Home » Education » Instructional Resources

Instructional Resources

Series Info

Episodes: 66

Length: 30 min.

Grade Levels:
4, 5, 6, 7


Teacher's Guide
Web Resources

Dragonfly TV

Devoted entirely to science for kids ages 9-12, DragonflyTV is a science program for kids, by kids! Every episode is different, and it’s all about kids showing the results of their investigations.

DragonflyTV’s young scientists chase a tornado, swim with dolphins, build robots, and test their pets’ intelligence. Plus, for teachers, parents and community workshop leaders, there are Teacher’s Guides available, with lots of ideas for investigations.

Dragonfly TV season one through four are available through Instructional Resources Lending Library.

Episode Guide

1. Investigate! – Simi, Jenny, and Danny make a splash as they kayak a raging river, investigating the rocks and the river’s formation. The program also looks at martial arts athletes and tae kwon do movements, then takes a fossil-filled tour of the Red Rock Canyon State Park.

2. Wheels – Tamara and Tara, twin 12-year-old motocross racers, explore the effects of different body positions on their motorcycles’ landings; skateboarders catch some air and experiment with different sized wheels for maximum speed and maneuverability at a Twin Cities skate park; and an inventor demonstrates that you really can ride a square-wheeled bicycle!

3. Animal Behavior – Josue and Michelle investigate the grooming habits of some pretty particular sea otters. Otter biologist Melissa Jefferies introduces her furry subjects at the Sea Otter Research and Conservationist Program in Monterey Bay Aquarium.

4. Water – Twelve-year-old surfer Carsten explores how different beach terrains affect the waves coming in. Hilary investigates how dolphins make friends, or “pair bond.” Valerie and Margie tackle two twisty waterslides to determine which is speedier and more “wild.” And finally, the kids ask a heavy question: How do you weigh a whale?

5. Rocks – Simi, Jenny and Danny kayak down a raging river, relating river speed to rock size. Climbers Gordon and Jesse explore the properties of different types of rock as they scale sheer cliffs in Aspen. Paleontologist Gary Takeuchi unearths fossils in Red Rock Canyon State Park. Also, the kids answer this question: how can you cut rock without a saw?

6. Flight – Alex and Ryan, model airplane pilots, investigate how different wing designs affect the performance of stunt planes. David, Abby and Alex use a thermal camera to determine how the terrain below affects the paragliding above. Aeronautical engineer David Urie tests his new SkyTrac, a body surfboard for parachute jumpers. The kids answer the question: how do you wakeboard without a boat?

7. Weather – Melissa and Elizabeth visit the site of a recent tornado, examining the damage to determine the tornado’s strength on the F Scale. Sullivan and Alexa engineer their own tornado model, to explore the forces that produce a tornado. Mari and Lindsay test traditional “folk” forecasts against modern weather predictions. Expert “stormchaser” Howie Bluestein investigates hurricanes, tornados, and other wild weather. The kids answer the question: how can you use weather to foil a potential crook?

8. Technology – A GEMS team (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science) design, build, and test a robot to compete in the first ” LEGO League” contest. Isaac and Anjali find out how their model solar car performs as the sun moves across the sky. NASA engineer Lloyd French introduces his Cryobot, an ice-melting robot designed to help study the moons of Jupiter. The kids answer the question: how do you get electricity from a cow?

9. Plants – Elissa and Julia bug out in Florida as they track a swarm of weevils charged with saving the Everglades from invasive melaleuca trees. Megan and Ian, 11-year-old scuba divers, meet some amazing creatures in an underwater kelp forest. Dr. Stephen Sillett, a researcher at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA, shows off the bird’s-eye view from his laboratory high atop a redwood forest.

10. Air – Life is full of ups and downs for Masha and Patsy as they learn how the temperature inside their hot-air balloon makes them soar or sink. Using the power of air alone, the crew gets a tipped-over truck back on its wheels.

11. Human Behavior – It’s all in the eye of the beholder: Maddy and Martina investigate how unreliable human perception can be when they explore software that creates portraits based on people’s descriptions of others’ physical characteristics. Zohabiya and Christopher hold onto their hats for their stomach-churning investigations of people’s reactions to roller coasters.

