Age 2 to Grade 8
67 North Summit Street, Tenafly, New Jersey 07670
(201) 541-5780     Fax: (201) 541-5782
Personal tours by appointment.
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Upper School - Physical Science Lab

These topics are chosen to co-ordinate with years two and three of the Timeline Curriculum, Classical Rome through the Industrial Revolution. Students will work in teams, with older students supporting the efforts of younger.


Simple Machines

  • Lever: experiment with changing the distances to fulcrum and the weights
  • First vs. Second class levers
  • Pulley experiments using single and compound pulleys to lift weights
  • Wheel and axle
  • Gears; build machines and measure the gear ratios
  • Use spring scales to measure force and calculate the efficiency of machines

Archimedes' Principle

  • Calculate the density of cubes made of different materials such as brass, copper, acrylic, oak, pine, polar, aluminum, and steel by measuring the volume and the weight
  • Demonstratet hat a body submerged in water loses weight equal to its own weight in water
  • Use overflow tanks to learn about specific gravity


Light and Color

  • Use prisms to observe the color spectrum
  • Color mixing - using light-emitting diodes
  • Use diffraction gratings to see the spectra of different colors
  • Use filters to show that the perceived color of an object depends on the light it can reflect and on the color of the incident light

    The Nature of Light

    • Use a ripple tank apparatus to study wave propagation
    • Generate phase waves, freeze them with a stroboscope, and study wave interference


    • Reflect light using a laser beam and mirror; measure the angles of incidence and reflection with a protractor
    • Measure the refraction (bending) of light in plastic and water
    • Observe total internal reflection, found in fiber optics
    • Lenses: double concave, double convex, plano-concave, and plano-convex
    • Measure the focal points of lenses using an optical bench
    • Build a Galilean telescope

    Galileo's Pendulum

    • Use pendulum apparatus to investigate harmonic motion; vary weight, starting point, and length of string; measure the pendulum's period precisely using a light-timer.


    Free Fall

    • Use Free Fall tube apparatus to drop objects of different weights
    • Newton's Second Law of Motion: Propel one ball horizontally while at the same instant releasing another to fall vertically
    • Discover the co-efficient of gravity


    • Measure the position and movement of objects; describe motion as a change in position over time; analyze motion in terms of vector components
    • Velocity and acceleration: uniform linear motion and accelerated motion
    • Newton's First Law — Inertia Apparatus: A fancy version of pulling a tablecloth out from under a dish, using balls and a spring apparatus


    • Forces that oppose motion: pushes and pulls
    • Friction: test surfaces for friction resistance; correlate friction resistance with weight; reduce friction with wheels and rollers
    • Use a force table to add forces using vectors
    • Discover the difference between mass and weight
    • Newton's Third Law: Measure conservation of momentum by studying collisions; use Hall's carriages (model cars)
    • Elastic and Inelastic Collisions: Does it bounce back?

    Work and Energy

    • Discover the relationships among force, work, and distance; measure the work done by moving a given mass a given distance
    • Use a roller coaster apparatus to see the difference between potential and kinetic energy