How many of these items do you have?

You'll find dozens of experiments with every lesson, so you can pick and choose the experiments you want to do. This program has hundreds  of experiments, projects, and activities to choose from depending on your child's interest, your family budget, and what's available to you in your area. You don't need to do them all to get a great science education!



Focus on quality, not quantity when planning your activity list.

Here's how to use this shopping list:

  1. Look over the list and circle the items you already have on hand.
  2. Browse the experiments and note which ones use the materials you already have. Those are the experiments you can start with.
  3. After working through the experiments, your child might want to expand and do more activities. Make a note of the materials and put them on your next shopping trip OR order them online using the links provided below.

We've tried to keep it simple for you by making the majority of the items things most people have within reach (both physically and budget-wise). We'll be re-using these materials in later units as well.

Shopping List for Unit 1: Force, Gravity, & Friction Click here for Shopping List for Unit 1.

NOTE: Radio Shack part numbers have been replaced. Click here for full chart.

Force Experiments
Balloon (7-9" Latex works great)
Ping Pong Ball
Tissue paper or newspaper
Handful of packing peanuts or paper confetti
Bubble juice (make your own with 12 cups cold water and 1 cup liquid dish soap)
Ball (any size)
Compass (or make your own from a needle, cup of water, magnet, and a cork)
Paper clips (10-15)
String or yarn (about 2 feet long)
O-shaped cereal (any brand is fine)
Milk (or water)
Spoon and bowl
Rope (about 3' long)
Paper (copy paper is fine, but if you can find at least one sheet of heavy paper like cardstock, that would be even better)
Two pencils or sticks
Index cards
Disposable cups

OPTIONAL: (These are not required, but still nice to have...)
Fluorescent bulb
Wool sweater
Plastic bag (like from the grocery store)

Gravity Experiments
Ball (any size)
Stopwatch or timer
2 quarters
Ping Pong Ball and Golf Ball (or two different kinds of balls that are the same size but different weight)

OPTIONAL: Hovercraft Project

  • 1 wood skewer
  • 1 wood popsicle stick
  • 1 straw
  • Two 3VDC motors (use this motor for the thruster and this motor for the hover motor)
  • 2  propellers (the ones in the video are 3" diameter, so check your local hobby store and get a variety to test out) - read over the comments below for ideas on where to find props!
  • 9V battery clip with wires
  • 9V battery (get a good kind, like Duracell or Energizer)
  • 1 SPST switch
  • 16 oz. styrofoam cup (the kind used for sodas). Note that waxed paper cups will not work!
  • 1 foam hamburger container (the one in the video is 5.5? square and 3? high when closed)
  • 1 foam meat tray (the one in the video is approx. 10" x 12" x 1" – it does not need to be these exact dimensions – try a few different sizes out to see what happens! You can get them for free if you ask for a clean one from your grocer. 


Friction Experiments:

  • Paper
  • Pencil or pen
  • Shoes (any shoes with treads will work fine)
  • Yarn or string (about 2’ long)
  • Rubber band
  • Ruler
  • Heavy book
  • 2 magnets (preferably the flimsy business-card style)
  • Rope (3’ or longer)
  • Dowels or round pencils
  • Handful of marbles
  • 2 cookie sheets
  • A board (about 2 feet by 12 inches) or propped up table
  • protractor
  • A board (about 2 feet by 12 inches, but anything about that size will do - watch the video first so you can see what it's used for. You can also use a table propped up on one end.)

Additional Materials for Advanced Students:

  • Index card or scrap of cardboard
  • 2 small mirrors (like from a craft store)
  • 2 rare earth magnets
  • Nylon filament (thin nylon thread works, too)
  • 4 donut magnets
  • Laser pointer (any kind will work - even the cheap key-chain type)
  • Water glass (or cleaned out pickle jar)
  • Wooden spring-type clothespin
  • Hot glue gun

Have a question ?

Tell us what you're thinking...


44 Responses to “Shopping List for Unit 1”

  1. Yes, that was before we started doing live classes (those are at the very top of each experiment list, and have “special teleclass” in the title).

    For the most updated “meat” of it (science concepts explained in detail), click on LIVE CLASSES (in top nav) and scroll down to the subject you are looking for.

