Wade Thomas Science Fridays

Welcome to the Wade Thomas STEAM + Science Fridays program.

The year-long program, run by WTPA Science Committee volunteers, offers students hands-on science experiments to ignite children’s curiosity and inquiry about the world around us.

If you have any questions about our program or would like to help the STEAM team, please contact us at



Science Fridays: Plants

February 9, 2018

Room 16 came alive with plants during this Science Fridays. Students studied displays of examples of plant use by humans: perfume, grains, juices, teas, spices, oil, cork, fuel, wooden toys, furniture, and cotton. Students then studied parts of a plant—roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and seeds—using a digital microscope....Read More »

Science Fridays: Beach Ecosystem

February 2, 2018

As we learn more about life and living organisms, we look into a complex interconnected dependence within an ecosystem. A life on the beach shore is a good example. Students happily recalled family trips to the beach and the flora and fauna they encountered. Everyone collaborated on a...Read More »

Science Fridays: Fossils, Dinosaurs

January 26, 2018

This Friday we talked about the life forms which lived on Earth a long time ago and how we know about them. Students put their paleontologist hats on and dug “fossil” eggs for toy dinosaurs. They also closely analyzed the fossil collection from the Wade Thomas science lab.


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Science Fridays: DNA

January 19, 2018

We have switched our lab’s focus to life sciences. We will continue to introduce fundamentals of biology and the study’s fields in the next couple of months. This Friday students learned about DNA. They made a paper model of the double helix as well as an attempt to...Read More »

Science Fridays: Chemical Reactions

December 15, 2017

Before heading out to celebrate winter holidays, we got a bit messy in our science lab during the general introduction to chemistry. First, some safety rules: it is essential to never touch or smell an unknown substance. To demonstrate the importance of this rule, we showed four vials...Read More »

Science Fridays: Magnets

December 8, 2017

This Friday we played with magnets and explored the invisible force of a magnetic field. Students tested various materials’ response to magnets, sorting out those that can be picked up with a strong magnet and those that cannot. With magnets, students realized, they can control the movement of...Read More »

Science Fridays: Rocks and Gems

December 1, 2017

All children had a chance to hold various rocks and minerals we are lucky to own at our school. From an amethyst to volcanic rock, lunchtime science visitors enjoyed our “museum” of rock collections.

For a more in-depth, hands-on research, students picked a rock from a basket and studied...Read More »

Science Fridays: Caves and Canyons

November 17, 2017

This week we taught erosion and the formation of caves, canyons and other landscape features created by water and wind.

To demonstrate how rain creates canyons and landslides, we poured water on trays with mounds of dirt. The children watched in fascination. They also enjoyed watching the simulation of...Read More »

Science Fridays: Geosphere

October 27, 2017

The best way to teach about Earth’s layers during recess? Bring out the colored play dough! We had a very large group of students this week, and they all diligently built a miniature Earth: a rock in the center to represent the inner core, a yellow play...Read More »

Science Fridays: Water, Weather

October 20, 2017

The events due to dry weather/lack of precipitation caused schools to cancel last Friday, but we are back this week with more exciting science experiments.

We discussed properties of water, condensation, evaporation, convection and the water cycle in nature. We did a simple experiment to demonstrate convection...Read More »

Science Fridays: Atmosphere

October 6, 2017

Ahoy! Coming down from space through exosphere, thermosphere, mesosphere, stratosphere and troposphere, we land on earth and… which way is the wind blowing?

Today students put on their engineering hats to design toy sailboats and test the best way to capture the power of moving air. Materials used for...Read More »

Science Fridays: Planets and Moons

September 29, 2017

We are on a roll in the Friday Science Lab! Every elementary school child needs to know the names of the planets in our Solar System, right? We are here to help! Students discussed the eight planets–and had to be reminded that the Sun is a star—and chose...Read More »

Science Fridays: The Sun

September 22, 2017

Did your family have a chance to see the total solar eclipse this year? We focused this week’s science experiments on the light, heat and energy we receive from the Sun. We also created a scaled version of totality with a desk globe and a flash light. Our...Read More »

Science Fridays: The Stars

September 15, 2017

To the stars! This week our students learned about major stars and constellations, and then proceeded to create their own: a tube for viewing and constellation cards with punched holes. They can make their own at home following these instructions found online.

