Grade 8





Newton’s First Law: Inertia
Video and graded quiz
For an object to change direction or motion a force must act upon it.

Force & Motion
Video and graded quiz
Anytime there is a change in motion there must be a force.


Newton’s Third Law of Motion
NASA video: Explaing the concept of action and reaction.

Newton’s Third Law: Action & Reaction
Video and grade quiz
See what happens when one object applies force to another.


Forces and Motion Basics: Friction
Interactive simulation
Analyze and interpret data to describe and predict the effects of friction on the speed and direction of an object.

Gravity Force Lab
Interactive simulation
Explore the gravitational force that two objects exert on each other by adjusting properties of the objects.

Tennis Ball Cannon
Interactive simulation
Explore the effects of air drag on a tennis ball launched up at an angle. Uses realistic default values for a tennis ball to simulate the distance traveled at various speeds and launch angles (can also change the drag coefficient).

Newton’s First Law
Interactive video vignette
Make predictions and collect data regarding how objects move across different surfaces to analyze the effects of friction on the speed of an object.


Graph Matching: Introduction Activity
Interactive simulation
Move the blue oval right and left to make the character’s motion match the position versus time graph.

Rolling Ball Incline
Video, background reading, and discussion questions
This video adapted from the Encyclopedia of Physics Demonstrations explores how constant acceleration affects an object's motion. As a ball rolls down an incline, lights flash at one-second intervals, marking the position of the ball. Observe how the ball's position, velocity, and acceleration change as it rolls down the incline. Investigate its motion by plotting graphs of position versus time, average velocity versus time, and acceleration versus time.

Terminal Velocity: Coffee Filter
Lesson Plan
During this activity your students will use coffee filters to investigate air resistance, friction and terminal velocity. Your students will design and conduct an experiment in which they will drop coffee filters to see how an increase in weight affects the rate at which the filters drop.


The Moving Man
Interactive simulation
Use mathematical and computational thinking and create position, velocity, and acceleration graph of motion.




Mechanical Waves
Interactive lesson, additional information, discussion questions, and teaching tips
Learn about mechanical waves, which transfers energy through liquids, gases and solids.

Light waves
Interactive lesson, discussion questions, and teaching tips
Focus is on light waves and the ways light interacts with matter.


Introduction to Waves
Video, discussion questions, and further information
Waves are all around us, from the light we see to the sound we hear, to the earthquakes that shake the ground. Find out about the nature, shapes, and impacts of waves with this animation.

Electromagnetic Waves
Video and discussion questions
Watch this animation for an introduction to electromagnetic waves and the ways in which they carry energy.

Wave on a String
Interactive simulation
Develop and use models to exemplify the basic properties of waves (including frequency, amplitude, wavelength, and speed).

Sound Waves
Interactive lesson, discussion questions, teaching tips, and vocabulary
Sound waves move vibrations from one place to another through liquids, gases and solids.

NC Science Now: Rock and Roll Energy
Interactive, discussion questions, and additional information
Guitar strum turns into a booming electric guitar sound through electromagnetic induction.

Mechanical Waves: Interactive Lesson
Interactive lesson, discussion questions, teaching tips
Learn about mechanical waves which transfers energy through liquids, gases, and solids.

Video and quiz
Sound is energy that travels as a result of vibration and can be characterized by pitch, frequency and volume.

Pitch & Frequency
Find out about the ways in which pitch and frequency affect sound waves with this animation.

Measuring Waves
Video, discussion questions, and further information
Mechanical waves are measured in specific ways. Find out about wavelength, amplitude, and frequency with this animation.

Longitudinal Waves
Video, further information, and discussion questions
Longitudinal waves carry energy through air, water and solids by compressing and expanding the medium in the same direction it transfers the energy.

How Do You Launch a Rocket Without Using Fuel?
Video, student handouts, teacher material, with answer key
Ready for liftoff? Can you make a rocket and figure out how to launch it without any fuel? See what our Science-U campers created and try it yourself with step-by-step instructions and guided scientific questions available in the downloadable student handout.

Glass Breaking with Sound
Video, background reading, and discussion questions
Learn about resonance in this video adapted from the Encyclopedia of Physics Demonstrations. A demonstrator taps a glass beaker to find its natural frequency of vibration and then sets an oscilloscope and amplifier to produce a loud sound at that same frequency. The resonance created by exposing the beaker to the sound wave forces the glass to vibrate and distorts the shape of the beaker. The amplitude of the sound wave from the speaker is increased until the oscillation of the beaker exceeds the elastic limit of the glass and the beaker breaks.

