Field Trip Materials and Other Activites

Teachers! Familiarize your students with our exhibit themed science concepts prior to or after your visit! Click bellow for a quick download of fun, educational pre & post visit activity ideas.

Current Season Exhibit Activities


An Educators Guide to the LASC Planetarium

Want to learn more about the night sky? The Living Arts & Science Center has put together an educators guide to our planetarium for teachers, parents, and anyone interested in the night sky and outer space. Download it now and get started on your discovery.

Community Art Projects:

Sugar Skull Masks for Day of the Dead

Here you will find the easy step by step process for making “Sugar Skull” masks for Day of the Dead. This project is very simple, and will be a great way to integrate history, culture, and art into your classroom through the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and to have your students’ “Sugar Skull” masks displayed during the Living Arts and Science Center’s Day of the Dead Festival on Tuesday, November 1st, 2016.
El Festival Del Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead Festival) at the Living Arts and Science Center is a joyful celebration that the entire family can participate in and enjoy. It is a holiday that is full of color, art, activities, and traditional Mexican music, dance, and food. There will be several hands‐on arts and crafts activities, such as sand murals, papel picado (cut paper designs), paper flowers, sugar skulls, as well as all the altars present in the cemetery. Click Here for full details and instructions.

Science Discovery:
Coming Soon

Art Discovery:

Creative Camera Club

Shohei Katayama and Andrew Cozzens: Kinetic Ambitions

Past Exhibit Activities

Discovery Exhibit: The Nature of Color

The Nature of Color Pre & Post Visit Lesson Plans

Sounds of Science Exhibit
Pre & Post Visit Cross-Curricular Lesson Plans

Measuring Sound

Students will find connections between the physics of sound, biology, & math as they explore the scientific research practices of animal sound audiographing and record / graph their own sound recordings.

• Science: 1-PS4-1, 4-PS3-2 (sound / vibration)
• Science: LS3.A / B (inheritance / variation of traits)
• Science: LS2.D (social interaction / group behavior)
• Science: LS4.C / LS4.B (adaptation / natural selection)
• Math: MD (measurement / data)

• Digital Sound Level Meter ($20-$40)
• Graphing materials
• Internet access

• Explore a variety of arctic animal sounds that have been recorded by scientists for study at

Background Info:
In the inhospitable arctic marine environment sound recordings can be one of the only ways to study wildlife and their habitat. In one week you can hear whales, seals, and passing boats, as well as many unidentified noises that remain a mystery.
Hydrophones are set up and submerged to a desired depth to collect sounds, sometimes for months at a time. The recordings are the equivalent of setting up a microphone in the middle of a neighborhood or a forest. There are many overlapping sounds and the amount of activity changes over time.
After some time the hydrophones are retrieved and the recordings are analyzed. When the sounds are played back they can sound quite alien. At times they may be silent only to be followed by a cacophony of overlapping vocalizations from multiple species. And while these recordings are in our hearing range, there are many marine animals that can produce and hear sounds well beyond that range.
• After looking at the work of other data collectors, get ready to perform your own scientific investigation of sounds in your surroundings. Use a sound level meter to document a variety of sounds in your school or outside (a field trip would be a great time to do some sound recording – esp in a natural area or zoo!). Have students record data as they go. These meters can be purchased inexpensively online and can be used for years to come.

• When back in the classroom, have students share and graph their sound findings and compare levels.

• Data
• Vocalization
• Hydrophones
• Species

• Writing Prompt: After performing sound recordings and graphing your findings, create a second graph of another style to represent your data (ex: if your first graph was a bar graph, now create a pie graph to compare sound data).

Who Uses Sound?

Students will find connections between the physics of sound and literacy (research, reading, writing) as they explore various professional fields that use sound such as medicine, community safety, engineering, music, & others.
• Science: 1-PS4-1, 4-PS3-2 (sound / vibration)
• Reading: RI1, RI2, RI7
• Language: L3,
• Writing: W4, W5

• Internet
• Library
• Video equipment (optional)
• Art materials (optional)

• To explore the many career paths that involve using and/or creating sound, students will research, read, interview, and write about a variety of jobs that depend on sound. Students can work in groups or individually to explore one or more of the following professions that incorporate sound. Other professions can of course be added to this list of choices. If possible, let students interview a couple of real professionals (either verbally or on camera) or invite a few guest speakers in to share their sound experience at work. Students can create art portraits of these workers, write biographies about them, share their interviews in a report or dramatic fashion, and much more.
o Echocardiogram Technician
o Weather Center Meteorologist or Advisor
o Emergency Manager
o Ultrasound Technician
o Naturalist
o Hunter
o Engineer
o Musician
o Cinematographer
• Profession
• Names of each profession
• Drama: Students can share their research and findings with the class by dressing up like the professional they interviewed or read about and presenting a short drama based on their professional’s sound related work.

