#sparkcuriosity


 

As a leading life science company, we are passionate about inspiring the next generation of scientists. With this in mind we have created Curiosity Labs™, a program that engages students with hands on inquiry, applies scientific concepts to “real world” settings and connects classrooms to professionals in various scientific fields. We provide all materials and equipment necessary for our trained employee volunteers to facilitate full science lessons collaboratively developed with life science employees and education experts.

Explore the site to learn more about Curiosity Labs™, get to know a few of our scientists and learn how to become a Partner School.

Details

The Curiosity Labs™ program is centered on the idea of a “menu” of lessons. Teachers will have the opportunity to choose a lesson topic; ensuring lessons correspond with current classroom content. All lessons are developed with leading science standards in mind and encourage students to use their own curiosity and the scientific method to answer questions as opposed to step-by-step directions. We offer both traveling and hosted lessons at no cost, but schools are responsible for transportation to and from hosted lessons at our premises.

Hosted Lessons

  • Hosted at an approved company site
  • A Curiosity Lab lesson is led by trained employees and includes a tour of the facility
  • Discussion on career connections and answering the "Why is this important?" question
  • Details vary by site and teacher preference, but visits are typically
    2-3 hours and can accommodate
    up to 60 students

Traveling Lessons

  • Trained employees travel to the school with all the materials and equipment needed for the lesson
  • Each lesson is designed to last one class period, but we typically facilitate several consecutive lessons to fill one teacher’s classes for the day
  • Most experiments will be replicable for continued learning at home or in school after the employees leave
  • Discussion on career connections and answering the "Why is this important?" question

Meet our Scientists

  • Jon
    Hazard Communication and Chemical Regulations (LS-QHS)
    St. Louis, MO, USA

    Prior to coming to his current role, Jon helped coordinate science summer camps for students from under resourced areas in St. Louis. With this experience and his chemistry expertise, he works to inspire the next generation of scientists.

  • Caroline
    Technical Specialist
    St. Louis, MO, USA

    Caroline enjoys being able to share her passion for science education and an unlikely path to her current career work with in the exciting field of genetic engineering.

  • James
    Communications Champion
    Glasgow, Scotland, UK

    James uses his background in microbiology and experience with young adults coaching American football to inspire the next generation of scientists. He enjoys leading Curiosity Labs and seeing the look on students’ faces when they create a chemiluminescent reaction for the first time or engineer a successful water filtration unit.

  • Sherita
    Operations Integration Scientist for Custom and New Product Support
    St. Louis, MO, USA

    Sherita is passionate about connecting students to scientists, because this connection was something she felt was lacking in her own early education. She loves the endless nature of discovery in her career and that as a scientist she never stops learning.

  • Christopher
    Scientist, Production Sr in Quality Control
    Milwaukee, WI, USA

    Christopher volunteers with Curiosity Labs to make science more relatable and accessible to help students realize they can be a scientist if they want to be. He enjoys investigating science to not only explain why things are the way they are, but also to lay the groundwork for the way things could be.

  • Marian
    Head Global Operational Development Services, BioReliance, PSS
    Rockville, MD, USA

    Marian has always wanted to understand how things work, especially in nature and medicine. “From my first ‘experiment’ at 5 when tadpoles I kept in an aquarium became frogs, I was hooked.” She loves to share her passion for science and discovery with students by working with them directly in Curiosity Labs.

  • Palaniraja Subramaniam
    Senior Scientist / Lab Operations Bangalore, India

    Palaniraja volunteers with Curiosity Labs because he loves creating interest in science and sparking curiosity in young minds. Science intrigues him because “there is always something new and interesting to discover and the journey to get there can be really exciting”.

 

If you have any questions, please email us at

Information for Teachers

Curiosity Lab lessons are designed to supplement your classroom curriculum. We find that students are able to receive the most value from our lessons when they have at least baseline knowledge of the topic. Our lessons were written to an audience of students age 11-14, but can be adjusted with your input to best fit your students’ needs. We will work with teachers prior to entering the classroom to ensure our volunteers are able to maximize their time with students.

Become a Partner

 

We partner with schools that have a desire to enrich their curriculum by connecting their classrooms to community professionals. To be eligible to participate in the Curiosity Labs™ program, schools must become certified as a “Partner School.” The three step partnership process is explained below.

Verify Location

At this time, we are only able to partner with schools near our sites. In select circumstances, we are able to partner with rural schools not located near our sites. Feel free to email curiositylabs@sial.com with any questions regarding your location.

