learn how sewer systems clean water.


In Air Everywhere, students study air – clean and polluted. Students also study how the air can keep airplanes in the sky.


  • Name the two things that make up 99% of the air.
  • Explain what a noble gas is and name one.
  • Explain why hydrogen is not used in blimps and balloons and compare the weight of helium to hydrogen.
  • Explain how carbon dioxide and oxygen are important to plants.
  • Prove air occupies space and contains molecules that have an odor.
  • See air bubbles in ice cubes.
  • Make a model of parts of the respiratory system.
  • Build and test a parachute.
  • Chart how air pollution can travel.


In Air Power, students learn about the power of air. Students also learn that wind can push sails to make boats and cars move and that air can be compressed and used to do work. Air can make waves.


  • Identify the term for moving air and the type of energy it contains.
  • Explain how a pneumatic device differs from a hydraulic device.
  • Name two uses for compressed air.
  • Identify two benefits of using compressed air.
  • Design, build, and race sail cars.
  • Design and build a pneumatic machine.
  • Create waves using wind power.
  • Create and demonstrate pinwheels.
  • Demonstrate that wind can create electricity.



3-week unit


Introduce students to experimenting with variables and finding velocity with this unit on air-powered rockets. In the first section, students build simple straw rockets and test how different rocket lengths and launch angles affect flight. Students record the resulting data and use it to calculate velocity. In the second part, the class turns to rockets launched by the powerful AP Launcher. These tube rockets are ideal for outdoor or gymnasium launches that help students explore fin placement and design their own rockets. Finally, they build and launch rocket-boosted gliders.


The Varying Launch Angles activity delves into the effect of launch angles on the flight of straw rockets. After building a basic rocket, students complete two launches at a given launch angle and repeat this process while increasing the angle in increments of 15 degrees. As they work, students measure and record each launch’s flight time and range. After completing the launches, the data collected is evaluated to learn about the connection between launch angle and rocket performance.

  • Straw Rocket Launcher
  • AP Rocket Launcher
  • Tire pump
  • Various small supplies such as glue and tape
  • Assorted kits and materials
  • Straw Rockets Teacher’s Guide
  • Basic Rockets Course Guide
  • AP Rocket and Glider Video
  • Straw Rocket Video
  • Air Rockets Scope & Sequence
  • Scissors
  • Calculator
  • Digital scale
  • Stopwatch
  • Tape measure
  • Safety glasses


In Alternative Energy, students explore the basic concepts of energy as well as the law of conservation of energy. Information is presented about renewable and nonrenewable energy sources and how these resource types are important for meeting global energy demands. The advantages and disadvantages of alternative energy forms such as solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower are presented. Hands-on experiences include experiments with a wind turbine, solar cells, and hydrogen fuel cells.


  • Learn the characteristics of renewable and nonrenewable energy resources.
  • Explore traditional and nontraditional, or alternative, forms of energy.
  • Gain an understanding of the scientific law of conservation of energy.
  • Learn about the use of wind energy and perform an efficiency experiment using a wind turbine.
  • Learn the important role the Sun plays in the production of energy on Earth.
  • Explore hydropower and geothermal power.
  • Complete a fermentation experiment to explore biomass energy.
  • Perform an experiment to simulate hydrogen fuel cell technology.
  • Evaluate various energy resources and draw conclusions based upon statistical data.
Students complete three performance assessments: 1) Energy – investigate various energy resources and their classifications; 2) Solar Energy – name characteristics of solar energy and explain how a solar cell works; and 3) Fuel Cell Energy – understand and explain how fuel cell technology functions.