Sound Gourds

Students will find connections between the physics of sound, art, and culture as they create instruments from natural materials.

• Arts & Humanities: AH 2.25, AH 2.26 (culture)
• Science: 1-PS4-1, 4-PS3-2 (sound / vibration)
• Social Studies: 2.16 (culture, geography, history)
• dried gourds, rope, beads, shells, world map

• Sound is energy and is a result of vibration. Instruments make vibrations of various kinds. Let’s look specifically at a handmade gourd rattle and the history and culture behind it. Use a map to highlight the geographical location of these instruments.

Background Info:
The shekere is a handmade rattle. It is made from a hollow gourd (or calabash), covered on the outside with a net of seeds, beads, shells, or other available material. Although its origins are West African, today it is found in the Americas and Caribbean too.

Gourds are functional fruits with a wide variety of uses and traditions in cultures around the world. It commonly grows on a vine, but there are also varieties that grow on bushes and trees. In so-called “third world” countries gourds have been used as a container for water, and still is an essential utensil in many parts of the world. In rural parts of the U.S., they are often used as birdhouses. Throughout Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean and the Americas, gourds are used as resonators for musical instruments.

“Shekere” is a general name to describe the beaded gourd rattle. It comes in many shapes and sizes, is played in a variety of styles, and has many different names. In Africa it is found primarily, but not exclusively, in the countries of Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Benin, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire. Different language groups in each country often have their own names, styles, techniques, and traditions associated with the shekere.

In Nigeria, the very large beaded calabash is called an “agbe”, and traditionally is owned and played only by professional musicians (Olatunji, Music in African Life). It is a personal instrument and never loaned of shared, even with family members. However, a son who is a professional musician may inherit his father’s agbe. Shekeres among the Yeruba of Nigeria are often connected with religion, given great respect, and play a very important role in certain traditional musical forms.

Throughout West Africa smaller gourds are covered with a woven net which is tied off at the bottom, leaving a tail of loose strings. In Ghana and Togo among the Ewe language group it is known as the “axatse” and is often used to accompany a drum or bell orchestra on important occasions. In Sierra Leone you will find a similar type of shekere with a very loose net a long tail, often called a “shake-shake” or “shaburay”.

When African slaves were taken to the “New World,” they carried with them many of these rich musical traditions, which took root in varying degrees in different parts of the Americas and the Caribbean. In Cuba, Youruba religious traditions using drums and shekeres are found almost completely intact – with similar rhythmic patterns, names of instruments and accompanying chants. Brazilians sometimes use a beaded (with seeds) coconut called “afuxe” similar in name and style to the Ghanian “axatse”. In the United States the shekere and other African related instruments continue to grow in popularity and are rapidly becoming part of our contemporary musical expression.

Now we will create our own & play it!
1. Teacher: Pre-cut off narrow end of the gourds, leaving enough of the end to grasp comfortably. (A)

2. Students can scoop out seeds and extra membrane in the gourd.
3. Dry thoroughly in the hot sun or in the oven at a low, even temperature.
4. Cut a piece of string about 4″ long and tie it in a circle (B). Lay on a flat surface.
5. Cut 12 pieces of string (more for a larger gourd), each about twice the height of the gourd, or at least long enough to tie knots on each side of each bead and to knot at base of gourd. Tie these strings at equal intervals around the circle of string (C).

6. Dip free end of each string in melted candle wax, to make threading beads easier. When burning a candle, enough wax forms around the candle wick to dip strings. Let wax on string harden. Make a knot in string, slip on a bead and knot again. This will hold the bead in place. Repeat this procedure at equal intervals until you have four or five beads on each string (D). The size of the gourd determines how many beads to use.