Australia
Melbourne

Chile
Santiago

China
Shanghai

France
Guyancourt
Lyon
Molsheim

Germany
Darmstadt
Hamburg
Eppelheim
Schwalbach
Steinheim
Taufkirchen

Ghana
Accra

India
Bangalore
Mumbai
Ireland
Cork

Israel
Jerusalem
Rehovot

Italy
Milan

Japan

Tokyo

Mexico
Toluca

Peru
Lima

Singapore
Singapore

Spain
Madrid

Switzerland
Buchs

Taiwan

Taipei

 

United Kingdom
Castle Hill
Consett
Gillingham
Glasgow
Livingston
Poole

United States
Bedford, MA
Bellefonte, PA
Billerica, MA
Cleveland, OH
Danvers, MA
Jaffrey, NH
Lenexa, KS
Madison, WI
Miamisburg, OH
MIlwaukee, WI
Natick, MA
Norwood, OH
Rocklin, CA
Rockville, MD
Round Rock, TX
Seattle, WA
Sheboygan Falls, WI
St. Louis, MO
Temecula, CA
The Woodlands, TX

Review Lessons

Review the list of available lessons to verify the program and ensure its lessons are appropriate for your school/classroom.

Fill out the Partner Request Form

Please use this form to apply to become a Curiosity Labs™ Partner School. If you have any questions, please email us at curiositylabs@sial.com.


Required Field = Required Field

Curiosity Labs™ Lesson Library


Currently Offered

Chemiluminescence

Overview

This lesson aims to answer the following essential questions:

   • What is chemiluminescence and how does it happen?
   • What are some of the different forms of energy?
   • How is energy absorbed or released in a chemical reaction?
   • What is the structure of an atom, and what are the names of the three
     main particles?

Topics Covered

Energy, Energy Transfer, Chemical Reactions, Structure and Properties of Matter, Scientific Instruments and Measurements

Summary

This activity introduces students to the role of electrons in a chemical reaction and addresses energy transformation and the difference in energy between reactants and products. The investigation shows students how chemical reactions can emit light and allows them to investigate the effect of temperature on the reaction. Chemiluminescence has many practical applications, including glow sticks and forensic analysis.

DNA

Overview

The DNA lesson aims to answer the following essential questions:

   • What is DNA and where is it found?
   • What is the structure and function of DNA?
   • How does DNA store and transmit genetic information?

Topics Covered

DNA, RNA, Transcription, Translation, Proteins, Nucleotides

Summary

DNA science is used every day in our world, and research to cure diseases like arthritis and cancer depend on it. Everyone has heard of it, and everyone has it, but what is it? In this activity students will learn about the structure and function of DNA.

Flavors & Fragrances

Overview

This lesson aims to answer the following essential questions:

   • How do products become scented?
   • How do we taste and smell?
   • What is flavor?
   • How does the structure of aroma compounds influence their function?
   • What purposes do flavors and fragrances serve?

Topics Covered

Structure and its Relation to Function, Chemical Structure, Scents, Tastes, Flavors, Fragrance Science

Summary

In this lesson, students learn that humans can recognize more than 10 thousand scents. Students practice recognizing scents by smelling different chemicals on scent sticks. They then learn how their body recognizes and interprets scents. It is emphasized that the structure of the aroma compound is what causes the unique flavor or fragrance of the chemical based on how it interacts with human sensory receptors. They then use their initial research on the different scents to design a unique fragrance for a particular purpose. Students present their fragrance to the class, including the name of their fragrance, how they created it, what product it would be used in, who their audience is and how much the product would cost.

Water Filtration

Overview

This lesson aims to answer the following essential questions:

   • How much of the water on Earth is potable?
   • How can you use engineering to clean dirty water?
   • How do different components of the water filter work?
   • What is different about what a scientist does and what an engineer does?

Topics Covered

Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning and Resilience, Human Impacts on Earth Systems, Defining and Delimiting Engineering Design Problems, Developing Possible Solutions, Optimizing the Design Solution

Summary

In this activity, students learn that of all of the water on Earth, only a very small percentage is potable, or safe for drinking. Students use this information as motivation to design a water filter using the engineering design process. After creating a prototype of their design, students test their filter by pouring dirty water through it. The process of filtration is tied to the physical properties of matter, and students learn how water filtration is used in the industry by scientists and individuals. Finally, students test their clean water by recording visual observations and testing the chlorine content of the water.


