GEMS guides are listed below alphabetically by title. Scroll
down to review the list. Detailed descriptions are available by
selecting "more" after each title.
GEMS Teacher's Guides are clearly organized, easy to use,
and do not require any special background in math or science.
Each classroom session includes an overview, materials list, and
preparation steps, followed by clear, step-by-step instructions
for effective classroom presentation. Background information is
provided for the teacher, along with photographs, illustrations,
and, often, examples of student work. Throughout each guide are
comments on presentation strategies and practical advice to help
the teacher, many suggested by teachers who tested the units.
Professional development workshops
are also available for those who want to learn more about GEMS
Teacher's Guides and how they can be made a part of a comprehensive
Looking for literature connections and suggestions for further
reading? Look for the "Literature Connections"
button below the cover illustration on the detailed product page.
(Some do not have literature connections; in those cases, you'll
find the literature connections in the printed guide itself.)
See also the recommended sequences of GEMS units by grade and subject.
Where you find the PEACHES logo
in the list of titles below, you will find products appropriate
for preschoolers and other young children. Just scroll through
the list to find these GEMS for early learners.
You can also search by grade level and general subject
Need to know what materials you'll need to present a unit? Check here.
Acid Rain Grades 68; 8 sessions/176
Pages (see online orientation video)
This unit fosters substantial scientific inquiry skills as students
learn about acids and the pH scale through a number of hands-on
activities. Students analyze sophisticated environmental issues
and consider the complexity of environmental decisions. A great
companion guide to Global Warming & The Greenhouse Effect.
Algebraic Reasoning: Professor Arbegla Introduces Variables
and Functions Grades 35; 6 sessions/140 Pages
Professor Arbegla's "Fabulous Function Machine" helps
build a foundation in algebraic reasoning. Students gain essential
algebraic understandings, learn about equations, and apply what
they've learned. Makes strong connections to the National Council
of Teachers of Mathematics principles and standards. More.
PreschoolK; 2 Sessions/52 pages
Beginning with an imaginary defenseless animal, this highly visual
unit teaches children about defensive adaptations in the animal
world. Like Hide a Butterfly, this is an excellent way
to introduce biological concepts of predator/prey and help youngsters
recognize defensive structures and behaviors. More.
Ant Homes Under the Ground Preschool1; 5 Activities/116 pages
These delightful science- and math-integrated activities introduce
young children to ant behavior using role-play, cooperative exercises,
and close observation of live ants. A large poster is assembled
in stages to highlight ant tunnels, food, social structure, and
life cycle. More.
Aquatic Habitats Grades 26; 5 Activities/136
These engaging life science activities, in which students set
up and observe living desktop ponds in the classroom,
convey key environmental concepts and illustrate the interactive
nature of living ecosystems. An excellent complement to Schoolyard
Ecology and Terrarium Habitats. More.
Bubble Festival Kindergarten6; 12 Activities/176
These captivating, bubble-centric tabletop learning stations are
packed with math and science content. The unit (a natural lead-in
to Bubble-ology) includes detailed teacher assistance with classroom
logistics, writing and literature extensions, and tips for setting
up an all-school bubble festival. More.
Bubble-ology Grades 58; 10 Sessions/80
pages (see online orientation video)
Imaginative experiments with soap bubbles introduce students to
solid science, technology, and math content. Students have a ball
as they learn important concepts in chemistry and physics, devising
a number of experiments and drawing conclusions. Builds nicely
on Bubble Festival. More.
Build It! Festival Kindergarten6; 9 Activities/224 pages
This units wealth of learning-station activities help students
make real-world connections as they focus on construction, geometric
challenges, and spatial visualization. Geometry background is
provided. Requires pattern blocks and polyhedra, but patterns
for shapes and tangrams are provided. More.
Buzzing A Hive
Kindergarten3; 6 Activities/146 pages (see online
This guide explores the complex social behavior, communication,
and hive environment of the honeybee through activities that mix
art, literature, role-play, and drama. (Live bees are not a part
of this unit.) A nice entomological partner to Ant Homes Under
the Ground, Hide a Butterfly, and Ladybugs.
Chemical Reactions Grades 68;
2 Sessions/40 pages
An ordinary zip-locking bag becomes a safe and spectacular laboratory
as students mix chemicals that bubble, change color, and produce
gas, heat, and odor. A terrific introduction to chemistry, this
guide is often adapted for lower grade levels. More.