12. Space – Sarah, Shakivia, and Erica send coconut snacks into orbit aboard the space shuttle as part of their investigation into how the noble coconut would fare as a space food and tool. Dr. Elizabeth Stryjewski of NASA talks about plants in space, and the Dragonfly kids ponder how to travel to a star.

13. Human Body – 12-year-old martial arts athletes Kha and Peta get their kicks as they determine how different tae kwon do movements challenge their bodies’ skeletal and muscular systems. Danny Smith and Scott Holmes, medical device designers at Medical Plastics Laboratory in Gatesville, TX, show how they turn disabilities into possibilities. Meanwhile, the crew explores “circular breathing.”

14. Investigate II – Eliot and Rhianna search for a new spin on avoiding dizziness while ice skating; the girls make a computerized kart racer; and Matt, Kyndal, and Danny track the growth of newborn animals at the Minnesota Zoo. Dr. Phillip Tong explains the art and science of inventing new ice cream flavors.

15. Structures – The construction of an igloo-like shelter called a quinzhee illuminates some of the mysteries of insulation. Kids from the Crow Nation in Montana use science to show that their straw houses can handle anything the Big Sky can dish out. And architect Jose Rostrepo tells how he designs earthquake-resistant buildings.

16. Sports Science – The kids invent a soccer ball-kicking machine to determine how muscle power and leg speed affect their kicks, a circus stunt team figures out how to balance on the high wire, and Matt and Kelley practically walk on water to demonstrate the science of waterskiing. Microsoft game designer David Ortiz talks about the development of the NFL Fever 2002 video game.

17. Spinning – The kids hit some of Colorado’s most extreme halfpipes, using science to maximize their 360 spins; look at the scientific ups and downs of yo-yos; and introduce hurricane researcher Jason Dunion.

18. Propulsion – The kids test their model rocket; use an on-board computer to tune their kart racer; and introduce Dick Yue, creator of “Robotuna” (a robotic tuna fish).

19. Human Body – The kids try to avoid dizziness while spinning on skates, look for ways to exercise their memories, and learn about sunscreens and skin care. Dr. Phillip Tong explains the art and science of inventing new ice cream flavors.

20. Sound – New York City kids pump up the volume, using a decibel meter to monitor the surprising and sometimes dangerous sounds in their favorite urban hangouts. Other projects explore animal communication by listening in on prairie dogs and explain the science of hip-hop.

21. Technology – The kids pit GPS technology against a good old compass and map in a high-tech orienteering contest in the Santa Monica Mountains, witness some robot wars, and meet a teen who invented an electronic glove that translates sign language.

22. Ecosystems – The kids brave the California sun as they explore how plants survive the harsh conditions on the Guadalupe-Nipomo Sand Dunes. Also, the nesting habits of Juno Beach’s baby turtles; the Hood Canal’s annual salmon run; and tree-climbing scientist Nalini Nadkarni, who explores forest canopies.

23. Underwater – The kids dive deep in Florida as they try out their own deep-sea remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to explore the coral reefs. Also, investigating fish populations in northern Minnesota; the Florida manatee; and aquatic scientist Lisa MacCartney, who studies octopi.

24. Mammals – The kids track the growth patterns of newborn animals at the Minnesota Zoo, investigate right- and left-handed cats, and study whether the sea lions’ diet affects the amount of time they hunt and play. Primate specialist Lisa Parr tests chimpanzees to better understand the human mind.

25. Earth Explorations – The kids investigate slick-rock mountain biking in Moab, UT and explore southern Minnesota’s sinkholes. Mineralogist Liz Arredondo uses garnets to uncover Earth’s secrets.

26. Creepy Crawlies – The kids investigate some of Florida’s scaliest citizens, get up close and personal with snakes, and dig for worms. Scientist Betty Faber studies the complexities of cockroaches and other creepy crawlies.

27. Investigate III! – While rafting on the American River, Rasheed, Kohner, Scotty, and JB measure the river grade, water flow, and study the flow patterns around eddies, holes, and tongues. Rachel and Sarah build their own hovercraft out of plywood, a picnic tablecloth, and a leaf blower.Young equestriennes Mallory and Ting don faux horse ears, positioned to signal both contentedness and aggression, to investigate how their horses communicate.