  2. natashaderksen says:

    Did you say in the introduction video (on how to use this site) that the first 2-3 experiments of units really teach the meat of it? I can’t find the spot I’m looking for in the video.

  3. The Science Mastery Diamond is the largest program we offer and it contains about 60% of the materials needed for my online science program. (I am still adding content to the online program, so it will not match perfectly as the newer content is not included since it’s so new!) You can learn more about it here:

  4. Do you offer an option where I can purchase all of the materials in one mega order?

  5. angela_stock says:

    Where have people successfully found inexpensive propellers to buy? Do any fellow members have an online supply source?

  6. I would say, “sometimes”. It depends on your hardware store. You can really choose any magnets, but if you’re going to purchase magnets online, then look at Unit 11 and order those at the same time so you have everything you need. The ones for Unit 1 are donut shaped so you can easily hang them, and rare earth for the magnetic array for the laser pulse experiment (upper level). I would start by using what you already have and see if it works before purchasing anything.

  7. tania_kac says:

    Hello, are the 2 rare earth magnets and the donut magnets common enough to be sold at regular hardware stores? Are the materials (rare earth) and ceramic magnets ( donut magnets) important? Thanks

  8. For the fluorescent bulb, you can use a long, thin rod type for this experiment, because you’re going to rub with the the sweater and plastic bag to build up a static charge without actually plugging in the bulb. You can use one you already have around the house – just get an adult to remove it from the socket carefully for you to use in your experiment. Old burned out (not broken) ones will work also.

  9. James Steffen says:

    Can you be more specific on “fluorescent bulb”? What size? Thank you!

  10. You’re in the e-Science program here. You can access Summer e-Camp by clicking the link that says “Summer e-Camp” above and you’ll find shopping lists on the right side as a link.

  11. Leigh Qualls says:

    Are these units the units for the summer e-camp or the year-long e-science? Is there a place I can find the supply list fo the summer e-camp so I can go ahead and purchase supplies before June 1? Thanks so much! Leigh

  12. Daniel Ohanessian says:

    The advanced version.

  13. I don’t have a link for ordering propellers, or I’d be happy to share it with you. Your best bet is to either rip one off an old toy or fan, or visit your local hobby shop and pick up a couple there. I’ve used ones from balsa wood airplanes with good results as well. Which project are you planning to build first?

  14. Daniel Ohanessian says:

    I can’t find any good propellers. Would you mind giving me a link?

  15. Jodie Green says:

    Just new to escience, hi everybody from Canberra Australia. Im a new science high school teacher and ex biologist and from this perspective as well as a parent, let me say wow, what a fantastic approach Aurora has – its so good, and without a doubt worth persisting with through the newness and startup stage.

    I am about to start to use it as basis for a small homeschool collaboration among a few families here. Our blog (paid for last night) is at But theres nothing there yet!

    On the topic of shopping lists and how to manage it, I expect this to be a bit easier as a group of families as we can all find a range of things, and put order s in for what we don’t have. Involving the kids in every part of this is just important a part of the education/what can be learned as is any other part. And also a bit more relaxed. Also, as a teacher/ coordinator I can hook into suppliers for supplies which arent known to the public, and buy bulk. for our group and for local schools even, potentially !! Now, where to store those 500 foam snackpaks …

    But this IS easy to say when I have only 2 and not 4 little ones at home, in a winter season, with the kids constantly needing work to do and me my sanity to preserve.

    Itd be wonderful if people could to go down to the supermarket or bookstore, or amazon, and buy at discount prices any of the foundational e-science kits parts – Aurora, you’ve got alot of business opportunities just waiting for you making this super program super accessible to people ! YAY ! !

  16. Yes – if you look on the right side of each lesson you’ll see where it says “Exercises”. For Unit 1, you’ll find them on the right side which takes you here.

  17. Gwenn Green says:

    Do you happen to have tests or quizzes for each unit? I am trying to determine if there are in the prog. somewhere and I am just not going to the right spot.. or do I create my own after we complete each unit? I am not normally a test parent but I want to make sure they are understanding the concepts we are studying.. thanks

  18. You’ll want to look over the list of experiments first and pick the ones you already have stuff for – do those now. Then when you see one you want to do, add it to your shopping list. That way, it’s a lot easier to get your materials. And And yes, we ship worldwide.

