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Description of BLISS Kits


bubbleBubble Festival (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 2
11 Activities

Modified version of Bubble Festival LHS GEMS Kit, presents Bubble Activities in a Learning Station Format. This guide includes 12 classroom table-top, learning station activities with set-up instructions. From Bubble Shapes and Bubble Measurement to Bubble Skeletons and Body Bubbles, intriguing and classroom-appropriate bubble activities are featured. The guide features a detailed introduction to assist teachers in flexibly presenting the activities, including tips on classroom logistics, ways to further explore mathematical and scientific content, and writing and literature extensions. A section on setting up an all-school Bubble Festival is included.


Bubbles (LHS-ASKS)

The AfterSchool KidzScience (ASKS) version of the activities from Bubble Festival has been adapted for use in out-of-school programs such as Girls and Boys Clubs, Scouts or other recreation and informal programs. Children will gain an understanding of surface tension as they perform tests with soap and water, and explore and create different kinds of bubbles.


Chemical Reactions (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 5
2 Sessions

An ordinary zip lock bag becomes a safe and spectacular laboratory, as students mix chemicals that bubble, change color, get hot, and produce gas, heat, and an odor. They experiment to determine what causes the heat in this chemical reaction. This exciting activity explores chemical change, endothermic and exothermic reactions, and is a great introduction to chemistry. Has often been adapted for lower grade levels.


Color Analyzers (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 7
5 Sessions

Teasing a rainbow from a light bulb. Decoding messages from abstract art. Unveiling the answer to why an apple looks red. This updated and enhanced New GEMS version of the classic teacher guide has students immediately and physically involved in investigating light and color while experimenting with diffraction gratings and color filters. They use color filters to decipher secret messages, then create their own. Students gain insight into questions such as: Why does an apple look red? A background section provides the teacher with extensive information on color, light, and how the eye and brain sense and comprehend color, and on research relating to student misconceptions about light and color. The colorful front cover contains a secret message that can be used in class activities, and viewing the inside back cover enables students to understand how color filters help astronomers scan the heavens.


Convection: A Current Event (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 6
3 Sessions

Students explore this important physical phenomenon by observing and charting the convection currents in a liquid. Through this experience, students gain understanding of one of the three main ways that heat moves, then go on to apply their understanding to other settings. They learn that convection is also one of the primary motivating forces that influences the movements of the Earth’s crust and volcanic eruptions, the weather, the wind, and many other natural events. Students also explore convection in air and generalize their findings to describe wind patterns. A background section for the teacher is provided.


Discovering Density (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 8
5 Sessions

In a very involving and colorful activity, students attempt to layer liquids in a straw, leading them to explore the concept of density. The teacher introduces the mathematical equation for determining density. Students have fun creating secret formula sheets, while reinforcing their practical understanding of this important concept in the physical sciences. Why does a scoop of ice cream float in root beer? A number of such Puzzling Scenarios encourage students to explore real-life connections to density.


Dry Ice Investigations (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 8
4 Activities

Most young students are fascinated by dry ice. This kit uses this curiosity to capture students' attention while serving as a powerful unit on scientific inquiry. It introduces the properties of matter, phase change, the nature of solids and gases, and the history of science.


Earth, Moon, and Stars (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 3
6 Activities

In this research-based unit, students learn a great deal about the Earth, gravity, and astronomy. Sections focus on the shape of the Earth and gravity; moon phases and eclipses; and the stars. Students ponder questions such as: If the Earth is a ball, why does it look flat? Why does the moon change its shape? How can I find constellations and tell time by the stars? Activities include observing and recording changes in the sky and creating models to explain observations. A challenging questionnaire on the Earth’s shape and gravity can be used as a pre- and post assessment tool. This wide-ranging interdisciplinary unit also connects to world cultures through its exploration of myths about the rising and setting of the sun.


Eggs Eggs Everywhere

Grades: Preschool (activities can be adapted for Kindergarten and 1st grade students)
4 Activities

This unit introduces children to the wonders of eggs and develops developmentally-appropriate concepts in biology and life science. Activities combine literature, role-playing, drama, and art with observation of eggs, as children learn about the diversity of animals that come from eggs. They use small plastic animals for sorting, classifying, and graphing activities. Students also explore the movement of plastic eggs and other objects on flat and inclined surfaces. These activities are noteworthy for interweaving literature, mathematics, and the physical sciences with life science.