Color Analyzers Grades 58; 5 Sessions/88
Why does an apple look red? Students investigate light and color,
experimenting with diffraction gratings and color filters. An updated and enhanced version of the classic GEMS Teacher Guide, this makes a great complement to More than Magnifiers and Microscopic
Convection: A Current Event Grades 68;
3 Sessions/60 pages
Students explore this important process by observing and charting
the convection currents in a liquid, discovering one of the ways
in which heat moves. They learn that convection affects the Earths
crust and volcanic eruptions, the weather, the wind, and many
other natural events. Connects nicely to Discovering Density.
Crime Lab Chemistry Grades 48; 5
Sessions/91 pages (see online orientation
Recently updated and expanded, in this forensic science primer student detectives use paper
chromatography to investigate solubility, pigments, and separation
of mixtures. New activities provide opportunities to explore and understand scientific models. See also Fingerprinting
and Mystery Festival. More.
Discovering Density Grades 68;
5 Sessions/80 pages
Why does ice cream float in root beer? Exploring real-life connections,
students delve into the concept of density with secret formula
sheets, a number of Puzzling Scenarios, and a liquid-layering
activity. The mathematical equation for density is also introduced.
Dry Ice Investigations Grades 68;
4 Activities/212 pages
The intriguing behavior of dry ice ushers students into understandings
of inquiry and essential concepts of matter, gases, and chemistry.
Provides compelling experience in scientific investigation while
introducing the particulate theory of matter, phase change, the
nature of gases, and the history of science. (See also Chemical
Earth, Moon, and Stars Grades 58;
6 Activities/100 pages
activity) (see online orientation video)
Students learn a great deal about the Earth and astronomy with
modeling and observation activities that focus on gravity, the
shape of our planet, moon phases and eclipses, and the stars.
A questionnaire on the Earths shape and gravity makes an
excellent pre- and post-assessment tool. See also Messages
from Space and Moons of Jupiter. More.
Early Adventures in Algebra Grades
12; 9 Sessions/123 pages
Designed to build a foundation in algebraic thinking for students
in the early primary grades. Students learn the important role
zero plays in our number system, solve for unknowns, explore equality
and inequality, and are introduced to algebraic symbols. Builds
crucial scaffolding for more complex algebraic reasoning in later
Eggs Eggs Everywhere
Preschool1; 4 Activities/84 pages
This unit introduces young children to the wonders of eggs of
all kinds, developing age-appropriate concepts in biology and
life science. Activities combine literature, math, role-playing,
drama, and art, and introduce sorting, classifying, and graphing.
Electric Circuits: Inventive Physical Science Activities
Grades 36; 11 Sessions/264 pages
This flexible unit opens with conductors, insulators, and simple
closed circuits; these early sessions can combine to serve as
a basic electricity unit. In later, more advanced sessions, students
read circuit diagrams, build circuits, and learn about series
and parallel circuits. More.
Elephants and Their Young
Preschool1; 4 Activities/112 pages
With art, drama, and role-play, young children learn all about
the African elephants unique body structure and fascinating
social behaviors. Math and science concepts include measurement,
weight, volume, and comparisons of many kinds. More.
Environmental Detectives Grades 58;
8 Activities/264 pages
In this challenging unit, built around a fictional environmental-damage
scenario, students learn of the interconnectedness of the natural
world and the complexity of many environmental problems. Students
consider pollution from many sources, perform chemical and biological
tests to finger the culprit(s), and track changes
in predator-prey relationships. More.
Fingerprinting Grades 48;
3 Sessions/72 pages (see online
Students explore the characteristics of fingerprints in these
fingers-on activities, devising their own classification
categories and applying their skills to solve a crime.
(The technique uses pencil and tape, not ink.) Makes a good partner
in crime to Crime Lab Chemistry and an excellent
opener for Mystery Festival. More.
Frog Math: Predict, Ponder, Play
Kindergarten3; 6 Sessions/112 pages
In an artful interweaving of math and literature, this unit begins
with free exploration of buttons and leads to age-appropriate
sorting, classifying, and graphing activities. The children develop
strategic-thinking skills and are introduced to the concept of
Global Warming and the Greenhouse Effect
Grades 78; 8 Sessions/184 pages
This guides hands-on activities and experiments investigate
a crucial environmental issue and help students see environmental
problems from different points of view. Students also play simulation
games and hold a world conference on global warming.
