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Science Exploration Trunk Program

The Science Exploration Trunk program offers educators a free resource for use in their classrooms (grades 6-12). Each trunk contains all of the equipment needed to conduct a hands-on laboratory investigation in the classroom. The trunk lessons are aligned to OAS-Science standards and are designed to reinforce science concepts through an agricultural lens and help students see broader connections of science to the world around them. 

Program Outline

Financial support for the program is provided by Devon Energy Corporation, Oklahoma FFA Foundation and the Noble Foundation. The program and its activities further support the development of student-led, science-based FFA agriscience fair projects.

Trunk Guidelines

Exploration Trunks Guidelines

Request Forms and Video Lessons

The Carbon Cycle

The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, pedosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere of Earth. Along with the nitrogen cycle and the water cycle, the carbon cycle comprises a sequence of events key to making Earth capable of sustaining life. In this lesson students will discover how carbon dioxide affects aquatic ecosystems.

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Chemistry's Rainbow

pH is a very important concept in chemistry. During this lesson, students learn about pH and how it affects us and the world around us. They will then use a universal indicator and concentrated acids and bases to create a rainbow of colored solutions. Before the solutions are discarded, the students will have to figure out how to neutralize each solution.

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CSI in a Wheat Field

Chemistry is everywhere, even in the soil beneath our feet. During this hands-on activity, students will learn about the importance of Earth's most valuable resource, soil, and its chemical properties. Students will then assume the role of a crime scene investigator and use a soil test kit to look at the chemical properties of various soil samples to determine if fictional suspects were at the scene of a crime.

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DNA Bracelet

DNA is the blueprint for life and almost every living organism on Earth contains a unique sequence of nucleotide bases. During this lesson, students will learn about the basics of DNA sequences and base pairing by constructing a bracelet of DNA sequence from organisms including humans, chimpanzees, butterflies, carnivorous plants or flesh-eating bacteria.

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Forces In Motion: Newton's Law

One of the most basic scientific concepts is the interaction between forces and matter. Forces are observed around us in our everyday lives from the gravity keeping us on the ground to the wind blowing through the trees. There are only a five forces that are known to science. The first three — gravitational, electrical, and magnetic — are the forces that are most easily observed. The second two — nuclear and weak interaction forces — occur within the nucleus of an atom and are therefore, not observable to most people. While having a basic understanding of forces is important for your science grade, it is also important for your safety.

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The Key to Leaf ID

How are living things named and classified? During this exercise, students learn about how organisms are named and classified. They then learn about leaf anatomy and use a dichotomous key to identify unknown leaf samples.

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Let's Talk About the Weather

The weather is an important part of the natural environment. It directly or indirectly affects many of our activities. But did you know it also affects food, clothing and shelter production? In this exercise, students will learn about how weather affects agriculture, how temperature affects the volume of a liquid, and how clouds form. Students will then make their own thermometers and clouds in a bottle.

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Molecules Matter: Photosynthesis

How do elements form compounds and what do these compounds look like? Students will learn about how elements bond to form compounds. They will also learn about the most important chemical reaction on Earth, photosynthesis, and will construct 3-D models of the compounds of photosynthesis using spice drops and toothpicks.

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Plants Have Parents Too!

Biologists have known for a long time that heredity is associated with the nucleus of cells and in particular with the passing on of chromosomes. Plant breeders have taken advantage of this feature of heredity to help improve plants and create new varieties. The fact that even plants have parents means that one or more desired characteristics or traits from one plant can be crossed with desirable traits from another.

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Strawberry DNA Extraction

DNA is the blueprint for life. Almost every living thing on Earth contains DNA. In this experiment, students learn about DNA and extract it from a strawberry using common household chemicals.

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The Crayon Rock Cycle

Weathering and erosion of rock is a very important part of soil formation, one of Earth's most important geological processes. But, how are rocks formed? This lesson teaches students about the rock cycle by using crayons to model the formation of each of the different types of rock: sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous.

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There's Sugar in Grass

In this lab you will be investigating the sugar content of plant materials. Scientists and others (like you!) can use light to estimate the amount of sugars in a plant with tool called a refractometer. A refractometer measures how much light bends, or refracts, as it passes through a liquid. This angle is then used to estimate the sugar concentration in the plant, fruit or vegetable. Refractometers are used by agriculturalists, winemakers, fruit and vegetable buyers, food processers, beekeepers and many more. The refractometer uses a unit called a Brix value or score. This is one of the quantitative (numeric data) values used to determine if a plant product (fruit, vegetable, grass) meets the standard for harvesting.

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See Where the Trunks Have Been