28. Sports Science – Avid ski jumpers Karl, Garrett, and Johnny use GPS technology to examine the differences between modern and “old school” jumping styles. Hockey players Tess, Alison, and Christina investigate how sticks of different stiffness affect the speed of their shots. Mike Lowe and Brian Sidwell design and test bicycle helmets for ultimate safety and weather resistance.

29. Wind – Danielle, an accomplished sport kite flyer, wants to learn how the height-width proportion of a kite (called its aspect ratio) affects the kite’s performance during competitive maneuvers. Using common household items, Nathanial constructs his own wind tunnel to measure the aerodynamic efficiency of toy racecars.

30. Forensics – Kalia and Caroline use forensic research methods to gather evidence at a birthday party “crime scene.” Aaron and Tevi examine the construction of the Coral Castle, a Florida landmark consisting of over 1,000 tons of coral, to solve the mysteries behind its construction.

31. Engineering – Rachel and Sarah build their own hovercraft out of plywood, a picnic tablecloth, and a leaf blower. Milk Carton Derby — Ciara, Brittney, and Maria engineer a boat entirely out of milk cartons to enter in a hometown race.

32. Earth Systems – While rafting on the American River, Rasheed, Kohner, Scotty, and JB measure the river grade, water flow, and study the flow patterns around eddies, holes, and tongues.

33. Animal Behavior – Young equestriennes Mallory and Ting don faux horse ears, positioned to signal both contentedness and aggression, to investigate how their horses communicate. Keshia and Ashley visit the New Jersey Aquarium to explore ways to keep the African penguins busy and active, by observing their behavior at feeding time.

34. Speed – Speedskaters Eric, Lisa, Ned, and Sarah investigate what types of turns optimize their speed and maneuverability in short track racing. To determine which tire pressure will allow them to maintain speed and control through turns, mountainboarders Sean, Ben and Neil create a mini-course, and ride it at different tire pressures.

35. Health – Cancer survivor Jeff and his sister Jenny conduct a study with kids undergoing medical treatments to see if pets can help lessen pain. Jordan and Sydney use Glo-Germ technology to track the spread of germs from their hands and their clothes at a party with their friends.

36. Habitats – Marie and Michelle explore the California Cavern to discover how speleothems vary with differing conditions in the cave. Gillian considers the properties of two neighboring lizard habitats to understand why lizards are numerous in one and not the other. Susie and Katie investigate what’s causing the malformations at their neighborhood frog pond.

37. Games – Lara wants to know how she and her fifth-grade friends can gain a competitive advantage against the older kids at YMCA camp. Jay and Jonathan investigate how their starting hand position on the ball affects scoring from the free-throw line.

38. Space/Astronomy – Tianna and Sammy investigate weightlessness in space by watching what happens to their favorite toys in a free-fall “drop box.” Young astronomers T.J. and Trey trek the Arizona desert to learn what infra-red imaging can reveal about the Martian landscape.

39. Dogs – Veteran mushers Alexa, Jenaya, and Miriah want to create a “dream team” of sled dogs, so they test their dogs’ several compatibility factors. Elizabeth and Caitlin create a fetching investigation using colored and grey tennis balls to determine if their pets Sassie and Chime are colorblind.

40. Energy – En garde! Paula and Alyssa study sword science with a fencing investigation. Young martial arts athletes get their kicks as they determine how different tae kwon do movements challenge their bodies’ skeletal and muscular systems. And DragonflyTV asks: How can you pedal your bike 80 miles per hour?

41. Engineering – Kid engineers tune up their ice bike for the coolest race of all. Join a young inventor and his robots as they face the ultimate techno-rumble–robot wars! And DragonflyTV asks: How do you propel a rollercoaster without climbing the first hill?

42. Animal Behavior – Jerika and Shannon hop to it and explore which rabbits are the best athletes. Robyn and Alex dive into a sea lion investigation. And DragonflyTV asks: Which sport keeps bears healthy and happy?