Acid Rain makes a good environmental partner. More.
Group Solutions: Cooperative Logic Activities for Grades
Kindergarten4; More than 50 Activities/151 pages More.
Group Solutions Too!: More Cooperative Logic Activities
for Grades K-4
Kindergarten4 More than 50 Activities/216 pages
The activities in these popular guides are designed for groups
of four. Students receive clues to share with their group, then
have to work cooperatively to find the solution. The guides provide
help with cooperative learning and logic in the classroom, and
include sections on bilingual presentation.
Height-O-Meters Grades 68
A prerequisite for Experimenting with Model Rockets this
unit introduces students to the principle of triangulation (measuring
angles) to determine heights and trajectories. Now out of print, it is available for free download. More.
Hide A Butterfly
PreschoolK; 3 Sessions/44 pages
This guide introduces children to the basic concepts of protective
coloration as they learn to identify parts of a flower, create
a nature-scene mural, learn about butterflies, and talk about
animals they may have seen in the wild. (Camouflage is also explored
in Animal Defenses.) More.
Hot Water and Warm Homes from Sunlight
Grades 48; 5 Sessions/80 pages
In this environmental unit, students build model houses and hot-water
heaters to focus on solar power. They determine how windows can
affect heat, and conduct controlled experiments. Connects well
to Global Warming & the Greenhouse Effect. More.
In All Probability: Investigations in Probability and Data Analysis
Grades 35; 13 Sessions/140 pages
Students gain confidence in these concepts as they investigate
chance, gather and analyze data, make predictions, and draw conclusions.
The unit provides a solid basis for the development of much-needed
real-life understandings and skills. More.
Investigating Artifacts: Making Masks, Creating Myths, Exploring
Middens Kindergarten6; 6 Sessions/120 pages
This rich unit introduces children to the concepts of inference
and evidence with activities relating to anthropology, archaeology,
and diverse Native American and world cultures. Students sort
and classify natural objects, make masks and create myths,
and excavate a shoe box midden. More.
Invisible Universe: The Electromagnetic Spectrum from Radio
Waves to Gamma Rays
Grades 68; 5 Activities/116 pages
In an investigation of the electromagnetic spectrum students examine
wave motion, then face challenges at invisible energy
stations, including infrared (TV remote); radio; ultraviolet (black
light) and others. They learn that these have become powerful
tools in astronomy. Students are also introduced to Gamma Ray
Bursts and ponder the most powerful explosions in the Universe.
Many color images are included in the Tour of the Universe.
Involving Dissolving Grades 13; 4 Activities/72
pages (see online orientation video)
This guide, like Liquid Explorations and Secret Formulas,
creates a very positive early experience with chemistry. Here
students explore the concepts of dissolving, evaporation, and
crystallization. Using familiar substances, they create homemade
gel-o colorful disks, and crystals that emerge on
black paper to make a starry night. More.
Preschool1; 5 Activities/99 pages (see related
online activity Aphid Eater)
This popular unit uses the charm of ladybugs to present key science
and math concepts relating to animal adaptation, ecology, and
interdependence. Children learn about ladybug body structure,
symmetry, life cycle, defensive behavior, and foods. Use of live
ladybugs is optional. Great with Buzzing a Hive and Hide
a Butterfly. More.
Learning About Learning Grades 68;
10 Activities/220 pages
These unique, multidisciplinary activities focus students on their
own learning and how other animals learn. The unit also explores
related social issues, including occupational health, drug use,
brain research, and scientific ethics. More.
Life through Time Grades 58;
7 Sessions/358 pages
Through time-travel activities, students grasp the mammoth scale
of geologic time and the major benchmarks in evolution, from the
earliest single-celled organism to the most recent mammals. Evolving
dioramas chronicle life-forms and habitats from five evolutionary
ages. Ten color backdrops included. More.
Liquid Explorations Grades 13; 5 Activities/80
pages (see online orientation video)
A great way to introduce young students to the properties of liquids,
and (like Involving Dissolving and Secret Formulas)
an excellent physical science unit for primary grades. Activities
include classification, observation, and experimentation; one
activity supports discussion of oil slicks and other environmental
Living with a Star Grades 68; 6 Activities/170
Students unveil our dynamic relationship with the Sun through
a space-weather mystery, a mock mission from Earth's atmosphere
to outer space, ultraviolet experiments, and more. This NASA-inspired
unit focuses on the impact of electromagnetic energy and solar
particles on Earth. CD-ROM included. More.
