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Molecular Motion & Cells

Use experiments to teach science

How can diffusion and osmosis be explained in terms of molecular movement? How does water move in and out of cells? How are plant and animal cells similar and different? How are cells structured and what are cell organelles? Lab activities dig into these questions and are great for classrooms or homeschool.

Are Your Students Engaged?

Are you looking for a way to engage kids in their science learning? Are you eager to see your students become scientists in your classroom?

That's the goal of this course...

Activity Highlights

Show molecules in motion using food color and water of different temperatures. How does the solution mix?


Models are helpful when trying to envision molecular movement. Making a mental picture helps kids understand what's happening at the atomic level when substances melt and evaporate.

We can talk about how water moves in and out of cells during osmosis, but there's nothing like an experiment to show this definitively.


Try using de-shelled eggs to experiment with membranes and see how water moves in and out to expand and collapse cells.

Onion skin is a great way to study cells under the microscope. In this activity we use common materials and get some pretty decent results.


What's Included in the Course/Unit?

    • Written instructions include:
    › Simple directions (written to students)
    › Questions and worksheets
    › Explanations for the teacher
    › Answer keys to help with assessing student work.
    › List of materials and setup hints.

    › Video instructions including:
    • A demonstration of the activity
    • Hints and strategies for preparing each lesson

    › Course platform with a forum for asking questions if you need further clarification or support.
Enroll in Course for $37

Concepts and Topics Addressed in this Unit:

    ✦ Plant cells have walls making them somewhat geometric in shape
    ✦ You can easily see cell walls and cell nuclei under a microscope.
    ✦ Most cells are colorless but can be dyed to show structures.
    ✦ Nutrients diffuse through cell membranes.
    ✦ Cell size is limited by how close a cell center is to its membrane (where the nutrients enter).
    ✦ Cells have a membranes, cytoplasm, mitochondria, and a nucleus.
    ✦ Typical cell organelles include: nucleus, mitochondria, vacuole, ribosomes, Golgi complex, lysosomes, and endoplasmic reticulum
    ✦ Cells produce carbon dioxide as they respire
    ✦ Carbon dioxide is acidic when dissolved in water
    ✦ Phagocytosis is one method cells use to fight disease
    ✦ White blood cells are an important factor in fighting diseases
    ✦ How did people preserve excess milk before refrigeration?
    ✦ Not all bacteria are harmful--many are beneficial.
    ✦ Microbes are classified into Bacteria, Fungi, Algae, and Protozoa
    ✦ Viruses are not classified with living organisms
    ✦ Electron micrographs are often colorized to improve clarity.
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​Invite students to become scientists in your classroom

As fellow scientists they need to learn to investigate, discover, measure, observe, examine...

And these skills take time and repetition.


But repeating stuff can be boring…

That’s where labs come in! 

Many of the labs are teaching the same fundamentals but use different materials to keep things interesting.


What if you don’t have time to research the science behind a concept?

I’ve got you covered... Sections in the written instructions and the videos should answer your questions. Here you’ll also find hints and helps for running an activity. Additionally, the Teacher Notes sections will give you plenty of background information. You won’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.

What if your kids are at different levels?

Ah, differentiation! In my classroom everyone did the Core Labs—marked by Δ. These are the labs we talk about in our discussions and they provide the content for what we test. Extension Labs go deeper or broader—some are tangents, and some repeat the core concepts for kids who need that.

What if you don’t have time to introduce a lab?

No worries! if students work at at their own pace they can be independent and work through the instructions.The lab instructions are written directly to the students so you can just print and go.

When does the course start?

This course is a collection of lessons to use in your classroom. You can start as soon as you sign up!

Can I access these resources from my phone or tablet?

Sure! It works well on any device.​

Do I have to go in order?

Nope! You can use the lessons in any order—I always arrange them in a way I think makes sense, however since students in my classes worked at their own pace, they also tended to do the lessons in their preferred order. Within each section, the lessons progress from concrete to more abstract and from fundamental concepts to more tangential ones.

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for teachers to give them hands-on resources to teach middle school science.

Will this course work for homeschoolers?

I think so, though my background is classroom teaching. It’s not designed like a plug and play course. It’s a collection of activities that will help you teach the content.

What if I am unhappy with the course?

We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

How long do I have access to the course?

After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course - across any and all devices you own.

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Meet the author...

Hi, I'm Carolyn Balch, the author of Engaging Science Labs. I started my career as a high school physics teacher. Then I entered the field of museum education at the National Air and Space Museum (part of the Smithsonian Institution) where I wrote science education materials and ran teacher workshops. When my children were born, I left the workforce and when they were little, our family got involved with a school start up. My children grew and with them, the school; 


I volunteered on a weekly basis, running science experiments for my son's class and joined the faculty as the middle school science teacher when the seventh grade was added. Now I write full-time, working to publish the curriculum I developed while I was teaching. Each online course is a unit of study from a hands-on, laboratory-experience perspective.

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