The Exploratorium
Science Snacks

Teacher developed activities.

These activities, are known as "Snacks in Progress" and, are stored here for use by all science teachers. This area is a testing ground for recently developed classroom activities. Classroom activities or Snacks listed below may be published in the next "Snackbook," "Snackbook II." To find out more about the orginal Snack Book, or to order an orginal Snackbook, click here.

Snacks presented here are edited by the Exploratorium Teacher Institute staff and are checked for science content. Comments and criticisms are welcome. To see a partial list of teachers involved in the development of these activities, click here.

Snack name


Condiment Diver

Squeezing a plastic bottle filled with water and a condiment packet makes the packet sink. Letting go of the bottle makes the packet rise.

Coupled Resonant Pendulum

By taking advantage of resonance, you can cause two pendulums to swing in identical cycles.


A grape is repelled by both the north and south poles of a strong rare-earth magnet. The grape is repelled because it contains water, which is diamagnetic. Diamagnetic materials are repelled by magnetic poles.

Dipping Bird

When the fuzzy coating on the bird's head is wet, water evaporates and cools the vapor inside the bird's head. This condenses the vapor back to liquid and reduces the pressure in the bird's head. The bird's head keeps moving.


Natural geysers form when underground chambers fill with water and are heated geothermally. When the water is heated to its boiling point, the geyser erupts, spewing its contents, and the cycle starts again.

Giant Sieve Sorter

This is a sieve that sorts objects by size. Its screens act as boundaries, allowing objects that are small enough to pass through and preventing the passage of objects that are too large.

Glue Stick Sunset

The scattering of light by the atmosphere, which creates the blue sky and red sunsets, can be modeled when light from a flashlight shines through clear glue sticks.

Hand-Held Heat Engine

Challenge your students to get the liquid up to the top of the container without turning it over. This device highlights the interplay between temperature and pressure.

Laser Jello

Use gelatin as a smoked lens, to view total internal reflection, and as a color filter.

Magnetic Shielding

Explore magnetic shielding, lines of force and the concept of permeabllity with low cost material.

Milk Makes Me Sick

Most human infants produce ample quantities of lactase for milk digestion. However, in the vast majority of adult humans, the gene which specifies production of lactase is turned "off" and these individuals cannot digest lactose - they are lactose intolerant .


Even with our eyes closed, we have a sense of body position - where our arms and legs are, for example, and that we are moving them. Muscles, tendons, joints and the inner ear contain proprioceptors , also known as stretch receptors, which relay positional information to our brains.

Real Image

Create the image of an object in space using a $2 ornament.

Seeing Your Blind Spot

See your blind spot.

Seeing Your Retina

You can use a dim point of light to cast a shadow of the blood supply of your retina onto the retina itself. This will allow you to see the blood supply of your retina, and even your blind spot.

Sense of Taste

Receptors on our tongues bind to chemicals in our food and relay the information about the chemicals to our brain. Surprisingly, all those wonderful tastes are transmitted to our brains through only four types of receptors on our tongues - those for sweet, sour, salt and bitter.

Slinky in hand

Hold a slinky between your hands, model transverse wave resonances as well as longitudinal wave resonances. Learn about nodes and antinodes of motion and compression.

Solar Brightness

A photometer made by making a grease spot on white paper can be used to compare the brightness of the sun to the brightness of a lamp. By finding a position at which the sun is as bright as the lamp the power output of the sun can be estimated.

Spinning Cyclinder

A spinning rod with a mark near one end is set rotating and spinning at the same time. Amidst the blur of the spinning cylinder, the mark appears three times, forming a stationary triangle.

Tired Weight

By measuring the amount of surface each tire presses onto the ground and the pressure inside each tire, you can calculate the weight of a car.

Vector Toys

A bob, or mass, hangs from a string attached to the front of the walking men. Watch as the string almost draws the vectors that make the toy work.

Snack Template

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