  19. leona fegan says:

    looking at the list as well im thinking a lot.whats the best overall with everything i need for the experiments. do you send to uk or ireland??
    thanks leona

  20. Unit Zero and the Scientific Method Unit were created for the parents more than students, because we got so many requests for these two areas. They are the only ones that are not written for kids to pick up and run with, as they both have a large background and overview component (something that most kids couldn’t care less about, but many adults find essential).

    Unit Zero use minimal materials to teach the basic science principles kids really need to learn. If I only had one month to expose my kids to the most important scientific discoveries of the past 400 years, this is the unit that demonstrates these ideas.

    The shopping list is small, with the exception of a trip to Radio Shack for the motor and magnets… I really tried to keep it simple but we couldn’t get away with just paper and tape for demonstrating Maxwell’s Electromagnetic Principles. I figured you can use the parts again in Units 10 and 11).

    And peppered throughout Unit Zero are links to subsequent lessons for deeper study. It’s supposed to make the e-Science program a lot easier to use.

    Hope this helps!

  21. Gary Keith Topher says:

    How does Unit Zero fit into this?

  22. Funny you should ask! We didn’t use to have it available for this very reason – it tends to overwhelm folks too easily. But so many people asked for a master shopping list, so I put it up. To be honest, I wish we could take it down, because I think it intimidates people. Most folks that look here first before viewing the experiments think they have to get EVERYTHING on this list, and it’s not the case at all. Just start in with what you have, and if you see an experiment you really want to do, start gathering materials for it.

  23. Kelly Mand says:

    Oh, I get it now. Wow – that makes it a lot easier. Why do you have this huge shopping list then?

  24. Not at all… did you watch the video at the top of this page? I suggest doing the experiments you ALREADY have the materials for – do those first! I put so many experiments on the website so you’d have this flexibility. You’re going for quality, not quantity. You don’t have to do all the experiments to learn the key concept. Just do the one that best fits your budget and time.. it’s that simple.

  25. Whoa… there are a TON of materials it looks like I need to get… I am already overwhelmed!

  26. Yes, for our e-Science members, you can order the parts for hovercraft. The link is on the hovercraft page in the comment section I believe.

  27. Rebecca Anderson says:

    I think that I saw somewhere on the site that we could order the materials for the hovercraft from you. Can you tell me if I am correct and where that is on the site? Thanks!

  28. Thanks for your feedback – I really appreciate it. Doing science is supposed to be fun and exciting, and you definitely shouldn’t spend a fortune doing it, either. Let me see if I can help. You’re right – there’s a ton of content on the site, and it can get quite overwhelming.

    First, if you’re searching for experiments to do, then you’re right in looking at the syllabus, but this time click on one of the topics under “Experiments”. This will give you instant access to all the experiments in the section – most kids find this area the most interesting and easiest to figure out what to do first. After you try an experiment or two (pick the ones you already have equipment on hand for, just like you did with the soap experiment), then flip back over to the video section of the lesson (upper right menu that says ‘Video’).

    You’re right – science experiments are a dime a dozen that can be found on the internet, but it’s the how and why behind each one that really makes the e-Science program a curriculum and not a pocketful of projects. The Video and Reading will help your kids understand what’s going on and help you direct their focus on what they’re doing and how to teach it. For example, with the roller coaster experiment, you’ll find tips on how to measure velocity, energy, and more in the reading section as well as additional experiments that tie in g-force, acceleration, and gravity into your topic.

    Something to keep in mind is what type of ‘learner’ your child is. Depending on the level your child is at, the videos really help kids figure out what’s going on in the experiment, but you might want to help bring the principles to life in their own learning style. All kids have their own unique learning mode (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or digital), and the eScience and Science Mastery both cover all four. Kids usually have a strong preference for one to get them to their A-HA! moment (visual – needs to see the experiment to understand the scientific idea, kinesthetic – needs to DO the experiment for the ideas to really make sense, digital – needs to read the text for it to make sense). And all our programs include information to help you do this effectively.

