Try This On for Science #95

(grades 3-12)
Soft-bound, 96 page half-sized book, 41 stand-alone lessons, full teaching notes.

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sample book cover

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Why buy this classic original when we've already updated all its mini-labs in color, free for the download on this website? Easy! You'll get attractive b&w masters to reproduce on any photocopier. This softbound book, with lesson notes, is a handy resource for anyone looking to fill odd bits of class time with cool hands-on explorations. (Substitute teachers, this includes you!) And of course, all stand-alone labs run on simple, cheap materials. A bargain while supplies last! We won't reprint this book when stock runs out. Titles newer than this book are not included (Lentil Science, Get a Grip, Far Out Math, Scale the Universe, Pi in the Sky, or Diving Into Pressure/Buoyancy).


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Table of Contents for #95 Try This On for Science:

TOPS Book sampled / activity with teaching notes

  1. Sample 1: Pendulums / pendulum math
  2. Sample 2: Measuring Length / dribble that decimal
  3. Sample 3: Graphing / pi graph
  4. Sample 4: Balancing / pin ballet
  5. Sample 5: Weighing / letter weights
  6. Sample 6: Metric Measure / go figure
  7. Sample 7: Math Lab / mobius twist
  8. Sample 8: Probability / probability tacks
  9. Sample 9: Floating & Sinking / slow drips
  10. Sample 10: Analysis / cabbage chemistry
  11. Sample 11: Oxidation / will iron burn?
  12. Sample 12: Solutions / in between
  13. Sample 13: Cohesion/Adhesion / water domes
  14. Sample 14: Kinetic Model / ups and downs
  15. Sample 15: Heat / conduction and convection
  16. Sample 16: Pressure / air force
  17. Sample 17: Light / upside-down and backwards
  18. Sample 18: Sound / pitch variables
  19. Sample 19: Electricity / galvanometer
  20. Sample 20: Magnetism / on-off motor
  21. Sample 21: Motion / reaction time
  22. Sample 22: Machines / paper clip pulley
  23. Sample 23: Rocks & Minerals / petrified paper
  24. Sample 31: Balancing / paper beam balance
  25. Sample 32: Electricity / electricity tester
  26. Sample 33: Magnetism / up in the air
  27. Sample 34: Pendulums / paper clip pendulums
  28. Sample 35: Metric Measuring / sugar cube metrics
  29. Sample 36: More Metrics / body measure
  30. Sample 37: Animal Survival / hide-a-moth
  31. Sample 38: Green Thumbs: Radishes / four environments
  32. Sample 39: Green Thumbs: Corn & Bean / pole planter
  33. Sample 40: Earth, Moon & Sun / instant astronomy
  34. Sample 41: Planets & Stars / scale solar systems
  35. Sample 42: Focus Pocus / water drop microscope
  36. Sample 61: A Summer Start / class number
  37. Sample 62: Intermediate Alphabet Soup / A is for getting Acquainted
  38. Sample 63: Peaceful Procedures / Consequences
  39. Sample 64: Primary Alphabet Soup / D is for Dreams
  40. Sample 91: Global TOPS Resource Manual / clock pendulums
  41. Sample 101: TOPScope! / pinhole microscope


Complete Master List for #95 Try This On for Science:

These are the ONLY materials you may NOT already have or may find challenging to locate. All are available for purchase below!

  1. An ounce scale or gram scale (for books 05, 09).
  2. A 10 mL graduated cylinder (for book 09).
  3. Dropper bottles with screw-on eyedroppers (for books 10, 13).
  4. Steel wool (for books 11, 15).
  5. A test tube (for book 12).
  6. Bell wire (for book 19).
  7. Ceramic 'refrigerator' magnets (for books 19, 20, 33).
  8. Very thin bare copper wire (for book 20).
  9. Epsom salts (for book 23); purchase in the home remedy section of your local pharmacy.
  10. Sugar cubes (for book 35).
  11. A canning ring (for book 101)

Convenient Shopping:

Canning Rings with Lids

fit regular-mouth canning jars

These may be available only seasonally in some stores. Avoid wide-mouth size. Needed for #16 Pressure and #17 Light. Only rings (not lids) are used in #40 Earth, Moon & Sun, and #43 Focus Pocus.

Dropper Bottle with Eyedropper

1/2 ounce, amber glass

Very handy for storing and conveniently dispensing small quantities of liquid. You may also purchase eyedroppers without bottles as item #1120.


glass, with rubber bulbs and screw-on plastic bottle top

These have many lab uses. You may purchase them separately here, or with 1/2 ounce dropper bottles (as item #1121).

