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Discovery Center Labs

During a facilitated laboratory program in the Science Center’s Pfizer Discovery Center, 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 by clicking on the “Download Program Package” at the end of programs description.
  • 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

New Discovery Programs

New for 2014: Discovery Space Lab Programs Available for Grades 4–12

Energy through Time and Space

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.

Energy through Time and Space is available as an add-on to your field trip for $8 per person; General Admission is required for all field trips. Book online or contact Connecticut Science Center Reservations via email or by calling (860) 520-2150 for more information.

Classroom Programs (45-minutes)

CT K.3 Weather “What’s The Weather?”

What is wind? How does air movement affect the objects around us? How do weather conditions change, and what seasonal patterns can we identify?

MA Standards: Earth PreK-2 #3,5; Life PreK-2 #7


CT 1.1 Positions “Where’s Your Shadow?”

How can we tell time using the sun’s path? How are shadows created, and what do they tell us about our location on the Earth?

MA Standards: Earth PreK-2 #5


CT 2.1 States of Matter “States of Matter, Matter”

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

MA Standards: Physical PreK-2 #1,2; Physical 3-5 #2


CT 2.2 Plants”It’s Not Easy Being Green”

What happens during the life cycle of a plant? How do plant structures support growth throughout a plant’s life? Why do different plants have different leaf structures? How do light and water affect plant growth?


CT 3.1 Properties of Matter “Melting Away”

Which characteristics and properties help us classify different items? How do types of materials, physical properties, and the size of an object affect how heat energy moves through an object? How can we use this information to control temperature in various situations?


CT 3.4 Earth’s Resources “Don’t Lose Your Cool”

What are some factors that affect the thermal insulation quality of our homes and buildings? Which materials help us to reduce, reuse and recycle resources while keeping buildings warm in the winter and cool in the summer?

MA Standards: Physical 6-8 #14,16


CT 4.3 Erosion “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?

MA Standards: Physical 6-8 #14,16


CT 4.4 Electricity and Magnetism “EM & Me”

Which materials are attracted by magnets, and how do magnets react with each other? How are electricity and magnetism related, and how are they combined in electromagnets? How are electromagnets used?

MA Standards: Earth 3-5 #12; Earth 6-8 #6


CT 5.1a Sound “Ride The Wave”

What happens when a sound is made? Why are certain types of sounds different from others? How do musical instruments make their sounds?

MA Standards: Earth 3-5 #12; Earth 6-8 #6


CT 5.1b Light “Light Up Your World”

How does light behave? What happens when light is reflected, refracted or absorbed? Does light follow a predictable pattern?

MA Standards: Physical 3-5 #6,7,8,9,10


CT 5.2 Senses “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?

MA Standards: Physical 3-5 #6,7,8,9,10


CT 5.2 Judgment “Snap Decisions”

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

MA Standards: Physical 3-5 #4,11


CT 6.2 Abiotic Factors “Soil, Water, and Plants”

Investigate particle size to explore how soil porosity and permeability effect water transport and plant growth and learn how different soils are classified.


CT 6.3 Meteorology “The Me In Meteorology”

What causes the weather patterns we experience every day? Explore various weather phenomenon such as air currents, dew, and cloud formation through a series of hands-on investigations.

MA Standards: Physical 3-5 #4,11


CT 7.2b Organ 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?

MA Standards: Earth PreK-2 #5


CT 7.3 Landforms “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?

MA Standards: Physical 3-5 #12


CT 8.1 Forces and Motion “Get A Move On”

Which factors affect an object’s inertia? How does inertia affect an object’s motion? What can be done to an object to change how it moves and responds to external forces?

MA Standards: Physical 3-5 #12


CT 9.1 Energy Transformations “Energy Makeovers”

Which paths does energy take in changing from one form to another? How are heat, light, motion, sound and electricity related?

MA Standards: Earth 3-5 #6,10,11; Earth 6-8 #3

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.


Robot Trainers (Grades 3-4, 5-12)

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 programing, the robot will perform a series of automated actions.


Energy City (Grades 5-12)

Expanding upon our Energy City gallery, experiment with solar cells, wind power, hydrogen fuel cells and other energy sources. Using both conventional and alternative fuel power plants, design an eco-friendly model town with a power grid. How low can you get its carbon footprint?


Robot Makers (Grades 5-12)

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 immobilizing an opponent’s robot! You will learn to guide robots with a remote control rather than with programming.


Scratch (Grades 6-8)

scratch_logo
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. See http://scratch.mit.edu


Be a Molecular Biologist (Grades 6-12)

Discover what is inside you that makes you unique. Extract your own DNA and bring it back to class in a necklace. Learn techniques used by molecular biologists and explore the fascinating world of genetics and DNA.