43. Friction – Slippery scientists investigate the icy sport of curling. Sara and Rachel get a rise out of engineering a real hovercraft. And DragonflyTV asks: How can you practice your hockey moves without ice?

44. Sound – Brittney and Maggie explore communication using the bumpin’ backdrop of a volleyball game. Tarissa and Sabrina grab a decibel meter to monitor the sometimes dangerous sounds in their favorite New York City hang-outs. And DragonflyTV asks: How can you turn sheet music without using your hands?

45. Canines – Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Not Zachary and Jerit, who explore pack behavior to determine the “top dog.” Canine conundrum: Alexa, Miriah, and Janaya investigate which sled dog should lead the pack to victory. And DragonflyTV asks: How can you keep your pooch from being a “hot dog?”

46. Science at Play – Francheska, Marnika and Precious get roped into a Double Dutch investigation. Maddy and Martina use clowns, juggling, and science to demonstrate how unreliable human perception can be. And DragonflyTV asks: How can you clock a whizzing baseball’s speed without a radar gun?

47. Earth Systems – Miniature golf makes for maximum fun as kids hit the links to explore erosion. Slap on the SPF45 and join some young desert scientists as they discover how plants survive the harsh conditions on the Guadalupe-Nipomo Sand Dunes. And DragonflyTV asks: How can kids “make a stink” to reduce dangerous bus emissions?

48. At the Zoo – Tiger toys: Chelsea and Camille invent enrichment equipment for zoo animals. Julian and Sabrina “go to the dogs,” creating sound spectrum snapshots of prairie dog barks to explore animal communication. And DragonflyTV asks: How do you weigh a whale?

49. Biochemistry – Beakers, charts and lipstick? Young chemists explore the science of make-up. Carolyn and Kaila turn into forensic scientists to solve a birthday mystery. And DragonflyTV introduces an ice cream scientist who actually gets to eat his work!

50. Human Body – Divers Niki and Jaq make a scientific splash. Garrett, Karl and John grab their boots, poles, and swimsuits (?!) for an afternoon of ski jumping. And DragonflyTV asks: How can a musician hold a loooong note?

51. Mammals – Mikki and friends travel to Africa to check out cheetah science. Oh, baby! Matt, Kyndal and Danny track the growth patterns of newborn animals at the Minnesota Zoo. And DragonflyTV asks: How do you walk a cheetah on a leash?

52. Simple Machines – Jonathan and Angus from Michigan work with their local science center on some fun-flingin’ science to learn about trebuchets. Allie and her friends race around the track to investigate kart racing. And DragonflyTV asks: without using wheels, how can you carry 20 gallons of water?

53. Pittsburg – Investigating why bogs help keep organic material from decaying and view the preserved humans in the Bog People a traveling exhibit at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Tyler and Aditya design their own rollercoaster and test it on a simulator at the Carnegie Science Center, finishing their investigation on “Phantom’s Revenge,” a roller coaster at a nearby amusement park. And at the Pittsburgh Convention Center, DragonflyTV reveals a Science Secret that makes other cities green with envy.

54. Dallas & Forth Worth – Discovering that not everything about dinosaurs—even Texas-sized ones—is gigantic when they dig for microfossils with the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Reed and Nick get game at the Science Place in Dallas, answering the question: so just how the size and shape of a baseball bat affect the location of the “sweet spot?” And in Science Secret, DragonflyTV uncovers a very clever pesticide at Discovery Gardens, a certified organic public garden.

55. Los Angeles – Milan and Harison go deep, comparing bottom feeders at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific to those in the wild. While at the California Science Center’s Big Lab, Max and Brian create model sailboats and the set sail in the Pacific to determine the most efficient design. And DragonflyTV heads to the La Brea Tar Pits in the Science Secret to check out the Ice Age inhabitants of L.A.

56. Minneapolis & Saint Paul – Inspired by the IMAX movie Stomp, Maxine and Hannah create their own musical instruments at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Rylee, who uses a myoelectric prosthetic arm, heads to The Bakken Museum and Library to explore how the electrical signals in her body help her arm function. And, in the Grossest Segment Ever!, Paige and Nick check out the “Animal Grossology” exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota before investigating how animals depend on their sense of smell at the Minnesota Zoo. And, in the Science Secret, find out what happens when you fill the Mall of America, one of world’s largest shopping malls, with almost 40 million visitors each year.