Separately, these also double as Cartesian Divers in #200 Diving into Pressure & Buoyancy. If you already have droppers, test them in advance to see if they make good 'divers': Remove plastic bottle top, if any. Dropper must float when empty, then sink with a one-squeeze-intake of water. Test that the seal between bulb and barrel is water tight: The empty dropper should float for a day or so in a glass of water, without taking on visible water.

Graduated Cylinder - 10 mL

shatter resistant plastic on stable base

An important lab inquiry tool for measuring small liquid volumes.

Gram Pocket Scale

digital, pocket size

Digitally weighs up to 500 grams, plus tare container. Sensitive to 0.1 gram in multiple weight units. Durable, but not childproof. Comes with two AAA batteries to get you started.

Magnet - ceramic

rectangle, 3/16 inch thick

Your basic refrigerator magnet, about the width and length of a large postage stamp, with N and S poles on each face and a hole in the middle. A useful and popular science supply used in may TOPS titles. Purchase at least 2 per student.

Steel Wool

fine grade, unsoaped

A handy lab supply, for studying electricity. Each pad is about the size of a classic Shredded Wheat biscuit. Used in #11 Oxidation and #32 Electricity.

Sugar Cubes

126 cubes (not bricks), teaspoon-size

This is a specialty item for #35 Metric Measuring.

Test Tube - medium disposable

19 mL capacity, 16 mm OD, 5 inch (125 mm) length

A lighter weight rimless Pyrex test tube made with thinner glass.

Test Tube - medium reusable

14 mL capacity, 15 mm OD, 5 inch (125 mm) length

A tough Pyrex test tube made with rim and thicker glass. Has a white spot for labeling.

Wire - wrapping

100 feet, plastic insulated

Also called magnet wire or bell wire. This science-lab staple is used in #19 Electricity, #20 Magnetism, #33 Magnetism, and #91 Global TOPS.

Wrapping wire may be recycled from old motors or transformers. If insulated with paint rather than plastic tubing, end leads will need to be sandpapered clean, not stripped with pliers.

Wire - very thin copper

bare wire

The thinner the better. Old household appliance cords may be braided into suitably thin strands. Nip the insulation with wire stripping pliers, then pull off the insulation to inspect. This is a speciality item for #20 Magnetism and #33 Magnetism.

Teaching Tips for #95 Try This On for Science:

No special tips at this time.

Lesson by Lesson Objectives for #95 Try This On for Science:

  1. Sample 01: To relate the length of a pendulum to its period. To appreciate the predictive power of mathematics.
  2. Sample 02: To define the decimal equivalents of metric prefixes, and use them in combination with other units of measure.
  3. Sample 03: To graph how the diameter of a cylinder is related to its circumference.
  4. Sample 04: To experience how lowering the center of gravity of an object below its pivot point stabilizes its equilibrium.
  5. Sample 05: To devise a simple method for estimating postage rates using an equal arm lever. To develop a kinesthetic feel for 1 ounce.
  6. Sample 06: To explain the apparent discrepancy that identical puzzle pieces fit together to form unequal areas.
  7. Sample 07: To be surprised by the unusual topological properties of a Mobius strip.
  8. Sample 08: To develop a probability distribution for 10 randomly tossed tacks landing upright. To express the central tendency as a mode, median and mean.
  9. Sample 09: To compare the relative densities of ice, liquid water, and corn oil by observing what floats and what sinks. To confirm these observations on a balance.
  10. Sample 10: To investigate the properties of cabbage water as an acid-base indicator.
  11. Sample 11: To study the rapid oxidation of iron to iron oxide. To understand that smaller particle sizes speed the burning process.
  12. Sample 12: To understand why salt and water lose volume when mixed together.
  13. Sample 13: To observe how cohesion holds water together when heaped on a penny. To recognize that soap weakens this cohesion.
  14. Sample 14: To observe how a bi-material strip bends as its dissimilar sides expand and contract by different amounts. To apply this idea to thermostats.
  15. Sample 15: To appreciate that water is a good heat convector, but a poor conductor.
  16. Sample 16: To feel the strong force of atmospheric pressure holding a plastic bag inside an airtight container.
  17. Sample 17: To experience the reversed nature of a reflected virtual image. To have fun.
  18. Sample 18: To examine 3 ways to change the pitch of a vibrating string.
  19. Sample 19: To construct a sensitive galvanometer. To understand that moving electrons create an associated magnetic field.
  20. Sample 20: To build a motor that spins by turning itself on and off.
  21. Sample 21: To measure reaction time by catching a dropping meter stick.
  22. Sample 22: To recognize the relationship between force and distance in a combination pulley system improvised from paper clips.
  23. Sample 23: To model how dissolved minerals petrify wood.
  24. Sample 31: To construct a paper balance; to use it to compare masses of small objects.
  25. Sample 32: To use a bulb and battery to test whether common materials in the classroom are conductors or insulators of electricity.
  26. Sample 33: To observe that a magnetic field can pass through solid objects, as long as they are not magnetic.
  27. Sample 34: To graph how the frequency of a paper clip chain changes with length.
  28. Sample 35: To measure a box in one, two and three dimensions. To estimate quantity by measuring.
  29. Sample 36: To verify basic body proportions by making accurate measurements with a meter stick or tape.
  30. Sample 37: To understand camouflage as a survival strategy, as an outcome of natural selection.
  31. Sample 38: To expose radish seeds to a variety of growing conditions and predict outcomes.
  32. Sample 39: To construct a pole planter that allows students to draw the daily growth pattern of a corn and bean plant to scale.
  33. Sample 40: To understand why the spherical moon often presents a crescent shape.
  34. Sample 41: To draw the relative sizes of the sun and planets to scale. To draw their distances from the sun to scale.
  35. Sample 42: To build a suspension-drop microscope. To understand 4-color printing as a matrix of yellow, blue, red, and black dots.
  36. Sample 61: To assign a class number based on the position of each student's name on your finalized class list.
  37. Sample 62: To encourage students to get acquainted with others in their classroom community.
  38. Sample 63: To enforce class rules. To make discipline a positive learning experience.
  39. Sample 64: To encourage students to share their hopes and fears.
  40. Sample 91: To make a pendulum that ticks 60 cycles per minute, like a clock.
  41. Sample 101: To experience pinhole magnification.