Sound Waves Underwater: The Loch Ness Monster
Video, background reading, and discussion questions
This NOVA video shows sonar's strengths and limitations as a team of enthusiasts and scientists attempt to find a mythical monster. Because sound waves travel further than light waves through liquids, measuring devices use sound waves to measure depth and locate underwater objects.


Bending Light
Interactive simulation
Model the behavior of waves as they interact with various materials.

Mechanical Waves: Interactive Lesson
Interactive lesson, discussion questions, teaching tips
Learn about mechanical waves which transfers energy through liquids, gases, and solids.



Color Vision
Interactive simulation
Model how humans see color as a result of the transmission, absorption, and reflection of light waves by various materials.





Scale of the Universe
This interactive tool allows student to explore the relative sizes of objects in the universe, ranging from the observable universe itself down to the Plank Length. An impressive collection of galaxies, stars, planets, and more can be found in this simulation. By clicking on an object, students can read an informal blurb describing the object and see its size reported in meters as well as the units typically used at that scale range.


The Big Bang, Cosmology Part 1
Thanks to observations of galaxy redshifts, we can tell that the universe is EXPANDING! Knowing that the universe is expanding and how quickly its expanding also allows us to run the clock backwards 14 billion years to the way the universe began—with a bang.

A Brief History of the Universe
Thanks to the wonders of physics, astronomers can map a timeline of the universe's history. Today, Phil's going to give you an overview of those first few minutes (yes, MINUTES) of the universe's life. It started with a Big Bang, when the universe was incredibly dense and hot.

Why the Big Bang Definitely Happened
Video and teaching tips
We pretty much know for sure that the universe was once extremely small, and extremely hot. And we know that something set it in motion, expanding rapidly and continuing to do-so today. But the actual moment of ‘the Big Bang’ is still a bit of a grey area within physics.

Deep Time
As we approach the end of Crash Course Astronomy, it's time now to acknowledge that our Universe's days are numbered.

WMAP: Baby Picture of the Universe
Image, background reading, and discussion questions
The cosmic microwave background -- a nearly uniform distribution of radiation that pervades the sky -- is a remnant from the Big Bang and the oldest light in the universe. The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), launched in 2001, provided an extremely detailed map of the cosmic microwave background that has contributed to our understanding of cosmology. In these images from NASA, see the detailed image from WMAP and a basic timeline of events since the Big Bang.

Gravity and the Expanding Universe
Video, background reading, and discussion questions
Recent research has found that the universe is not only expanding, but that the rate of expansion is accelerating. To explain this acceleration, scientists have come to believe that there may be a repulsive force caused by "dark energy," an idea first developed by Albert Einstein. In this video segment adapted from NOVA, learn about the history of our understanding of the expansion of the universe.

Discovering the Accelerating Universe
Video, further information, background reading, and discussion questions
Explore how scientists discovered that the universe is expanding at an increasing rate in this video from NOVA: Invisible Universe Revealed. Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess describe how their competing investigations into whether gravity would slow the expansion of the universe led to the same surprising finding: the universe was actually speeding up. Images from the Hubble Space Telescope allowed scientists to find and measure the distances to dozens of type 1a supernovae in distant galaxies. That data, combined with redshift data about the galaxies, revealed that the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.

Hubble & the Expanding Universe
Video, activity, discussion questions, further information, and teacher information
Learn how Edwin Hubble made some of the most important discoveries in modern astronomy in this video from NOVA: Invisible Universe Revealed. In 1923, Hubble observed a Cepheid in what was called the Andromeda "nebula." When he calculated the distance to it, he discovered that the "nebula" was actually a galaxy outside of the Milky Way. At the time, the Milky Way was considered the entire universe, and so the discovery dramatically changed our view of the universe. Hubble went on to measure the relative speed of galaxies, using redshift, and found that the universe was expanding. His observations formed the basis of the Big Bang theory.


Tour the Solar System
The size and distance of the planets, moons, and stars are adjustable.

Solar System Scope
Interactive model of the solar system, night sky, and outer space in real time including accurate positions of objects, labels and facts.


NASA Video Clip
See how gravity affects the motion of objects in the solar system and tides on Earth.

Gravity and Orbits
Interactive simulation
Move the sun, earth, moon and space station to see how the sun affects their gravitational forces and orbital paths. Visualize the sizes and distances between different heavenly bodies and turn off gravity to see what would happen without it!


