Six Degrees of Science Separation

Middle School and High School Teacher

Using a list of terms from all fields of science, the students will connect them in six or less steps to a non-science term, explaining scientific relationships during the process.

Grade Level: 9 - 11th

Subject: Science

Length of Time: About 45 - 60 Minutes

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Objectives & Outcomes

The students will be able to identify and define science-related terms and relate them correctly to a non-science term in six or less steps.

Materials Needed

  • One page of at least 10-20 terms used in different fields of science, one page of a list with the same number of non-science terms, Internet access or other resources
  • Prepare ahead of time:  Two lists shown above, one list numbered and other list lettered (use AA, etc. for more than 26), slips of paper with each number and letter listed, two containers- one for the number, one for the letters, two terms to use as a model and their connections (Example:  gravity & couch, The six degrees of science separation- meteorology: study of rain: made of water: what a person drinks when thirsty: after doing some work: rest on a couch)


Opening to Lesson

  • Hold up a pen/pencil or other apparent non-science related object
  • Ask: What does science have to do with a _____?
  • Allow students to respond and have a short discussion related to comments
  • Remind students how everything could be science-related

Body of Lesson


  • Display the two previously prepared science/non-science terms
  • Allow students to make the connections between the two terms
  • Explain how they will do the same thing with many other terms

Guided Practice

  • Each student will randomly choose a term from the Science container and a term from the Non-Science container
  • Encourage students to think “outside the box”
  • The science term will be listed on top of the page and connections will proceed with explanations to reach the non-science term
  • Following completion of each term the student will choose new terms and return their used term to the proper container
  • They will continue until they do the predetermined number or until time is up
  • During the exercise the students may use the Internet or other resources to find definitions, etc.
  • The teacher will then end the lesson and allow students to share some of the Six Degrees of Science Separation

Independent Practice

  • The teacher will assign additional science and non-science terms for students to complete for homework


Repeat the opening question:  What does science have to do with ______________.  Allow responses and stress how everything in the world can be connected, importance of respecting the environment/world, etc.

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Assessment & Evaluation

Three to five more connections as a homework assignment using new terms not used in the classroom.

Modification & Differentiation

Students may work in pairs.  Do together as an entire class project/discussion, brainstorming ideas for connection.  Choose science terms studied in current classes.  For non-science terms, pick a specific theme (Example may be art, music, etc.)

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