Electric Circuits: Inventive Physical Science Activities (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 4
11 Sessions

This guide provides a safe, active, and engaging introduction to electricity and electric circuits. The activities spark creativity as students invent their own electrical gadgets, using inexpensive and readily available materials, such as plastic film canisters and holiday lights. The unit opens as students investigate an array of clever electrical devices, first exploring their functions, then learning how their circuits work. The contributions of famous inventors, as well as child inventors, are highlighted. 

Students keep an "Inventor's Journal," recording the development of their electrical knowledge, schematic diagrams, and design ideas. Electrical safety is emphasized throughout the unit. Students explore simple and series circuits; learn about short circuits, and investigate the role of batteries, resistance, conductors and insulators. They invent their own switch design and learn how to draw schematic diagrams. In Part II, for older or more advanced students, they build and compare series and parallel circuits, and pair up to create their own electrical inventions. The unit culminates in an Electric Inventions Festival.

Electric Circuits makes strong connections to the National Science Education Standards for Physical Science, Science and Technology, Science as Inquiry, and History and Nature of Science.  Electric Circuits makes strong connections to the National Science Education Standards for Physical Science, Science and Technology, Science as Inquiry, and History and Nature of Science.


Global Warming and the Greenhouse Effect (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 7
8 sessions

Students explore this crucial topic through a wide variety of formats, from science activities and experiments to a simulation game, analysis of articles, a story about an island threatened by rising sea levels, and a world conference on global warming. The unit presents scientific theories and evidence and helps students see environmental problems from different points of view. Extensive background for the teacher is provided.


Invisible Universe (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 8
5 Activities

In this GEMS guide intriguing activities deepen student understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum, enabling students to detect and consider wavelengths other than visible light. Activities feature energy stations, including infrared (TV remote); microwave (pager); ultraviolet (black light) and other devices. Students come up with their own tests to see what blocks each wavelength, and what does not. They learn how these other wavelengths can be used to "see" things we cannot see with our eyes–allowing space scientists to detect and image objects, phenomena, and sources of energy far off in space. Colorful examples of these images are included in the guide.

One of the greatest mysteries of all is what causes gamma ray bursts. These bursts are the most powerful explosions in the Universe and occur about once a day! Their origin is unknown, although there are several theories. Students learn about NASA's 2003 Swift mission, with a specially-equipped satellite to further explore the causes of gamma ray bursts.

The guide is for middle school, suitable with adaptations to 9th and above. The Physical and Earth Science content of this guide is well correlated to the National Science Education Standards.


Involving Dissolving (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 3
4 Activities

In this series of highly "involving" activities, students learn about the concepts of dissolving, evaporation, and crystallization. Using familiar substances, they create homemade "gel-o," colorful disks, and crystals that emerge on black paper to make a "starry night." Does the substance disappear? If not, where does it go? Could it ever come back? As young students ponder these ideas and gain experience mixing and observing differing solutions, they benefit from this very positive early experience with chemistry.


Liquid Explorations (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 3
5 Activities

In this series of fun and fluid activities, students explore the properties of liquids. They play a classification game, observe how food coloring moves through different liquids, then create secret salad dressing recipes and an Ocean in a Bottle. The Rain Drops and Oil Drops activity can prompt discussion of environmental issues such as oil slicks, and was used in many Alaska schools to educate students about the 1989 oil spill. A great way to introduce younger students to the properties of matter and an excellent physical science unit for primary grades.


Math in the Garden

Grades: K-8
36 Activities

The University of California Botanical Garden, in collaboration with the Lawrence Hall of Science, has developed engaging math activities that anyone can do. Math in the Garden takes you on an exploration of the garden using a mathematical lens through which adults and children alike discover a joy in honing math skills as they investigate soil, shadows, fruits and flowers. Investigations involving patterns, measurement, comparisons and problem solving are just a few of the activities that bring the excitement of the out of doors to life. Designed to promote inquiry, language arts and nutrition, the 36 stand-alone activities are grouped by predominant mathematics strands including Number, Operations and Algebra; Measurement; Geometry and Pattern; and Data Analysis. Activities are appropriate for classroom and outdoor settings and children in grades K-8.

BLISS workshops feature activities for a specific grade level that support the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Standards and the National Academy of Sciences National Standards for Science Education. For Grade 4, BLISS offers Area and Perimeter of Leaves, Weighing the Garden Harvest, How Much Space Does it Take? and Graph and Graph Again.

