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The Franklin Institute Spotlight falls on topics that may interest science educators and science enthusiasts alike. Each Spotlight story incorporates outside Web resources into a conceptual package that may be useful in a science classroom or just fun to explore at home. If you're ready, follow The Spotlight and let serendipity lead the way.

Winter Games!

It's an Olympic Winter, and Team USA has the homefield advantage. The Spotlight shines on Utah, offering background information about the Olympic games, and Olympic world records.

Forest Flames

As the Summer sizzle begins, the risk of forest fire flares.

The Spider Web

There are about 35,000 known spider species in our world. Get to know a few of them in the Spotlight.

Tricked by the Calendar

Have you ever wondered why people play tricks on April 1? The Spotlight offers an explanation.

It's Electrifying!

Electricity can be frightening and mysterious, but the Spotlight offers resources to help remove some of the fear and mystery.


In the Spotlight, you'll find everything you always wanted to know about robotics, but were afraid to ask.

Chemistry Collection

Consider chemistry. Browse the collection of chemistry resources that have been pre-selected for your convenience. It's "element"ary.

Structures on All Sides

Columns, domes, and ramps are just a few structures that surround visitors to The Franklin Institute Science Museum. Take a tour of the structures that support science.

Light and Color

The world is filled with beautiful colors, made possible only by light. Explore how light paints the world only by opening your eyes.

Our Changing Earth

Earth science is a special theme of interest at The Franklin Institute Online because of our participation in National Public Science Day 1999. The Spotlight explains.

Soccer Spot - Head into Summer

Kick-off your summer vacation with a few kicks of the soccer ball. In the United States, soccer has become one of the most popular youth sports. This Spotlight feature suggests some reasons why.

Undersea and Oversee

Dive deep into the salt water that covers seventy percent of our world. Explore the past, present, and future of our oceans and the waters that feed them.

Mount Everest

With the arrival of Springtime, Mount Everest welcomes the arrival of a new team of climbers who dream of standing on top of the world. The Spotlight features resources for exploring the science, mystery, and reality of the highest mountain peak on Earth.

Public Science Day, 1998

On February 12, ten thousand students in Philadelphia celebrated Public Science Day, a program of the American Association for The Advancement of Science. Follow along with one teacher and her students as they explored what it means to be "scientists in the city."


Every day, the EARTHFORCE is with us. Quaking, erupting, and crashing, the forces of Earth change our world in small ways every day. Sometimes, the EARTHFORCE changes our world in big ways, too.

El Niño: Hot Air over Hot Water

Watch the weather for some real-live science. El Niño is making science the lead story on many daily news reports. Find out how to bring the real science into your science classroom.

Water in The City

Water is a city's most precious natural resource. The quality of the water supply system can mean the success or failure of a city. Be a good citizen and investigate your own city's water.

Scientists in The City

The city is just one big laboratory for science. The possibilities for investigating the city's ecosystem are almost limitless. Follow along with the students in Philadelphia who are exploring their city from a science perspective. Try your own investigations.

The Robot Zoo

How can animals inspire robotics? "The Robot Zoo" offers a comparison of how animals can be like machines, and how machines can be like animals. Don't miss this fantastic collection of robot resources.

Franklin's Forecast

On the evening news, weather often seems to be in the spotlight. "Franklin's Forecast" is your guide to weather forecasting, so you'll be prepared for your local weather.

Your Summer Vacation on Mars

During the Summer of 1997, the Spotlight shines on Mars. Use this feature to plan your summer vacation.

Are We Unique?

Consider the matter of the human mind. How does it compare to the minds of other animals? How is it like a computer? The Spotlight offers resources to complement the latest book by author James Trefil, "Are We Unique?"

Simple Machines

Simple machines make work easier. Our Spotlight on Simple Machines just may make teaching easier. Share your ideas for compound machines--two or more simple machines working together--in the compound machine gallery.

Living Things

Interested in life science resources? Interested in communicating with other educators who share your curriculum needs? Interested in collaboration opportunities? The "Living Things" resource attempts to answer these three needs all at once.

Rocks and Minerals

Words like "igneous" and "metamorphic" can be troublesome, but rocks and minerals are solid fun. Students everywhere can wrap their hands around a rock. Now, help them to wrap their minds around the rock too.


Unpack your microscope and prepare for a voyage to unseen worlds. Online resources offer exciting new opportunities for exploring the field of microscopy. You haven't really seen something until you've seen it through a microscope.

Telling Time

How did ancient people tell time? How do we tell time today? How has this evolution of time-keeping happened? Perhaps the most time-consuming Spotlight feature of all, Telling Time explores the science of time.

Science Learning Network

The Science Learning Network project explores how a whole school can transform itself using high-speed telecomputing throughout the school building. What will teachers do with technology in their classrooms? The Spotlight reveals some early findings.

Online Projects

The educational possibilities for using the Internet in classrooms are limitless. Many innovative educators are already online and organizing collaborative projects that provide meaningful learning experiences for schools around the world. The Spotlight on Online Projects should reveal something perfect for any student.

Go Take A Hike!

Imagine dedicating your life to nature. Some very famous people have. We call them "naturalists." In their honor, The Spotlight urges you to take a nature hike and get in touch with the wonders of the world around you. You may even consider a career following in the footsteps of Rachel Carson, Thoreau, or John Muir.

Web Gardens

A sunny Spotlight features the gardens of the Web. Visit some of the most beautiful gardens on Earth, without ever leaving home. You may be inspired to get your own hands dirty and grow your own web garden.

Animal Migration

Somehow, instinctively, certain animal species know when it's time to move. Many species follow seasonal migration patterns, but not all. There are some truly fascinating migratory patterns to explore in The Spotlight on Animal Migration. For human beings, migration is an optional activity. We call it "vacation."

Science Fairs: Love Them or Hate Them?

In many schools, the science fair is an annual rite of passage, much the same as homecoming or the senior prom. The Spotlight offers ideas and strategies to help you turn the science fair into an event to remember.

Get Outdoors!

If you've been spending too much time online, perhaps you need to get away from your computer and get outdoors! The Spotlight inspires you to take an online expedition to some of the most beautiful places on Earth.


What happens when we turn The Spotlight on insects? Fascinating resources appear! Use The Spotlight on Insects to investigate the most populous species on Earth. You may be surprised to find that all insects are not created creepy.

Fresh Fruit!

It's delicious! It's nutritious! It's fresh fruit! The Spotlight shines on apples, oranges, bananas, and berries, offering fun and informative insights and ideas for celebrating the simple joy of fresh fruit.


Are you ready for a Webtrek? The Spotlight points out onto the Web in search of our fine feathered friends. As a Webtrekker, you'll need to be part birdwatcher and part undercover agent. Should you choose to accept the mission, you'll discover interesting nests of resources on the Web.

Electronic Field Trips

Feeling trapped in your classroom? Looking for adventure? Facing budget cutbacks? Why not try an electronic field trip? The Spotlight leads you off on a journey around the world. Travel from Costa Rica to New Zealand to Nepal. Whether on foot, on bicycle, or in the air, you'll count yourself a world traveler as you follow The Spotlight.

The North Pole

No matter the season, The Spotlight shines as a beacon at The North Pole. Visit the top of the world and meet the people who live there. Explore the geography and the geology of the northernmost point on Earth. And let us know if you run into any reindeer.

Resources for Science Learning at The Franklin Institute, Copyright 2007 The Franklin Institute, 220 North Twentieth Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, 215-448-1200,