We also taught how humans have...Read More »

Science Fridays: Space Travel

September 8, 2017

We start the year with one of the most exciting aspects of living in the 21st century—space travel. We talked about the timeline of space research, astronaut training, building and flying rockets, and our physical location in the universe. Science Fridays are during play time—so we set up lots of...Read More »

Science Fridays: Science Rocks! Party

June 9, 2017

Approaching the end of the school year, we put on our party hats and brought the best experiments from the year’s worth of Science Fridays. There were: stomp rockets, Zoomy digital microscope, MakeyMakey piano, Keva blocks, BlueOrange games, household items for chemical solutions (baking soda, vinegar, food coloring)...Read More »

Science Fridays: Five Senses

June 2, 2017

In this Friday lab session we discussed the importance of our senses, primarily, the senses of touch, smell, taste, hearing and vision. For sense of touch experiment, we filled a box with similarly sized round objects: an orange, a tennis ball, a stress ball, a lemon, an apple,...Read More »

Science Fridays: Science of Sports

May 26, 2017

As the long weeks of state testing came to a close, we chose to provide lots of opportunities for the children to move during the lunchtime science session. First, we had the students propose a hypothesis about a correlation between the height of a jump and the student’s...Read More »

Science Fridays: Medicine

May 19, 2017

We were thrilled to have the San Anselmo firefighters visit our Science Fridays this week! The men explained what they do in medical emergencies, demonstrated their first aid kits, tools and procedures and answered many questions. Students had a chance to play with Zoomy microscope and The...Read More »

Science Fridays: Anatomy

May 11, 2017

What’s a better way to start an anatomy unit than to bring a life-size skeleton into the classroom? The elementary school students discussed the names of the bones and their placement and importance, learned the muscle group names and ways to stay strong, and looked at their skin...Read More »

Science Fridays: Geology

May 5, 2017

To deepen the knowledge about our Earth, we continued with an exploration of geology. Our volunteer presented continent-shaped paper cutouts floating in a bucket of water to explain the continental drift. The students were asked to recite the names of the continents. They studied stones and gems with...Read More »

Science Fridays: Geography

April 28, 2017

We wrapped up the incredible Wade Thomas International Week by talking about geography. We had a table covered with library books about the world explorers and their adventures, world maps, continents and countries. As we discussed the countries our students learned about during the previous week, we looked...Read More »

Science Fridays: Our Solar System and Beyond

April 21, 2017

This week we switch gears to talk about our solar system and what lies beyond. We started from afar, and zoomed in toward the Earth. First, the stars. How did Moana navigate with her open hand? She measured the angle between the stars in the nigh sky....Read More »

Science Fridays: Plants

March 31, 2017

As our new school garden has begun to take shape—how exciting!—we turned our classroom into a lunchtime botanical laboratory. We had five different fun stations. As the children entered the room, they saw a large table filled with various plants we’ve collected. The children studied parts of a...Read More »

Science Fridays: Balance

March 24, 2017

We have a box of Keva blocks at every science session, and this time, it was the highlight of the planned activities. Build a tower that is leaning, we asked the kids, as tall as you can. At which point does it collapse? Where was its base of...Read More »

Science Fridays: Solutions and Reactions

March 11, 2017

The chemistry unit fell on St. Patrick’s Day, and, boy, did we use a lot of green food dye! Making a mess (and cleaning up afterwards) is part of hands-on chemistry activities. We had lots of towels handy and let the children have fun. We began with an...Read More »


March 9, 2017

The Wade Thomas STEAM Team held a first annual Maker Night this week! This very special evening event brought together Cyber Garage, Play-Well, WPTA, volunteers and many families to Wade Thomas Elementary School. Among the amazing free activities for the attending children were: stop-motion animation, robot...Read More »

Science Fridays: Physics of Motion

March 3, 2017

Switching to the field of physics, we got the kids talking about Isaac Newton this week. We had three stations labeled “Gravity”, “Newton’s Laws” and “Momentum”. At the first station, children played with a make-shift pendulum (tennis ball on a string), launched stomp rockets, and tried juggling. At...Read More »