Math Around the World Grades 58;
8 Games/200 pages (see related activities Shongo Networks and Tower
This stimulating unit uses games and puzzles from many continents
to explore mathematics in a multicultural, international context.
Each game can be presented as a two- or three-session activity
or at a stand-alone learning station. Maps and historical connections
provide a social studies element. More.
Math on the Menu Grades 35;
5 Activities/144 pages
This unit provides strong math learning experiences in a real-world
context, as students plan and expand menus, determine ingredients,
analyze costs, set prices, and design a restaurant floor plan.
Students work with data organization and analysis, explore aspects
of statistics, and strengthen their sense of numbers, math, and
Matter: Solids, Liquids & Gases Grades 13; 5 Activities/128 pages
In a succession of intriguing hands-on learning station activities, students gather, apply, and reflect on physical evidence, just as scientists do, and learn what matter is—and what it is not. Students learn about the properties of solids, liquids, and gases, and apply this knowledge to common objects in the world around them. More.
Messages from Space Grades 58; 6 Activities/192
This exciting unit opens with a binary-coded message from
space and takes the class on a journey through our solar
system and beyond. Students model size and distance, explore how
systems may have formed, ponder stellar life zones, and design space travel brochures. See also Earth, Moon, and
Stars and Moons of Jupiter. More.
Microscopic Explorations Grades 48;
10 Learning Stations/168 pages
The interdisciplinary richness of these learning stations presents
a wide spectrum of scientific investigation. Students expand their
understanding of science, research, and how microscopic and related
techniques contribute to diverse fields. Color Analyzers and More than Magnifiers connect well. More.
Moons of Jupiter Grades 48;
5 Activities/112 pages
Observing and recording moon orbits over time, students reenact
Galileos historic telescopic study of Jupiters moons
and learn why his observations contributed to the birth of modern
astronomy. Students experiment with craters, create scale models,
and take a tour of the Jupiter system. See also Earth, Moon,
and Stars and Messages from Space. A set of overheads
must be purchased separately or downloaded as a PDF file. More.
More Than Magnifiers Grades
68 4 Activities/68 pages
In this ingenious unit on physics, optics, and light, students
use two lenses in different ways to create optical instruments
and learn how the measurable properties of lenses are used in
magnifiers, simple cameras, telescopes, and slide projectors.
A great partner to Color Analyzers and Microscopic Explorations. More.
Mother Opossum and Her Babies Preschool1; 3 Activities/100 pages
Integrating math with life science, these activities for young
children use role-play, drama, measurement, and comparison to
study opossum adaptations. Students learn about marsupial pouches
and the development of baby opossums, and about the famous trick
of playing possum. More.
Mystery Festival Grades 28;
10 Sessions/268 pages
This extremely popular forensic science unit features two imaginative
and compelling mysteries, one for younger and one for older children.
Students learn to distinguish evidence from inference, and conduct
such crime-lab investigations as thread tests, powder tests, DNA
comparisons, chromatography, and fingerprinting. More.
Ocean Currents Grades 58; 7 Activities (11 Sessions)/184
This companion guide to Only One Ocean provides fascinating,
real-world insights into the causes and effects of marine currents.
Students explore how wind, temperature, salinity, and density
set water in motion. They learn how the ocean makes our planet
livable and transports nutrients, people, and pollution. Makes
a strong connection to Discovering Density. More.
Of Cabbages and Chemistry Grades 48;
4 Sessions/88 pages (see related
In this unit (an excellent lead-in to Acid Rain), students
explore acids and bases using the special indicator properties
of red cabbage juice. They learn that chemicals can be grouped
by behaviors, and relate acids and bases to their own daily experience. More.
Only One Ocean Grades 58; 3 Activities/202
This comprehensive companion to Ocean Currents interweaves
the concepts of connected ocean basins, animal adaptation, and
sustainable fisheries. Its highlight, a classroom squid dissection
conducted by student pairs, leads to activities about ocean fisheries
and diminishing resources. Students brainstorm and present possible
solutions in a world conference. More.
On Sandy Shores Grades 24; 5 Activities/212
These marine activities allow students to deepen their understanding
of sand, animals, biological and ecological interactions, and
personal responsibility for the environment. Designed to be used
in culturally diverse classrooms and with English-language learners. More.