Sample activities can be viewed at: http://ucbgdev.berkeley.edu/education/eduMIG_samples.shtml


Matter: Solids, Liquids & Gases (LHS GEMS)

Grades: 1–3
5 Activities Comprising 6 Classroom Sessions, 45 – 60 minutes

Invites students to figure out the physical world around them. As children, this is already their main pursuit! This unit capitalizes on that natural curiosity and helps young students learn to think critically and gather and apply evidence to expand their knowledge, just as scientists do.
Matter surrounds us, interacts with us, is us, all day every day! It’s the stuff we can feel, hold, weigh, smell, see, touch, and taste. In this guide we focus on the three basic states of matter—solid, liquid, and gas. The unit helps students generate definitions and understandings of the properties of solids, liquids, and gases, and apply these definitions and understandings to classification of “challenging substances.”


Microscopic Explorations (LHS GEMS)

Grades: 4-8
10 Learning Stations

This unique GEMS guide features 10 learning stations and an eleventh Discovery Quilt summary station. The stations represent a wide spectrum of scientific investigation. This interdisciplinary richness assists students in expanding their understanding of the way microscopic and related techniques contribute to diverse fields. Student comprehension of modern science and research, and appreciation for the world around us is enhanced. The Microscopy Society of America (MSA), which sponsored this guide, has chapters across the country to serve as a source for volunteers and assist teachers in obtaining microscopes.


Moons of Jupiter (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 8
5 Activities

This kit includes images that students analyze and stunning overheads that students use to relive Galileo's groundbreaking study of Jupiter's moons. After they view the overheads, students perform activities that explore crater formation, scale modeling, and the Jupiter system as seen through the eyes of the Voyager unmanned probe. For cooperative learning, students work in groups that form scientific settlements on one of Jupiter's moons.


More than Magnifiers (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 7
4 Activities

Students are amazed at what they can do with just 2 lenses. As they explore the properties of lenses and magnification, students are challenged to make their own simple cameras, telescopes, and slide projectors using materials provided in the kit. They discover that lenses have quantifiable properties that determine their suitability for different applications.


Of Cabbages and Chemistry (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 5
4 Sessions

Students explore acids and bases using the special indicator properties of red cabbage juice. The color-change game Presto Change-O helps students discover the acid-neutral-base continuum. They learn that chemicals can be grouped by behaviors, and relate acids and bases to their own daily experience. An "Acid and Aliens from Outer Space" extension activity can be presented to reinforce student learning or as an assessment. The unit is an excellent lead-in to the GEMS guide Acid Rain.


On Sandy Shores (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 2
5 Activities

Students explore and deepen their understanding of many aspects of the "sandy shore," from grains of sand to animals to complex biological and ecological interactions. Activities include: Beach Bucket Scavenger Hunt, Sand on Stage, The Sights that Sand has Seen, Build a Sandy Beach, and Oil on the Beach. Reproducible masters depicting many animals and plants are provided. On Sandy Shores is designed to be used with no modification in culturally diverse classrooms with large numbers of English language learners. The unit fosters respect for the environment and all living things, encouraging a sense of personal and social responsibility.


Oobleck: What Do Scientists Do? (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 5
4 Sessions

What is Oobleck? It is an amazing material that exhibits the properties of a solid and a liquid. Oobleck helps to teach the scientific method as students observe, hypothesize, and experiment to determine just what Oobleck is.
By practicing the scientific method, students get a better idea of what scientists do. Cooperative learning is emphasized as students share their ideas and work together during the course of their investigations.


Penguins and Their Young (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 1
4 Activities

Young children love learning about penguins. With this kit and your guidance they discover what penguins look like, what they eat, where they live, and how they care for their young. Students even get to compare themselves to a life-size poster of a 4-ft-tall Emperor Penguin! This kit weds life science, physical science, and math in a format ideal for young students.


Plate Tectonics (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 6
8 Sessions

This introduction to plate tectonics takes your class of budding earth scientists on a virtual journey to the world's geological hotspots to conduct research. Their journey ranges from the ocean floor to the top of Mount Everest, with stops at Hawaii, California, Iceland, Japan, and Nepal.  Students apply their knowledge to build models of erupting volcanoes, strike-slip faults, rock layers, and seafloor spreading.


Secret Formulas (LHS GEMS)

Grade: 1
9 Sessions

Students can have a ball with this kit, creating new brands of paste, toothpaste, cola, and ice cream. But it is more than just fun; these activities help teach important concepts and skills in math and chemistry, which students can build upon in future studies.


Sifting Through Science (LHS GEMS)

Grade: K
4 Activities

Young students explore buoyancy, magnetism, and the use of tools as they investigate the physical properties of objects. They use learning stations that allow for open-ended explorations to solve a design challenge. Each activity leads students to a greater knowledge of these properties. The final activity challenges students to solve an interesting problem: how to separate the various components of simulated garbage. To solve the problem, students must apply the knowledge gained in the previous activities.

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Supported by a generous gift from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation