Printable Unit Resources :

Download Unit OverviewMaterial List
There are several key scientific laws and principles, many of which kids need to know before they hit college. These key concepts are what the e-Science program is built around. We’re going to overview these top scientific principles and show you how to dive into each one on a deeper level. You might be surprised at the simple materials we use, or even how basic the experiment setups are. Real science doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. In fact, you can demonstrate most of these "spades of science" for dirt cheap, and I will show you how step-by-step. Are you ready?

One of the best things you can do with this unit is to take notes in a journal as you go. Snap photos of yourself doing the actual experiment and paste them in alongside your drawing of your experimental setup. This is the same way scientists document their own findings, and it’s a lot of fun to look back at the splattered pages later on and see how far you’ve come. I always jot down my questions that didn’t get answered with the experiment across the top of the page so I can research it more later. Are you ready to get started?

Scientific Concepts:

    • Build a simple compass and use it to detect magnetic effects, including Earth’s magnetic field.
    • Understand how electric currents produce magnetic fields
    • Know how to build and use an electromagnet
    • Construct electric motors, electric generators, and simple devices, such as doorbells and earphones.
    • Understand that magnets have two poles (north and south) and that like poles repel each other while unlike poles attract each other.
    • Differentiate observation from inference (interpretation) and know scientists’ explanations come partly from what they observe and partly from how they interpret their observations.
    • Formulate and justify predictions based on cause-and-effect relationships.
    • Conduct multiple trials to test a prediction and draw conclusions about the relationships between predictions and results.
    • Construct and interpret graphs from measurements.
    • Follow a set of written instructions for a scientific investigation.


What are the main principles of science?

The experiments above cover the most appropriate laws of science for K-12 students. I know there's quite a few experiments listed, but that's because some of these principles overlap, and I really want to make sure you understand them from different angle.

I don't want you to get hooked into thinking that these are all you need to learn in science... because science isn't a laundry list of things to get done, it is process of how to think and ask questions and find your own answers. These core concepts came out as a result of doing science.

The experiments listed above are ones that use inexpensive, everyday materials and only require a couple of minutes to do. They're not that complicated. However, the understanding behind them is big. HUGE. And it's probably going to take the rest of the program for you to really roll around with them, play with them, and understand them on a much deeper level so it's part of the way you think about the world. And that's what the rest of the program is all about.

I think about them more as scientific principles or "big ideas", because they represent some of our greatest scientific achievements to date. It's really not as important what they are called (there's still a lot of debate about the finer points). Its much more important that you understand them and know how you use them.

Here's the full list, just in case you are curious (which can be chunked into different sections). Most scientists don't know all of these by heart. In fact, mostly they pick an area they specialize in and learn all they can about that area, so it's not important to just memorize this list... you actually have to know how to use the ones you need. It's like picking the right tool out of the toolbox for the job. It's not enough to know what each tool is called. You have to understand what i's for and how you can use it for it to be useful in life. Ok so here's the list of the laws (and principles derived from them) in science:

  • Conservation Laws (Conservation of Mass, Conservation of Energy, Momentum and Angular Momentum, Conservation of Charge, Symmetry)
  • Laws of Motion (Principle of Least Action, Euler-Lagrange Equations, and Newton's Laws of Motion, Euler's Laws of Motions, Euler's Equations, Archimedes principle, Bernoulli's principle, Poiseuille's Law, Stoke's Law, Ryan-Stockes Equastions, Huzaifa's Law)
  • Laws of Gravitation and relativity (Special Relativity, General relativity, Gravitomagnetism (GEM equations), Classical Laws (Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation, Gauss' Law for Gravity, Kepler's Laws))
  • Thermodynamics Laws (Zeroth, First, Second, Third Thermodynamic Laws, Onsager reciprocal relations (Fourth Law of Thermodynamics, Newton's Law of Cooling, Fourier's Law, Ideal Gas Law (Boyle's Law, Charles's Lawm Gay-Lussac's Law, Avagadro's Law, Dalton's Law, Boltzmann Equation, Carnot's Theorem, Kopp's Law)
  • Electromagnetism Laws (Maxwell's equations (Gauss's Law for Electricity, Gauss's Law for Magnetism, Faraday's Law, and Ampere's Circuital Law), Lorentz Force Law, Fermat's Principle)
  • Laws of Photonics (Law of Reflection, Law of Refraction, Snell's Law, Brewster's Angle, Malus's Law, Beer-Lambert Law)
  • Laws of Quantum Mechanics (Schrödinger equation, Wave-Particle Duality, Planck-Einstein Law, De Broglie wavelength, Heisenberg uncertainty princple, Pauli exclusion principle)
  • Radiation Laws (Stefan-Boltzmann law, Planck's law of black body radiation, Wien's displacement law, Radioactive decay law)
  • Geophysical Laws (Archie's law, Buys-Ballot's law, Birch's law, Byerlee's law)
  • Laws of Chemistry

Select a Lesson

What you’re going to learn…
Click here for a printable version of this page. There are 18 scientific principles, most of which kids need to know before they hit college. With the content in this unit, you’ll be able to quickly figure out what they know and where the gaps are, so you can focus on the areas you need …
Newton’s First Law of Motion
First Law of Motion: Objects in motion tend to stay in motion unless acted upon by an external force. Force is a push or a pull, like pulling a wagon or pushing a car. Gravity is a force that attracts things to one another. Gravity accelerates all things equally. Which means all things speed up …
Newton’s Second Law of Motion
Second Law of Motion: Momentum is conserved. Momentum can be defined as mass in motion. Something must be moving to have momentum. Momentum is how hard it is to get something to stop or to change directions. A moving train has a whole lot of momentum. A moving ping pong ball does not. You can …
Newton’s Third Law of Motion
Third Law of Motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Force is a push or a pull, like pulling a wagon or pushing a car. Gravity is a force that attracts things to one another. Weight is a measure of how much gravity is pulling on an object. Gravity accelerates all …
Higher pressure always pushes!
The key concept behind why airplanes fly, how rockets blast skyward, and how your sneeze makes it out your nose is that higher pressure always pushes. Materials: sheet of paper
Bernoulli’s Principle
Bernoulli’s Principle: an increased speed of moving fluid (or air) results in a lower air pressure. Materials: A funnel and a ping pong ball
Maxwell’s First Equation
Maxwell’s First Equation: Like charges repel; opposites attract. The proton has a positive charge, the neutron has no charge (neutron, neutral get it?) and the electron has a negative charge. These charges repel and attract one another kind of like magnets repel or attract. Like charges repel (push away) one another and unlike charges attract …
Maxwell’s Second Equation
Maxwell’s Second Equation: All magnets have two poles. Magnets are called dipolar which means they have two poles. The two poles of a magnet are called north and south poles. The magnetic field comes from a north pole and goes to a south pole. Opposite poles will attract one another. Like poles will repel one …
Maxwell’s Third Equation
Maxwell’s Third Equation: Invisible magnetic fields exert forces on magnets AND invisible electrical fields exert forces on objects. A field is an area around a electrical, magnetic or gravitational source that will create a force on another electrical, magnetic or gravitational source that comes within the reach of the field. In fields, the closer something …
Maxwell’s Fourth Equation
Maxwell’s Fourth Equation: Moving electrical charges (fields) generate magnetic fields AND changing magnetic fields generate electrical fields (electricity). We’re going to do a couple of experiments to illustrate both of these concepts. Magnetic fields are created by electrons moving in the same direction. A magnetic field must come from a north pole of a magnet …
Wave-Particle Duality of Light
Light acts like both a particle and a wave, but never both at the same time. But you need both of these concepts in order to fully describe how light works. Energy can take one of two forms: matter and light (called electromagnetic radiation). Light is energy in the form of either a particle (like …
Mass is Conserved
A fundamental concept in science is that mass is always conserved. Mass is a measure of how much matter (how many atoms) make up an object. Mass cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form. Materials: paper, lighter or matches with adult help
First Law of Thermodynamics
First Law of Thermodynamics: Energy is conserved. Energy is the ability to do work. Work is moving something against a force over a distance. Force is a push or a pull, like pulling a wagon or pushing a car. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can be transformed. Materials: ball, string
Second Law of Thermodynamics
Second Law of Thermodynamics: Heat flows from hot to cold. Heat is the movement of thermal energy from one object to another. Heat can only flow from an object of a higher temperature to an object of a lower temperature. Heat can be transferred from one object to another through conduction, convection and radiation. Temperature …
Ideal Gas Law
Pure substances all behave about the same when they are gases. The Ideal Gas Law relates temperature, pressure, and volume of these gases in one simple statement: PV = nRT where P = pressure, V = volume, T = temperature, n = number of moles, and R is a constant. When temperature increases, pressure and …
States of Matter
There are three primary states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. Solids are the lowest energy form of matter on Earth. Solids are generally tightly packed molecules that are held together in such a way that they can not change their position. The atoms in a solid can wiggle and jiggle (vibrate) but they can …
Significant Digits
If you’re struggling to untangle the confusion about significant digits, then this is the video you’ll want to watch. Get a calculator, sheet of paper, and a pencil and get ready to become a super-genius on sig figs!
Universal Troubleshooting Process (UTP): Going Beyond the Scientific Method
Have you ever torn apart something and then couldn’t figure out how to get it back together again so that it worked? Worse, you knew that if you had only taken a few moments to think about the problem or jot something down, you know it would have taken you far less time to figure …
eScience Overview Exercises
Let’s see how much you’ve picked up with these experiments and the reading – answer as best as you can. (No peeking at the answers until you’re done!) Just relax and see what jumps to mind when you read the question. You can also print these out and jot down your answers in your science …
Answers to eScience Overview Exercises
Let’s see how you did! If you didn’t get a few of these, don’t let it stress you out – it just means you need to play with more experiments in this area. We’re all works in progress, and we have our entire lifetime to puzzle together the mysteries of the universe! Simply click here …