Why Do We Have Seasons?
Interactive and lesson plan
Explore what causes seasons on Earth in this interactive adapted from NASA materials that features four cities at different latitudes. Use this resource to view how Earth’s axial tilt causes seasons from different perspectives and to develop and use models of sunlight received at Earth’s surface.

Slide show and quiz
The seasons are caused by the Earth’s revolution and tilt.

Why Summer Days Have More Daylight
Interactive, video, images, data graphs, informational text, and lesson plan
Use and develop models of the Earth–Sun systems to demonstrate understanding of how the Sun illuminates the hemispheres differently during summer and winter. Visual supports (video, images), data graphs, and informational text provide students with multiple entry points to investigating the phenomenon of the changing duration of daylight. This interactive provides the context and sources of data students can use to gather evidence that supports an explanation of why summer days have more daylight than winter days.

Investigating Why Summer Days Have More Daylight
Videos, models, informational text, graphs and lesson plan
Students investigate why summer days have more daylight hours than winter days, using data, observational videos, models, and informational text. They relate quantitative and qualitative data to models of the Earth–Sun system to discern a reason for the difference in the amount of daylight on a summer day and on a winter day.


NASA Video
Uses models to explain how motions within the Sun-Earth-Moon system cause moon phases.

Moon Phases Simulation Viewed from Earth and Space
Relate observable Moon patterns to motions within the Earth–Sun–Moon system using this digital model. Linked Earth and space perspectives enable students to recognize cause-and-effect relationships. They can also visualize the spatial and time scales of phenomena such as the Moon’s apparent path in the sky and the Moon’s appearance in the day sky and night sky.

Lunar Phase Simulator
Interactive simulation
This simulation has animation and time controls; diagram options; identifies each moon phase and percent illuminated; and a horizon diagram.

Daylight Throughout a Year
Videos, data tables, graphs, and lesson plan
Students make observations and analyze data to investigate how the duration of daylight changes throughout a year. They consider their own experiences in addition to evidence gathered from videos, data tables, and a line graph to describe the pattern in the changing duration of daylight from January to December.

Investigating Daylight Throughout a Year
Interactive and lesson plan
Use observations and analyze data to investigate how the amount of daylight changes throughout a year. This lesson plan includes an interactive lesson in which students gather evidence to describe the pattern in the changing duration of daylight.


What Training Do I Need to Be an Astronaut?
Did you know that training for a spacewalk requires a 6.5-million-gallon swimming pool, a team of divers, and a mock-up of the International Space Station? Astronauts must train for a variety of different jobs they must do in low Earth orbit. Once on the station, astronauts run science experiments (sometimes on themselves), fix toilets, and run the robotic arm. Do you think you have what it takes to complete astronaut training? Find out on this STEM in 30.





Erosion, Deposition, Weathering
Includes definitions, causes, effects, and preventive techniques of erosion, deposition, and weathering.


Annenberg Learner Rock Cycle Interactive
Students learn about the types of rock, their characteristics, and their place in the rock cycle. Students take a quiz at the end of the module which will generate a page showing their graded quiz which can be printed or saved.


Structure of the Earth: Crust, Mantle and Core
Model of the interior of the earth.


Mountain Maker, Earth Shaker
Explore three kinds of tectonic plate boundaries (divergent, convergent, and transform).

Concord Consortium Tectonic Explorer
Interactive simulation
In this simulation, students create models to show how tectonic plate movement affects the distribution and types of landforms on the Earth’s crust. Students choose the number of plates, draw land masses, assign force vectors and densities, then play the simulation. Includes features for viewing cross-sections, showing volcanic and earthquake activity, and more.


Video, interactive, and lesson plan
Explore the causes of earthquakes and the impact on humans and geology. Limited and easily available materials for hands-on activity.

NOVA: Making North America
Video, Using this Resource, background reading, activity, discussion questions, and Eng-Sp transcript
How did the North American continent form and take the shape it is today? How did life evolve here? And how has Earth’s spectacular landscape shaped human lives and destinies? To answer these fundamental questions, NOVA’s 3-part Making North America series takes viewers on an epic road trip through deep time to witness the clash of nature’s creative and destructive forces that have shaped our land—tectonic collisions, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, grinding ice sheets, and massive asteroid impacts. In this collection, you'll find original short-form videos from Making North America’s three episodes, Origins, Life, and Human. These media resources help educators to investigate North America’s amazing geology in detail with their students—from the oldest rocks on the continent (3.5 billion years!) to the potential earthquake catastrophe that lies within the Cascadia subduction zone in the Pacific Northwest. For additional classroom activities, check out the Making North America Interactive Map and the associated Educator’s Guide.