Science Fridays: Magnets

February 17, 2017

“Why do magnets push each other apart?” This and many other great questions were overheard during the Magnets science hour this week. The children played with variety of magnets of different sizes, shapes and strength. They magnetized metal paperclips and watched how the magnetized objects moved the compass...Read More »

Science Fridays: Electricity

February 10, 2017

The room’s atmosphere was charged with excitement during this February Science Fridays hour. We talked about sources of electricity, showed how to measure battery’s charge with voltmeter, explained how electricity produced a magnetic field, and tested which materials conduct electricity. Next, children built circuits with the the game...Read More »

Science Fridays: Legos

February 3, 2017

We were very lucky to have Justin Smith from Play-Well come to Wade Thomas during our regular Science Fridays hour and bring a myriad of colorful Legos for the children to play with. Kids worked together in groups to build a Lego city with skyscrapers, towers, bridges and...Read More »

Science Fridays: Coding and Robots

January 27, 2017

How does one create a sequence of commands—or code—a robot? We made it easy to understand in a simple and fun activity “Make a Robot Dance”. Children put prepared instruction cards in order of their liking—“Raise Arm”,”Jump”, “Nod Head”, “Bow”, etc.—and one child “robot”, in cool square glasses,...Read More »

Science Fridays: Prototyping

January 20, 2017

As we taught in December, the process of design involves prototyping. In this Wade Thomas’ Science Friday we brought out our creative thinkers’ hats. As with all of our Science Fridays, we brought in many books on the subject of the week—this time, ornithology. Build a birdhouse, we...Read More »

Science Fridays: Ice and Snow. States of Matter

January 13, 2017

Happy New Year! We begin our Wade Thomas science hour with a nod to the winter. First, before we delved into states of matter, kids learned about investigating properties of an object. They measured the weight and length and width of an ice cube using a scale and...Read More »

Science Fridays: Engineering. Bridges and Towers.

December 16, 2016

Today Wade Thomas students learned about engineering! At first, we mentioned the process of design: identifying the problem, researching possible solutions, picking the best and building the prototype, testing the prototype and repeating the steps to improve the design. Then we introduced two hands-on stations: building bridges and...Read More »

Science Fridays: Simple Machines

December 9, 2016

This week we introduced six types of simple machines—machines that make work easer: lever, inclined plane, pulley, wedge, wheel&axel and screw. Everyone had a great time in this hands-on workshop. At the lever station, students built first-, second- and third-class levers out of a ruler and a book...Read More »

Science Fridays: Light and Color

December 2, 2016

We started our Friday science hour with a conversation about sources of light: the sun, flashlights, fire, candles, electric light.  We provided various materials to shine a flashlight at to see how light travels through transparent, opaque or translucent objects. Using a magnifying glass, we bent the light...Read More »

Science Fridays: Water

November 18, 2016

The theme of the fourth Science Friday was “Water”. We talked about the water molecule and hydrogen and oxygen atoms. As an introduction to the concept of buoyancy,  students tested how various objects float or sink in water. Then the students moved on to surface tension experiments: they...Read More »

Science Fridays: Air and Sound

November 4, 2016

Our third Science Friday focused on the air around us and the music it makes. Kids used Keva blocks to understand how moving molecules affect each other. Students built paper airplanes to explore Bernoulli’s principle and aerodynamics. They also talked through paper & string telephone to learn how...Read More »

Science Fridays: Right Handed or Left Handed? Brain-Body Control. Optical Illusions.

October 21, 2016

Our second Science Friday lab was a bit quieter as the children were very focused on the tasks measuring their right- or left- handedness. They caught a beach ball, looked at objects with each eye, kicked a ball into a soccer goal, jumped, wrote their name and cut...Read More »

Science Fridays: Static Electricity

October 7, 2016

We kicked off our first 2016-2017 Wade Thomas Science Fridays with a topic on Static Electricity. Imagine thirty children in a classroom, each holding a colorful balloon and each having hair going straight up! It was a sight not to be missed. The children learned which materials create...Read More »