    To be completely honest, one of the main reasons we started the eScience program is to provide a set of experiments and projects that really work along with a forum for kids to ask questions – our staff of scientists and engineers spend a lot of time answering science questions of all sorts! (You can some of them in the comments fields). This approach takes you off the hotseat for answering questions and coming up with experiment ideas that really work, puts you in touch with real scientists in the field, and it challenges the kids to drive their own education by sparking the curiosity inside.

    I totally encourage you to try the program again and keep in touch with me so I can help you along. This isn’t something that you need to ‘go it alone’ with… that’s why there’s unlimited support included with your enrollment. If you find this isn’t something that is going to work for your family, meaning that you’re not totally happy with the program, then I insist on giving you a refund for September. Please let me know if you have any further questions – we’re staffed by folks who love science and really love to share it with others!

  29. Jamie Shepherd says:

    Before I start in, I do want to say that this site IS amazing, but here is the reality of making it work for a busy self employed homeschool household with 4 boys with too many activities.

    I don’t know where to start, there is just so much stuff here. I keep sitting my kids down in front of the computer and telling them to find something they are interested in, but they don’t seem to be able to sort through everything and pick out anything on their own. I have to spend a bunch of time getting everything ready and then sit with them and make sure they work through it all. And I have trouble picking where to start. Finally looked at the syllabus and decided to just start in with the 1st unit.

    I am so frustrated today. I have spent the last hour trying to figure out all the things on the experiment shopping list for Unit 1, some of these things I don’t even know what they are or where to get them…rare magnets, neon bulb, propellers, SPST switch, figure out where we can get a Styrofoam hamburger container??? I am going to be driving all over town for hours before we can even get started on this unit, between the gas, the expenses for all the stuff and the $50 a month this is a really expensive and time consuming way to do science.

    We started subscribing at the beginning of summer because we didn’t do enough science last year and this seemed like a good hands on alternative to the textbooks my boys hate. I kept telling the boys to log in and get started. We put a bar of Ivory soap in the microwave a couple of times because that was something we had on hand. I broke down and spent $20 on materials to try the roller coaster experiment after a lot of time and prep and nagging to get them started, but they got burned out on messing with the tracks after a few days and probably only spent 4 or 5 hours total. Then I found out we could have done that experiment for free without paying $50 a month. I have spent $150 on the subscription fees.

    I had originally found this program because I found a $500 kit on that said you just need to hand this to your kids and they will be able to do it on their own. That looked like just what I wanted so I Googled Aurora Lipper to try and learn more and found this site, but while the kit seems like a do it yourself thing, I don’t think that this site is something that I can just tell my kids to do, because they don’t know where to start and we don’t have all the stuff. I feel like I am spinning my wheels I am so stressed and frustrated and we have spent quite a bit of money but still haven’t really done any science because we never have all the stuff to do the experiments and I have trouble finding the time and money to do all the shopping.

    Sorry to be such a whiner. There is a lot of amazing stuff on this site and the content is great, and I know this won’t do itself…but the supplies thing is really killing it for us. We can’t get out of the shoot and that monthly $50 cha ching is stressful when you can’t find time for the shopping thing.

  30. The shopping lists cover the materials you need to do the projects. If you’re looking for a box of materials, the Diamond Science Mastery contains most of what you need with the e-Science program. You can learn more about the Diamond Program here. The Diamond also includes a 5-year enrollment to the e-Science program, and has enough content for years of science. It’s in four large boxes, weighing about 35 pounds of science equipment (including a full chemistry set, electronics, and more!), so there’s really a lot in there!

  31. Do you offer prepackaged material kits?

  32. Thanks for writing! And yes, your concern is a valid one. You’ll find all the shopping lists online for your review here. It’s hard for me to say how much it will cost, as it will greatly depend on what you already have and which activities you are planning to do. The material lists I have prepared reflect the idea that you shouldn’t have to spend a fortune on learning science, so you’ll find all kinds of materials that you don’t expect to be listed under the heading ‘science materials’.

    Go ahead and browse through the lists to see what you already have and what you’ll be needing. Keep in mind that these lists are for ALL the experiments, and most families select only the ones they want to do (or is within their budget). The first part of the shopping lists are easy-to-find items, and the second half are for the more advanced/further studies experiments and projects. Since there are over 600 experiments on the site, you’ll want to pick and choose your activities as you go along.