Coming Soon

Photosynthesis

Overview

The Photosynthesis lesson aims to answer the following essential questions:

   • What is an electromagnetic wave?
   • What is energy?
   • How do organisms (such as plants and bacteria) get and use the matter and energy
     the need to live and grow?
  • What is the overall reaction of photosynthesis?

Topics Covered

Plant Science, Photosynthesis, Electromagnetic Radiation, Energy

Summary

Photosynthesis is an essential process because it transforms the sun’s energy into energy we can use. This activity introduces electromagnetic radiation as it relates to photosynthesis, and how that reaction relates to the energy on the planet. The investigation allows students to explore different factors, as shown by the chemical equation that might affect the rate of the reaction. Photosynthesis has many technological applications including solar energy devices, such as dye-sensitized solar cells.

Genetic Inheritance with Reebops

Overview

The Genetic Inheritance with Reebops lesson aims to answer the following essential questions:

   • What is heredity?
   • What is a physical trait?
   • How are traits passed from parent to offspring?
   • How is genetic variation related to biological evolution?

Topics Covered

Cells, DNA, Molecular Basis of Heredity, Genetic Variation, Meiosis

Summary

Genetic inheritance is responsible for most biological variation and evolutionary change. In today’s lesson students will learn about genetic variation and inheritance. First the students will investigate physical traits by performing a group activity. Using the imaginary model organism Reebops, students will then explore chromosomes, genes and the process of meiosis. Experiences in this hands-on activity will demonstrate the idea that genetic variation is a component of a population’s diversity and evolution.

Heat Transfer

Overview

The Heat Transfer lesson aims to answer the following essential questions:

   • What is heat or thermal energy?
   • How is heat transferred from one object or space to another?
   • What materials make the best insulators?
   • What does it mean to conserve energy?

Topics Covered

Heat Transfer Methods: Conduction, Convection, & Radiation, Conductor & Insulators, Energy Efficiency

Summary

The burning of fossil fuels to heat and cool our homes uses 4.86 quadrillion BTUs per year, a non-sustainable strategy. Heating and cooling our homes uses more energy and costs more money than any other system – typically making up 56% of our utility bill. One strategy for decreasing our energy usage is to improve insulation in our homes. In this activity, students will explore thermal energy by investigating heat transfer methods and principles. The engineering challenge is to apply what they know and have learned about heat transfer to design an insulated house that keeps cool in the summer.

Life Boat Rally

Overview

The Life Boat Rally lesson aims to answer the following essential questions:

   • What is an engineer and what do they do?
   • How is the engineering design process like the scientific method?
   • What is buoyancy?

Topics Covered

Engineering Design, Engineering Careers, Density, Buoyancy, Properties of Matter, Forces

Summary

This activity introduces the student to engineering, and uses a design competition as a way to learn through inquiry about the principles of density, buoyancy, and gravitational and buoyant forces. The student will explore the physical properties that affect buoyancy, and apply acquired knowledge to design and re-design a lifeboat.

Tools of Science: Pipetting & Gel Electrophoresis

Overview

The Tools of Science: Pipetting & Gel Electrophoresis lesson aims to answer the following essential questions:

   • What is the difference between a compound and a mixture?
   • What are the physical properties of molecules?
   • How can electric forces affect molecules?
   • How do scientists gather data?
   • How can scientific findings be useful to society?

Topics Covered

Chromatography, Microbiology, Genetics, Gel Electrophoresis, Scientific Instruments and Measurements

Summary

In this activity the students will learn how to use some common microbiological tools and techniques. They will also learn how the size and polarity of one molecule can be used to differentiate it from another. The students then apply these techniques and knowledge to solve a real-world problem in society – detecting an inherited genetic disease.

Tools of Science: Microscopy Overview The Tools

Overview

The Tools of Science: Microscopy lesson aims to answer the following essential questions:

   • When do you use a microscope?
   • How does a microscope work?
   • How is a microscope’s magnification calculated?
   • How are plant and animal cells the same, and how are they different?

Topics Covered

Scientific Tools, Microscopy, Light and Optics, Plant and Animal Cells

Summary

Microscopes are important tools used to visually enlarge objects that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. In this activity, students will practice using compound microscopes to gain an understanding of the equipment and technology. Students will learn how to make wet-mount slides and apply these skills to investigate plant and animal cells.