If you weren't able to join us this year, we have suggestions for other STEM activities here.

Student workshops

Our 2022 conference was held on March 12th. Thank you for your participation! Information about our 2023 conference will be posted in fall 2022.


2022 Workshops

Red Cabbage Indicator Workshop
Have you ever wondered about the acidity of common household items? Using only the power of acid-base chemistry, we can change clear solutions into a whole variety of colors! Come learn about the hidden potential of the cabbage in our fun, interactive workshop!

Code for Life
Let’s talk about DNA – what actually is DNA? why do genetic differences matter? Most importantly, how do your genes make you YOU? In this workshop, we’ll use hands-on activities to learn about these questions and more.

Making “cents” of electrochemistry
Did you know you can make electricity out of money? Tap into the electrochemistry trapped in the metal in coins to build your own homemade battery. With the right tinkering, you can power a colorful LED light! Along the way, we will learn about how our battery works (it’s by the same chemistry as store bought!).

Microbial Detectives
Have you ever wondered, how do doctors know what antibiotics to prescribe a patient with an unknown bacterial infection? They need the help of a microbial detective, the medical microbiologist! In our workshop, we will be identifying unknown bacteria using the Gram stain method, which is a type of biochemical test used regularly by the medical microbiologist.

Beauty and the Yeast
Have you ever wondered what humans have in common with yeast? There’s more to these unicellular fungi than meets the eye. Humans have harnessed the power of yeast for millennia - you can too, while using the tools of a scientist. In this workshop, you will use balloons to demonstrate how bread is made; come experience the beauty of yeast!

Surviving the Wild
It’s a dangerous world out there! Learn how animals adapt to their environment by changing their bodies and behavior over time. Get a lesson in natural selection, and then test it out for yourself with an animal of your own creation! Can you survive the wild?

Pop, Lock, and Gloss It: Make your own lip balm!
Ever wondered how Burt’s Bees lip balm is made? Come and join us and get a behind the scenes look at the chemistry and engineering needed to get that perfect lip balm to you! Chapped lips beware!

From lava to the ocean: deciphering densities
My workshop will involve learning about liquid densities, and investigating the densities of various different liquids though several activities. I’ll first do a demonstration with a density column of various different liquid layers, stacked on top of one another. The girls will then do some hands-on activities which involve making their own lava lamps with oil, salt, and water, and another activity (time permitting) in which they will float objects in salt water, sugar water, baking soda water, and a control and predict if the objects will float/sink.

Edible Water Capsules: Replacing Single-Use Plastics
Disposable plastics – we use them once, then we throw them away! How can we replace these plastics with similar but more sustainable materials? This workshop will let you make your own edible water capsules, learn about green chemistry, and explore solutions to the single-use plastics problem.

Animal Skulls and Structures
Animal skulls can tell us many things about creatures and how they survive in their natural environments. A few relatively simple observations of an animal’s skull can tell us what the animal ate, whether the animal was predator or prey, and which senses were most important to the animal’s survival. Areas that will be examined include teeth, eye sockets, nasal passages, palates, and auditory bullae. Through hands-on investigation, you will learn key characteristics to help determine if an animal is a predator or prey and what features assist in survival.

Powering the world with Lithium ion batteries
Come learn how to make batteries from materials that can be found in your home! In this workshop, you will create your own battery to power LED lights and household objects. Learn what makes batteries work and how we can use new materials to help power the world with clean energy!

Mysterious Muddy Microbes
Did you know that slippery, oozing mud is home to millions of microbes? Just like plants grow when given nutrients and sunlight, these mysterious muddy microbes can also grow into a rainbow of cool colors if given the right conditions. In our workshop, we’ll dig up some mud from a local creek and do an experiment that will allow us to grow some rainbow microbes. We’ll investigate the best conditions for growth, and we’ll learn about the ecology of these tiny lifeforms that live beneath our feet. You’ll even get to take some home with you!