7. Tape circle with beads onto the rounded top of gourd; use masking tape or cellophane tape (E).

8. Loosely tie a circle of string around the handle base (F). This will hold the beaded strings in place.

9. Attach the beaded string with knots to the string circle, adjusting them so that the strings are loose and will rattle against the side of the gourd.

10. Enjoy playing your instrument! Shake or toss and catch in rhythm!
Sound Gourd Diagram

• Energy
• Sound Waves
• Vibration
• Shekere
• Calabash

• Writing Prompt: As you learned about the history and geography of gourd rattles and created your own, why do you think the gourd was the chosen material for these instruments?

Sounds of the Rainforest

Objective: Students will find connections between the physics of sound, music, habitat, adaptations, and conservation by learning about the rainforest and creating a rain stick instrument.

• Arts & Humanities: AH 2.25, AH 2.26 (culture)
• Science: 1-PS4-1, 4-PS3-2 (sound / vibration)
• Social Studies: 2.16 (culture, geography, history)

• Cardboard tube
• Marker
• 60 1-inch nails, tape
• masking or packing tape)
• paper
• rice and/or small beans (uncooked)

• The rainforest is a unique and treasured habitat on planet Earth. 30% of the rainforests on Earth are found in Brazil. Explore this background info and look at pictures of rainforest plants and animals before creating a rainforest in your classroom. Rain sticks are a great way to learn about sound and vibration as well as getting students excited about thinking about this amazing habitat and the animals that reside there. This lesson could also delve into explorations of current scientific research being conducted in these areas and much more.

Background Info:
In Brazil, which houses 30 percent of the remaining tropical rain forest on Earth, more than 50,000 square miles of rain forest were lost to deforestation between 2000 and 2005. Biologists worry about the long-term consequences. Drought may be one. Some rain forests, including the Amazon, began experiencing drought in the 1990s, possibly due to deforestation and global warming.

Efforts to discourage deforestation, mainly through sustainable-logging initiatives, are underway on a very limited basis but have had a negligible impact so far.

The rain forest is nearly self-watering. Plants release water into the atmosphere through a process called transpiration. In the tropics, each canopy tree can release about 200 gallons (760 liters) of water each year. The moisture helps create the thick cloud cover that hangs over most rain forests. Even when not raining, these clouds keep the rain forest humid and warm.

Plants in the rain forest grow very close together and contend with the constant threat of insect predators. They have adapted by making chemicals that researchers have found useful as medicines. Bioprospecting, or going into the rain forest in search of plants that can be used in foods, cosmetics, and medicines, has become big business during the past decade, and the amount that native communities are compensated for this varies from almost nothing to a share in later profits.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that 70 percent of the anti-cancer plants identified so far are rain forest plants. A new drug under development by a private pharmaceutical company, possibly for treating HIV, is Calanolide A, which is derived from a tree discovered on Borneo, according to NCI.

Many trees and plants, like orchids, have been removed from the rain forest and cultivated. Brazil nut trees are one valuable tree that refuses to grow anywhere but in undisturbed sections of the Amazon rain forest. There, it is pollinated by bees that also visit orchids, and its seeds are spread by the agouti, a small tree mammal.

The rain stick is a musical instrument from South America. Traditionally, rain sticks are made from the wood skeleton of a cactus. First, the thorns are pulled off and pushed back through the soft flesh of the cactus. Then the cactus is left in the sun to dry–with the thorns on the inside. Later, the hollow cactus is filled with small pebbles, and the ends are sealed with pieces of wood.

To make your own, follow these steps:
1. Paper tubes have a spiral seam. Use a marker to draw dots about half an inch apart, all the way down the spiral seam of the tube.
2. Poke a nail all the way in at each dot. (Make sure the nails don’t poke through the other side of the tube.) You’ll need about 30 nails for each paper towel tube.
3. Wrap tape around the tube to hold the nails in place.
4. Cut two circles of paper just a little bigger than the ends of the tube. Tape one of the circles over one end of the tube. Cover the circle with tape so the whole end of the tube is sealed shut.
5. Put a handful of rice or beans into the open end of the tube. Cover the open end with your hand, and turn the tube over. Add more rice or beans until you like the sound. (Beans will make a harder sound, and rice will make a softer sound.)
6. Put the second circle of paper over the open end of the tube, and seal that end shut with tape.
7. Decorate simply or elaborately with paint, markers, oil pastels, colored papers, anything!
8. Your rain stick is complete. Turn it over and listen to the rain!

