Lesson Plans:

The following lesson plans were designed from the input of teachers, professors, and past/present members of EYES. For every site visit, EYES will supply the necessary materials and experienced volunteers for the prepared lesson(s). 

A special thanks to the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR), whose collaboration with EYES greatly expanded the amount and quality of lesson plans that we have to offer today.


 Lesson Plans


Ice Cream Making

Students use rock salt and ice in ziploc bags to freeze their ice cream ingredients without the use of a refrigerator.  At the end, they get to taste their own creation!

Silly Putty

Students will be introduced to polymers, their structure, and some of their properties by making silly putty.

 Chemical Reactions

 Students will learn the principles of chemical reactions by mixing and observing chemicals.

 Density (Measuring Mass and Volume)

Students form an understanding of density and its importance in their daily lives 

Fun with Phases

Students will learn the principles of phase separation and partition of solutes between phases

Rocks & Minerals

Learn about simple observable characteristics/ properties (color, streak, hardness) used to identify rocks and minerals

Hydrogen Bonding

Student will explore the effects of hydrogen bonds on water such as the cohesive nature of water.


 Lesson Plans


Aerodynamics & Flight

 Learn the physics behind lift, drag, and air viscosity for the motions of flight


 Build and optimize a catapult while learning basic principles of physics and the scientific process

 Density (Liquids)

(1, 2, 3)

Students form an understanding of density and its importance in their daily lives with activities involving liquids and solids. 

Marvelous Magnets

Explore which materials are attracted to magnets, the magnetic field, and what affects magnet strength.


Students will be introduced to Newton's Laws of Motion and understand the effect of a force on an object's motion by gaining an understanding of how an airboat works.

 Rube Goldberg Machine

(no longer offer)

 Students learn about the Law of Conservation of Energy


 Students learn about the Law of Conservation of Momentum and how it parallels a similar law for Energy


 Lesson Plans


 Natural Selection  Students participate in a game illustrating the concept of natural selection by experiencing the competition and scarcity found in the wild. Simulated reproduction and the addition of helpful and harmful traits  allow students to see how a population can change over time

DNA & Genetics

 Using candy and strawberries, students construct their own DNA models, isolate real DNA strands from cells, and explore the variability of the genetic code.
Human Brain Structure and Function (Optical Illusions)  This lesson provides students with an engaging and hands-on way to learn about the structure and function of the nervous system by coloring in areas on a take-home model brain
 Circulatory System Lesson  As students use stethoscopes to measure their own heart rates and create life-sized drawings of their own body’s circulatory system, they will learn about the heart and its functions.
 Brain Evolution Lesson  In this lesson, students build their own models of animal brains using Play-Doh. They discover that the brains of different animals, from reptiles to rodents to humans, share a similar general structure.


 Lesson Plans


 Polymers: Plastics Make it Possible  Make Shrinky Dinks and complete a chemical reaction to create nylon
  Boat Building   Students will explore materials and use knowledge of their properties to engineer their own boat design. 
 Spaghetti Skyscrapers
 Students work in teams to construct the tallest freestanding tower they can create by using their imagination and learning about the basic principles of civil and materials engineering.

Create Your Own Project!

Almost all existing EYES lessons were created by volunteers who wanted to share their expertise and interests with local students.  If you have a fun idea in mind that you are interested in developing into a project, please don't hesitate to contact Emily Hasser at ekh55@cornell.edu. The lesson plan template above may also help to organize your thoughts.