    Note that the more advanced topics (Units 9-12) use materials interchangeable with each other, so the batteries, motors, wires, and things like that will be used for multiple units. How long you take on each unit depends on your child’s interest and how much time you spend each week on science. Most families report covering one unit per month, but Units 9-12 take longer.

    Note: You can view the shopping lists for all the units before you enroll in the program, however you do need to be a member for the download links to work.

  33. Kristy Gillespie says:

    I found your website and am interested…but I am worried that I will sign up and then find out we need to buy a bunch of stuff that I wont be able to find in my small town, or that it will cost an arm and a leg. I am a divorced mom home schooling 3 kids so money is not that easy to come by at this point in time. We do have a Wal-Mart in town…but even if they did offer most or all of the things, how do I know what to have on hand ahead of time so we don’t have to stop what we are doing to go to the store to get supplies? Do you have a list of items needed? Along with an estimated price sheet?


  34. Hmmm… it seems Home Training Tools keeps changing the type of propeller they sell. Sometimes it’s an airplane propeller, other times it’s a water (boat) propeller. Ok – we’ll send you the one we have in the experiment video when you send us a SASE (include two stamps) and $3 per propeller. Just be sure to let us know how many you want. The props we have work for both air AND water, so you can use it with the Waterbot, Hovercraft, and more!

  35. Scarlett Taylors says:

    Thank you and congratulations. I am honored to have you filed here under Stars and Bars. Kudos. You are the star attraction here in my house today. You have helped me raise the bar a little higher!

    My oldest child is strictly by-the-book literal due to his Aspergers Syndrome. He will be fourteen next month and is currently absorbing every thing there is to learn about the cosmos. . outer rings and other things. . .and his younger brother lives somewhere between the two. We call this place “Rickyland,” a nickname that stuck after years of trying to get his attention. On some days I wonder if he hears anything I say. I can read to him but he thinks up new endings and beats me there every time with a better “idea.” I always catch myself and say “I think you are right!”

    Needless to say, and the teachers of oddlings will agree, boys like mine find their niche in this life and be honored and revered by their peers (even if they end up eating lunch alone). The typical classroom setting was no place for either of them to thrive. I can give you a list of reasons but I will spare you of that for now. One of my biggest challenges has been to come up with a good K-12 science plan. I have spent the better part of two years figuring out a cumulative way to address all of our needs that would carry us straight through high school.

    So, here I humbly stand, thanking God for the internet once again. ( And as a graduate of The Old School, which I fought back like a lion, I confess is a big deal.) My oldest went straight to Lesson 7 and my other can’t wait to make his hovercraft cub scout meeting. (!) There was a sprinkle of twinkle in his eyes as he recited back to me the entire list of needed items. It’s very nice to know that what needs to stick does so.

    So, today on my 50th birthday, I dub you queen of all things science because someone needs to be! And that is that.

    Now that the bells have tolled, let there be great slumbering sounds among the people as they all live happily-ever-after. Well, sort of. . .

  36. Yes – the shopping lists are in PDF format – hang on another day or two and they will be up for you.

  37. michelle withers says:

    I would love the shopping list to be a pdf file like you do on the teleconferences. Thanks!

  38. We’re working on getting you shopping lists that are 1-2 months out… those will be posted soon. And we’ll get you a PRINT button as well. Thanks for the great feedback!

  39. Robin Angaiak wrote: “Does it matter what kind of SPST switch we use? Does it need to be 120v or less?”

    The switch rating you have should be fine – we’re using only 3 volts, so you’ll be just fine. The rating is to be sure you don’t melt the switch by putting too much current (or voltage) through it.

  40. Karen Frederick says:

    Any chance you can have a PRINT button feature for the shopping list? That would be easier than copying and pasting it into a Word document. And I’m in agreement with Veronica on requesting perhaps six weeks’ worth of shopping lists so we can do all the shopping at once instead of having to go back to the same places again and again for items and given the fact it is sometimes difficult to find some items. Thanks!

  41. Robin Angaiak says:

    Does it matter what kind of SPST switch we use? Does it need to be 120v or less?

  42. Veronica Cable says:

    Is it possible to get the shopping lists for a few more units to come? I find it takes me a while to get ALL of the needed items together for my kids, so the end result is we are usually behind.