• Rainforest
• Deforestation
• Global warming

• Music / Performance: After learning about the rainforest and creating rain sticks, have students create a song, rap, or chant about the rainforest that incorporates their hand-made instruments and fun facts about this special habitat.

Fraction Tubes

Students will find connections between the physics of sound, instrument making, mythology, and math as they learn about the origin of the pan flute and create their own to play.

• Arts & Humanities: AH 2.25, AH 2.26 (culture)
• Science: 1-PS4-1, 4-PS3-2 (sound / vibration)
• Social Studies: 2.16 (culture, geography, history)
• Math: 3.NF (fractions)
• Math: 3.MD (measurement / data)

• 5 feet PVC sprinkler pipe (class 200 – ¾ inch)
• Cardboard (from cereal box)
• Duct tape
• ruler

Background Info:
The pan flute or pan pipe is an ancient musical instrument based on the principle of the closed tube, consisting usually of five or more pipes of gradually increasing length (and, at times, girth). The pan flute has long been popular as a folk instrument, and is considered the first mouth organ, ancestor of both the pipe organ and the harmonica. The pan flute is named for its association with the Greek god Pan. The pipes of the pan flute are typically made from bamboo or giant cane; other materials used include wood, plastic, metal and ivory.
Greek legend of Pan: One of the famous myths of Pan involves the origin of his pan flute, fashioned from lengths of hollow reed. Syrinx was a lovely water-nymph of Arcadia, daughter of Landon, the river-god. As she was returning from the hunt one day, Pan met her. To escape from his importunities, the fair nymph ran away and didn’t stop to hear his compliments. He pursued from Mount Lycaeum until she came to her sisters who immediately changed her into a reed. When the air blew through the reeds, it produced a plaintive melody. The god, still infatuated, took some of the reeds, because he could not identify which reed she became, and cut seven pieces (or according to some versions, nine), joined them side by side in gradually decreasing lengths, and formed the musical instrument bearing the name of his beloved Syrinx. Henceforth Pan was seldom seen without it.

Begin by getting approximately 5 feet of class 200 – 3/4 inch PVC sprinkler pipe.

Fractions Inches Centimeters
A 1 14 13/16 37.7 1
B 8/9 13 3/16 33.5 2
C# 4/5 11 7/8 30.2 3
E 2/3 9 7/8 25.1 5
F# 3/5 8 7/8 22.6 6

1) Cut the tubing into the five sections listed above.
2) Place a 1″ X 1″ chipboard square (from a cereal box) over one end of each tube.
3) Cover each chipboard square with a 2″ X 2″ square piece of duct tape.
4) Wrap about 15 inches of duct tape around the set as shown on the right. Tap on the tops of the tubes with your fingers or lightly strike with a pencil.
Flute instructional diagram

• Fraction
• Pan
• Myth
• Writing Prompt: After creating your pan flute, explain why each tube produced a different sound.

Art Discovery:

Arturo Sandoval: Artist, Educator, Mentor

Adan Utrera: Calaberas y Alebrijes Day of the Dead 2016

Capturing Light: the Photography of Nicole White and Gary Mesa-Gaido

Connections: the Art of Felicia Szorad and Travis Townsend

Signs and Symbols featuring Isaac Powell and Jonathan McFadden

Undivided Attention: Three Distinct Voices in Contemporary Fiber

Culture and Identity: New Expressions by Latino Artists in the 21st Century

Guatemalan kites For Day of the Dead

Teachers, here you will find easy step by step instructions for making two different styles of Guatemalan kites for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with your students. This Community Schools Art Project is based on the 110 year old tradition in Guatemala of creating and flying giant colorful kites over the village cemetery in Santiago Sacatepéquez during Day of the Dead. Below you will find additional information about the fascinating history of this unique Day of the Dead celebration practice that you can incorporate into your classroom and discuss with your students. Through this activity you can explore history, math, science, culture, geography, and art.
Guatemalan kites For Day of the Dead Instructions

Post Process: A Closer Look at the Art of Cricket Press

Diverse Traditions: Imagery and Symbols in Latin America

Pattern, Color, and Form


Wild Things

Youth Arts Council Exhibit 2015