Making North America | Uncovering Layers of the Grand Canyon
Video, Using this Resource, background reading, activity, discussion questions, and Eng-Sp transcript
Follow along with host Kirk Johnson as he explores the layers of rock that make up the Grand Canyon, in this video from NOVA: Making North America: Origins. Many geologists think that the Grand Canyon is the best place in the world. Its exposed rock layers allow them to see hundreds of millions of years back in time, revealing a story about what the surface was like as each rock layer formed. By analyzing the rock, mineral, and fossil contents of the layers, scientists know that what is today the North American continent was covered by desert sands, shallow seas, and more in its distant past.

Making North America | Granite vs. Basalt Formation
Video, Using this Resource, background reading, and activity
Examine the origins and characteristics of two types of rock—basalt and granite—that cover the ocean floor and much of the land surface of Earth, in this video from NOVA: Making North America: Origins. While early Earth’s undersea surface was made entirely of dark, heavy volcanic rock called basalt, over time, a lighter kind of rock formed. This rock, called granite, was buoyant. It floated up from the ocean floor and gathered in thick layers, creating landmasses that we call continents.

Making North America | Formation of the Ancestral Rockies
Video, Using this Resource, and background reading
Learn about the mountain range that preceded the Rocky Mountains and how remnants of that long-lost range are still visible today—as jagged slabs of red sandstone—in this video from NOVA: Making North America: Origins. Long before the Rockies formed, the Ancestral Rockies stood. Over millions of years, these ancient mountains eroded into the sand and gravel that eventually compressed into horizontal layers of sandstone. Later, underground forces drove a large piece of the ocean floor under the North American continent, shattering the sandstone layer and forcing pieces of it to jut out of the ground.


Concord Consortium Seismic Explorer
Explore the patterns of seismic activity and location of volcanoes relative to tectonic plates. Features for students to view plate boundaries and names, cross-sections of earthquake depth, and plate movement vectors.


What Causes a Volcanic Eruption?
Observe how the continuous movement of Earth's tectonic plates results in volcanic activity. In a volcanic eruption, super-heated magma from within the earth’s upper mantle works its way to the surface. This most often occurs at tectonic plate boundaries, but some volcanoes can also form over 'hotspots', or weak areas in the earth's crust.

Video, images, vocabulary, reading, and review questions
An earthquake is sudden ground movement. This movement is caused by the sudden release of the energy stored in rocks. An earthquake happens when so much stress builds up in the rocks that the rocks break. Almost all earthquakes occur at plate boundaries.


Mexico City, 1985
Video, images, reading, and review questions
In 1985, Mexico City was rocked by an 8.1 earthquake that was located more than 220 miles from the city. Scientists wondered why the damage was so great at such a distance when there was much less damage nearer to the epicenter.

San Andreas Fault
Video, images, reading, and review questions
The San Andreas Fault goes up from Mexico through western California and offshore in northern California. This transform fault separates the Pacific Plate on the west with the North American Plate on the east.

Did That Mountain Just Get Bigger?
Video, images, reading, and review questions
The devastating earthquake that occurred on April 25, 2015 between the cities of Pokhara and Kathmandu in Nepal killed thousands of people, destroyed communities, and left millions in need of food and shelter. Events like these can be terrifying and assistance efforts require the coordinated involvement of the entire world.

The Pacific Ring of Fire
Video, images, reading, and review questions
Most of the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions take place in the red band around the Pacific Ocean. Plate tectonics processes can explain why. The Pacific Ocean basin is shrinking as the Atlantic Ocean basin grows.

Tsunami or No Tsunami
Video, images, reading, and review questions
Some earthquakes around Indonesia generate tsunami and some do not. Earthquakes caused by the convergence of plates in a trench are more likely to.





The Geological Timescale
Geological time can be confusing, so this video explains where and in what order the periods and eras are.

A Brief History of Geologic Time
By looking at the layers beneath our feet, geologists have been able to identify and describe crucial episodes in life’s history. These key events frame the chapters in the story of life on earth and the system we use to bind all these chapters together is the Geologic Time Scale.


American Museum of Natural History Layers of Time Fossil Game
Students arrange rock layers to obtain a consistent fossil record.


