classroom chemistry

Explore Phenomena with Phenomenal Explorations

Are you looking for a way to incorporate hands-on science into your existing grades 3–5 science curriculum? Phenomenal Explorations™ kits are your solution.

Engaging topics that take kids from needing to know to wanting to know

Students often pepper teachers with these types of challenging-to-answer questions: “Why do I need to know this?” “Why should I care about this?” “How does this affect me?”

Phenomenal Explorations™ kits can help teachers build meaningful bridges between students’ experiences and core ideas in science and engineering.

Students learn best when they can make connections to phenomena—relatable, typically observable events. Incorporating real-world context brings more significance to a science concept. It also encourages students to explain why or how something happens, rather than simply describing the concept.

The activities that comprise Phenomenal Explorations™ lessons support curricula by using age-appropriate phenomena to explore core science and engineering principles. Each lesson is built around a central question—featured as the title of the kit—that engages students, prompts them to think critically, and guides them to make a claim supported with scientific evidence and reasoning to answer the question. As students explore each topic, they employ science and engineering practices and exercise foundational science skills, such as collecting data, analyzing texts, planning an investigation, and evaluating models.

Bite-size topics for phenomenal science learning

Phenomenal Explorations™ kits allow you to insert short lessons between your larger science curriculum units no matter what program you are using: Building Blocks of Science™ 3D, Smithsonian Science for the Classroom, or any other program. Each kit allows you to emphasize science and engineering practices through a flexible lesson that can be taught over 1 to 2 weeks.

The amount of time dedicated to science differs from classroom to classroom, so each Phenomenal Explorations™ lesson is divided into several activities that vary in length. While some activities can be combined to shorten the overall duration of the lesson, those that employ models or live materials may require more time for drying, growing, or observation. You might choose to manipulate timing by increasing group sizes or completing 1 or more activities as a class. Each kit’s Lesson Overview Chart includes a recommended pacing guide.

Everything you need for 1–2 weeks of science instruction

With every Phenomenal Explorations™ kit, you get enough hands-on materials for a class of 32 students to complete each lesson and a Teacher’s Guide that details objectives and prior knowledge; identifies connections to the Next Generation Science Standards*; and describes methods of instruction, differentiation, and assessment.

Additionally, there are options for extension and remediation activities.

  • Extension activities aim to challenge students who demonstrate a deep understanding of central concepts.
  • Remediation activities can be used to support students who struggle with the central concepts.
  • A 12-month individual license for 1 teacher and up to 32 students on provides further support.

Here are the Phenomenal Explorations™ topics:

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