National Science Education Standards (NRC 1996) for #95 Try This On for Science:

TEACHING Standards

These 41 stand-alone lessons promote excellence in science teaching by these NSES criteria:
Teachers of science...
A: ...plan an inquiry-based science program. (p. 30)
B: and facilitate learning. (p. 32)
C: ...engage in ongoing assessment of their teaching and of student learning. (p. 37)
D: and manage learning environments that provide students with the time, space, and resources needed for learning science. (p. 43)

CONTENT Standards

These 41 stand-alone lessons contain fundamental content as defined by these NSES guidelines (p. 109).
• Represent a central event or phenomenon in the natural world.
• Represent a central scientific idea and organizing principle.
• Have rich explanatory power.
• Guide fruitful investigations.
• Apply to situations and contexts common to everyday experiences.
• Can be linked to meaningful learning experiences.
• Are developmentally appropriate for students at the grade level specified.

Unifying Concepts and Processes

NSES Framework: Systems, order, and organization • Evidence, models and explanation • Constancy, change, and measurement • Evolution and equilibrium • Form and function
Core Concepts/Processes: A variety of hands-on lessons and teaching tools from 41 different TOPS titles in science and math.

Science as Inquiry (content standard A)

NSES Framework: Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations. • Design and conduct a scientific investigation. • Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data. • Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence. • Think critically and logically to connect evidence and explanations. • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions. • Communicate scientific procedures and explanations. • Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.
Core Inquiries: Sample stand-alone science and math inquires adapted from 41 different TOPS titles.

Physical Science (content standard B)

NSES Framework: Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism • Properties and changes of properties in matter • Motions and forces • Chemical reactions
Core Content: Center of gravity • Electricity • Magnetism • Pendulums • Lenses and pinholes • Light • Floating and sinking • Kinetic model • Pressure • Sound • Reaction Time • Pulleys • Heat

Life Science (content standard C)

NSES Framework: Structure and function in living systems • Diversity and adaptations of organisms • Matter, energy, and organization in living systems
Core Content: Animal survival • Radishes • Corn and Beans • Oxidation and human respiration

Earth and Space Science (content standard D)

NSES Framework: Properties of earth materials • Objects in the sky • Changes in earth and sky 58 Structure of the earth system • Earth's history • Earth in the solar system 912 Energy in the earth system • Geochemical cycles • Origin and evolution of the earth system • Origin and evolution of the universe
Core Content: Petrified wood • Modeling moon phases • Scaling the solar system

Science and Technology (content standard E)

NSES Framework: Abilities of technological design • Understanding about science and technology
Core Content: Build balance beams, galvanometers, motors, water-drop microscopes, pinhole microscopes, and more.