BioInteractive EarthViewer
Shows the changes of land masses throughout Earth’s geologic time scale, as well as options to view asteroid impacts, extinction events, fossil deposits, and charts showing atmospheric, temperature, and biodiversity changes.


NOVA Polar Lab
In each level (mission) of this game, explore polar climates for fossils, sediment cores, and ice cores that provide clues about environmental changes that have occurred over Earth’s history. Real scientists provide deeper insight into the evidence that are discovered in short video clips throughout the game.


TED Ed How to Fossilize Yourself
Describes the conditions that cause an organism to fossilize, just how rare those conditions are, and everything that could go wrong along the way. The video is followed by 8 quiz questions.


Teaching Genetics with Dragons: Geniventure, Geniverse and Genigames
Select alleles to control phenotypes, make predictions from genotypes, use meiosis to create gametes, and study inheritance by breeding baby dragons.


Endangered Species: Worth Saving from Extinction?
Video, student handouts, activity, and facilitator guide
Throughout Earth’s history there have been five major mass extinction events—where a large percentage of species died out. Scientists estimate that we are in the middle of the 6th mass extinction event right now, where species are dying out at 1,000 to 10,000 times baseline extinction rates. Moral and ethical arguments to try to prevent species extinction include reasons like all life has a right to be here, or that we owe it to our grandchildren to protect species so they can see them in the wild. So, are species worth saving from extinction?

Clean Water Act
Pollution turned Lake Erie into the "Dead Lake" and the Cuyahoga River into the "Burning River." Issues with our water lead to the creation of the Clean Water Act to regulate water pollution across the nation.

Video, background reading, discussion questions, facilitator guide, and student handouts
Learn about a variety of owl species found around the world. The Wildlife Center of Virginia team discusses the amazing adaptations of owls and what makes them so unique as patients. The team explains the common injuries in owl patients and the causes for admission that are, unfortunately, often human-caused. Dr. Karra and rehabilitator Brie explain what the wildlife medicine and rehabilitation process is like for a variety of owl species found in Virginia, and outreach coordinator Alex shares Quinn the Great Horned Owl's story.

Video, background reading, discussion questions, further information, and student handouts
The Wildlife Center of Virginia staff members discuss the causes of admission for both terrestrial and aquatic turtles, including vehicle collisions, swallowing fish hooks, pesticides, and more. The Center's hospital director describes how these injuries are treated, and our host Ed Clark reviews how humans can change their behavior to help turtles.

The Importance of Freshwater Mussels
Video, background reading, and discussion questions
Freshwater mussels are historically a cornerstone species to Iowa's ecosystems. While industry and modern life has threatened their existence, they continue to be a valuable resource to every organism that calls Iowa home.

Activity: Conservation across Fence Lines
Interactive and facilitator guide
Public lands in the United States are often set aside for conservation of land and wildlife. In Nebraska, less than three percent of the land is protected public or conservation land. To protect at-risk habitat and species in Nebraska, innovative wildlife conservation strategies attractive to private landowners are needed. Private landowners committed to sustainability and interested in innovative approaches to land management have found that the common-interest community model can benefit wildlife populations and increase biodiversity on ranchland in the Nebraska Sandhills. For a fun, hands-on, real-world approach to understanding the common-interest community model, click “ENTER” below to play the Conservation Across Fence Lines interactive game.

The True Cost of Fast Fashion
Video, discussion questions, and vocabulary
Journalist, fashion lover, and expert shopper Elizabeth Cline walks us through her journey to discover the high environmental and human cost of the fashion industry, while sharing tips for how to better “shop for the planet."

Critters Don't Litter
Video, background reading, discussion question, activity, and facilitator guide
Learn about one of the biggest impacts that humans have on their environment—Litter. It isn’t just an aesthetic problem; it has serious impacts on habitats, wildlife health, as well as human health and safety. The consequences of even small acts of littering can be far-reaching and long-lasting. Join the Wildlife Center staff and watershed conservation authorities to learn more about the problems litter can pose, as well as a variety of ways that you can help reduce litter.

Why Protect Pollinators
Video, discussion questions, vocabulary for students, activity: Pollination Investigations, and further information (additional resources)
Pollinators like bees, birds, and bats contribute to the biodiversity and resilience of ecosystems and benefit people. What can we do to protect them?

Aquariums and Conservation
Video, discussion questions, and vocabulary
Aquariums aren’t just places where we can see exotic wildlife close to home, they also serve as a critical element of species survival. At the Georgia Aquarium, we learn how organizations all over the country band together to use data to ensure survival of many diverse species.