Oobleck: What Do Scientists Do? New GEMS Version! Grades
48; 4 Sessions + 2 optional/104 pages (see online orientation video)
This immensely popular unit has been updated, but the strangely behaving substance
called Oobleck still provides high engagement while students gain authentic insight into real-world
scientific inquiry. Students are totally engaged in observation,
hands-on investigation, a scientific convention, and spacecraft
Paper Towel Testing Grades 58;
4 Sessions/48 pages
This unit is a stimulating introduction to consumer science and
controlled experimentation. Students rank the qualities of four
paper towel brands, compare the costs of each, and determine which
brand is the best buy. Can be expanded to test other
consumer items. More.
Penguins And Their Young
Preschool1; 4 Activities/80 pages
This appealing guide addresses important math concepts and skills
as children learn about the adaptations and environment of the
emperor penguin. With role-play, drama, and multisensory games,
children integrate language learning with mathematics and the
physical and life sciences. More.
TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE Plate Tectonics: The Way the Earth Works
Grades 68; 8 Sessions/224 pages
These groundbreaking earth science activitiesincluding models
of erupting volcanoes, strike-slip faults, and sea-floor spreadingreveal
the dynamic nature of the Earths crust. Like real earth
scientists, students conduct research at key geological
sites around the world and record observations, calculations,
and conclusions in a geological field notebook. An expansive complement
to Stories in Stone. More.
The Real Reasons for Seasons Grades 68;
8 Activities/140 pages
Sponsored by NASA and carefully developed to help students overcome
persistent misconceptions about the causes of the seasons, this
unit features modeling and hands-on activities. Includes a CD-ROM
with a wide selection of photographs, films, Web links, simulations,
and software. Earth, Moon, and Stars would make an excellent
introductory unit. More.
River Cutters Grades 68; 7 Sessions/120
This popular unit explores the concepts of erosion, pollution,
toxic waste, and human manipulation of rivers. Students create
river models, acquire geological terminology, and begin to understand
geologic time. More.
Schoolyard Ecology Grades 36;
5 Activities/120 pages
This guide is designed to nurture curiosity about patterns and
interactions in nature, beginning with students immediate
environment: the schoolyard and its inhabitants. Students develop
sampling, mapping, and related math and environmental-writing
skills. A great life science companion to Terrarium Habitats. More.
Secret Formulas Grades 13; 9 Sessions/160
In these compelling physical science activities, children investigate
the properties of substances as they make their own personal brands
of paste, toothpaste, cola, and ice cream. Like Involving Dissolving
and Liquid Explorations, the unit provides real-life experiences
with chemistry and conveys key science/math skills and concepts,
including cause and effect. More.
Sifting Through Science Kindergarten2;
4 Activities/104 pages
This units three free-exploration learning stations integrate
math, graphing, and data analysis as children investigate various
physical properties of objects. In a culminating whole-class activity,
students separate materials using the knowledge, tools, and techniques
theyve learned. More.
Stories in Stone Grades 48; 8 Sessions/164
This earth science unit explores the formation of igneous, sedimentary,
and metamorphic rocks. Students distinguish and classify rocks
and minerals, observe formation of salt crystals and make model
crystal shapes, and use clay-modeling activities to learn about
the rock cycle and more. A strong curricular companion to Plate
Terrarium Habitats Kindergarten6;
5 Activities/92 pages
These life science activities bring the natural world into your
classroom and deepen childrens understanding of and connection
to all living things. Students investigate soil, design and populate
terrariums, and observe and record changes over time. Schoolyard
Ecology makes a great next step. More.
Treasure Boxes Kindergarten3; 6
This guide builds on childrens fascination with collections
of small, everyday objects to introduce discrete mathematics,
statistics, numbers, logic, and language in a cooperative learning
environment. Graphing, sorting, and classification activities
also encourage appreciation for recycling. More.
Preschool1; 6 Activities/92 pages
These activities focus on appreciation for trees and the animals
that live in them, stimulating childrens interest in the
natural world and emphasizing the biological need for warmth and
shelter. Students use role-play to understand adaptation and deepen
their math learning by sorting, classifying, and measuring. More.
Vitamin C Testing Grades 48; 4 Sessions/64 pages
Students are introduced to chemistry experiments, nutrition, and consumer science in this complement to Paper Towel Testing. Students perform a simple chemical test to compare vitamin-C content of different juices and graph the results. Older students can investigate the further effects of heat and freezing. This title is available as a free PDF. More.