Discovery Center Programs

During a facilitated laboratory program supported by Travelers, students are active participants, performing investigations and learning how science is part of their own everyday experiences. Each Discovery Center Lab models one 45-minute classroom period that aligns with the Connecticut Science Framework and supports science practices within the Next Generation Science Standards.

The complete curriculum package for each program, including all associated and support materials is free for you to download and use.

These curriculum packages provide educators with pre-visit, visit and post-visit materials such as classroom lessons, literature links, integrated lessons, performance tasks, embedded tasks, career connections, websites and more.

For additional information and support, it is strongly recommended that teachers attend one of our Professional Development Workshops
Discovery Center laboratory programs take place in the Pfizer Discovery Center on Level G1.

NGSS Aligned Discovery Center Classroom Programs

Whose mouth is this? Build different mouth structures, evaluate what kinds of foods those structures are best suited for, and consider other structures that help organisms to feed.

What’s happening with my water? Investigate what occurs when different substances are combined. Look for evidence of chemical reactions and identify the unique properties of newly formed products.

Space Lab Programs (Available for grades 4-12)

From the far reaches of the known universe to our own solar system, discover the forms of energy that bind everything together. Investigate the various forms of energy our sun provides and how they are essential to life on Earth; then follow this energy back to the Big Bang. Try your hand at bending space-time and see what happens when our sun is removed from our solar system! Explore all of this under our dome in the Discovery Space Lab.

Classroom Programs (45-minutes)

What’s The Weather?

How does a meteorologist predict the weather? Graph changing weather conditions and use weather tools to help predict patterns.

Where’s Your Shadow?

Create and investigate shadows while using position words to unlock the secret of shadow size and placement and how that applies to the sun.

States of Matter, Matter

How do we define states of matter? What properties allow us to classify materials as solids or liquids?

It's Not Easy Being Green

What are the parts of a plant? How does water affect plant growth? Students perform several experiments to answer these and other questions about plants.

Melting Away

There are hidden properties to be revealed in every object. Which visible and invisible characteristics of materials help us to classify them? How do these properties affect how heat energy moves through an object?

Don’t Lose Your Cool

Which materials help us to reduce, reuse and recycle resources while keeping buildings warm in the winter and cool in the summer? Find out by helping to keep our bulldog cool while figuring out why we are so interested in energy and our resources, and what you can do to help us conserve them.

Whose mouth is this? Build different mouth structures, evaluate what kinds of foods those structures are best suited for, and consider other structures that help organisms to feed.

Washing Away

Where and how does water travel on Earth? Which factors contribute to erosion, and how does erosion affect the Earth’s landscape over days or millions of years?

EM & Me

How are electricity and magnetism related, and how can they be manipulated to create an electromagnet? Explore some applications of electromagnets.

What’s happening with my water? Investigate what occurs when different substances are combined. Look for evidence of chemical reactions and identify the unique properties of newly formed products.

Ride The Wave

How is sound created? Explore the factors necessary for sound to occur and how these sounds can travel through different media. Investigate why certain types of sound are different from others.

Light Up Your World

How does light behave? Does it follow a predictable pattern? Investigate refraction and how light can bend as it travels through different materials.

Making Sense of Your Senses

How do we use our senses to understand what is happening around us? How well can we make decisions when our senses are limited?

Snap Decisions

How much time does it take to make an accurate decision? What’s the difference between “seeing” and knowing what you “saw?”

H2O, No!

Investigate particle size to explore how soil porosity and permeability affect water transport and the lifeforms that depend on it.

The Me In Meteorology

What causes the weather patterns we experience every day? Explore various weather phenomena to understand the driving force behind weather systems.

I Know My Body

How do our lungs function to move gases in and out? What is the difference between a heartbeat and a pulse? How do our circulatory and respiratory systems interact to move oxygen around our bodies, and how do they respond when our oxygen levels need to increase?

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

How do various physical and chemical processes change the Earth’s surface over time? How can we recognize the impact of those forces by looking at the Earth’s features?

Get A Move On

Which factors affect an object’s inertia? How does inertia affect an object’s motion? Explore how various forces can influence motion by creating your own rollercoaster.

Energy Makeovers

What forms can energy take, and how can they change from one form to another? How are heat, light, motion, sound and electricity related?

Enrichment Programs (up to 1.5 hours)

The 90 minute Discovery Center Enrichment Programs give students a hand-on experience in an advanced science concept using more sophisticated equipment and techniques than might be possible in a standard classroom. The students themselves will be active participants in these programs, performing experiments and discovering how science connects to their lives.

A robot body is just a pile of material. A true robot needs a brain! Use a block programming system to get inside the heads of various pre-built robots. Employ sensors and other equipment to see just how much a robot can do. Through the combination of equipment and programming, the robot will perform a series of automated actions.

Robots start out as machines without brains. Become a robotics engineer and add features to robots while learning about electronics, simple machines, forces, and the engineering design process. Once your robots are complete, teams will work together to accomplish a goal, like cleaning up a hazardous waste spill! This program focuses on guiding the robots through remote control rather than with programming.

Scratch is a computer programming language that lets you create your own interactive stories, games and animations—and share your creations with others around the world. While designing and programming Scratch projects, you will learn to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively. The ability to code computer programs is an important part of literacy in today’s society. Come join in the fun of coding!

Scratch is developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab.

Discover the molecule that makes every living thing unique: DNA! Use the techniques of molecular biologists to extract your own DNA and bring it back to the classroom in a necklace. Discuss the role DNA plays in determining the traits we have.