57. New York – Jenn and Emily, members of the Junior United States Luge Team, slip slide away at the New York Hall of Science playground, investigating gravity and then applying what they learn to maximize their timings at Lake Placid. Stanley and Jessica go ape, checking out the Bronx Zoo’s Congo Gorilla Forest to see how plants and animals coexist in the layers of the African Rainforest. And in the Science Secret, find out what’s not so natural about New York’s Central Park—the most frequently visited urban park in the United States.

58. Phoenix & Tucson – Tom and Margaret learn about construction techniques at the Arizona Science Center’s “Many Hands Make a Home” exhibit, trying out what they learn on their very own clubhouse. Home Prickly Home: Josie and Kari head to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to examine the interaction of the plant and animal kingdoms by conducting a survey of the kinds of creatures that make the Saguaro cactus their home.

59. San Francisco – Starting at Lawrence Hall of Science, Claire and Nisha walk the lines— the San Andreas and Hayward fault lines—to learn how geological forces formed the San Francisco Bay Area. Inspired by the “Light and Color” exhibit at the Exploratorium, a group of industrious middle schoolers create their own interactive exhibit. And in Science Secret, DragonflyTV demystifies how antique cable cars continue to conquer the city’s incredible hills.

60. Alaska – Glaciers: Deborah and Brittani learn about changes in glaciers over time at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center before scaling the Mendenhall Glacier to track its movement. Temperate Rain Forest: Starting at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center in Ketchikan, Emma and Gracie investigate tree growth rates in three areas of Tongass National Forest. Science Secret: And Juneau turns out to be built on a Science Secret worth its weight in gold!

61. New Mexico – Balloon Fiesta: Alex and Andrew head to Explora to investigate how much hot air is needed to make balloons fly before soaring to new heights at Albuquerque’s International Balloon Fiesta. Cave Swallows: The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science inspires Emily and Isabel to travel to Carlsbad Caverns and track cave swallows. Science Secret: The excitement heats up at Sandia National Labs, where a scorching-hot Science Secret is revealed.

62. North Carolina – Wetlands: SciGirls Sarah, Valencia and Sophia tromp through diverse wetlands after a visit to the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science. Farm Animals: SciWorks’ barnyard gets Imran and Nabil thinking about what it takes to raise farm animals, prompting visits to local donkey and dairy farms. Science Secret: Winston-Salem holds a surprising connection to the Empire State Building that’s unveiled in the Science Secret.

63. Montana and Yellowstone – Baby Dinosaurs: Nicole and Ellen dig up a dino bone at Egg Mountain and then head to the Museum of the Rockies to find out how old their dino was when it died. Geysers: Phoebe and Shannon roam Yellowstone National Park investigating why some areas have geysers while others do not. Science Secret: And simmering under Montana, Wyoming and Idaho is a science secret of volcanic proportions.

64. New England – Kinetic Sculpture Challenge: Elly, John, Nick, and Linnea get help from the MIT Museum preparing a kinetic sculpture for the Friday After Thanksgiving Chain Reaction challenge. Gravity Fountain: At the Montshire Museum of Science, Chloe and Jesse get wet and wild creating a gravity-powered water fountain. Science Secret: The Science Secret lands in Boston, revealing the innovative ways this city has grown.

65. The Deep South – Garbology: Joshua and Sean get down and dirty studying the composition of garbage at the Southern Environmental Center. Alligator Habitat: The swamp exhibit at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science inspires Katelyn and Blake to check out the characteristics of alligator habitats along the Mississippi River. Science Secret: The Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville will floor you in the Science Secret.

66. Hawaii – Volcanoes: Starting at the Kilauea Visitor Center, Julia and Briana investigate lava flow on the Big Island at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Sea Turtles: Zach and Devin assess the readiness of baby sea turtles for release into the wild at the Maui Ocean Center. Science Secret: And the formation the youngest Hawaiian islands is explained in the Science Secret.

« Go Back