Big Mac Blender
How do our bodies get enough energy to move around all day, and what’s actually in a McDonald’s Big Mac? All of our cells need energy in order for the chemical reactions inside to take place, and that energy comes from the macromolecules we obtain from the food that we eat. Using some simple biochemistry, find out how much you can learn about a system by breaking it down into its component parts!

Boldly go where no fish has gone!
Experience a day in the life of a biologist! Come learn how to study animal behaviors and understand how animals make decisions! In this workshop you will get hands-on experience with bold fish, learn how to set up behavioral experiments, collect data on exploratory behaviors, and discover how behavior produces diversity in the natural world.

Science of Slime
We all love to play with slime, but how do you make it? In this workshop you will become an engineer at a toy company! We will conduct a series of stretchiness and bounciness experiments to make the perfect slime.

How computers think
A laptop or smartphone seems to know a lot of things: how to get to your destination, when the next bus arrives, or what song you want to hear next. But what does it mean for a machine to “know” something? How do people create computer programs that recognize faces or translate from one language to another? Come learn how computers store and process information with fun examples and a DIY project.

Pineapple Protein Party
Join us for a lesson in food science. Students will learn about protein structures and enzymes through a pineapple jello experiment. Learn about molecular biology and its broader applications in this fun workshop.


2021 Workshops
 
A Pretty Penny: Oxidation Chemistry in Your Life
Have you ever wondered why the statue of liberty is green, or why metals rust? Oxidation chemistry is all around us! Not only does oxidation chemistry control reactions we see in our everyday life, but it also helps us understand fuel cells, which produce clean energy. Come learn more about oxidation chemistry through a fun workshop and an experiment you can try at home!

Worksheet: Pretty Penny Worksheet

Earthquake Engineering
Ever wonder what makes a structure resilient to earthquakes? What is the difference between different buildings and what makes a building stand? In the workshop you will get to design and build your own structures and then test them in an earthquake to see if they survive.


Worksheet: Earthquake Engineering Worksheet

Genes and Strawberries!
Have you ever wondered how cells in our body evolve to perform different functions? How the cells in our arms and legs differ from those in your brain or stomach? Different cell types express different genes! Join us to learn more about DNA (the material that makes up our genes) and learn how to extract it from an organism like scientists commonly do in the lab every day!

Worksheet: Genes and Strawberries

How Do Self-Driving Cars See?
Self-driving cars drive on their own! To do this they need to be able to see obstacles and road signs. How does a self-driving car see and understand the information around it in order to drive safely? In this workshop, we’ll learn how computers process visual information and make decisions with fun examples you can test out!

Worksheet: Self-Driving Cars Worksheet

Making the Band: How to Code Your Own Music
Ready to create some epic digital songwriting? Using a variety of web-based platforms, learn how to code melodies, beats, sound effects, and more to create your own original composition. All genres welcome. Let's make a band!

Worksheet: Code Your Own Music Worksheet

Microscopic & X-Ray Vision
These aren’t just science fiction super powers! Join us as we take a tour of the body in ways you’ve never seen it before: super up close and way deep inside. Together, we’ll learn the basics of how to read medical and dental x-rays, how different organs look under a microscope, the science of how they both work, and a little bit about the jobs of doctors and dentists.

Worksheet: Microscopic & X-Ray Vision Worksheet

Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the most aggressive fish of them all!?
Come learn how biologists study animal behaviors to understand what they are thinking and feeling! In this workshop you will learn how to set up behavioral experiments, collect data on angry fish, and discover how behavior produces diversity in the natural world. Experience a day in the life of a biologist!

Worksheet: Mirror mirror Worksheet


Plant Party
Join us for flower fun! We’ll learn how plants transport water from their roots to their rest of the plant..


Worksheet: Plant Party Worksheet

Playing with Fire
Learn what being a wildland fire scientist is like! We’ll show you some of the extreme things fire can do. Learn answers to questions like: What makes wildfires burn? What can be done about them?

Worksheet: Playing with Fire Worksheet

Reactions in Action: Feeding Plants with Air!
How do chemical engineers use chemical reactions to make things people use every day? Find out by becoming a chemical engineer for the day, and design and simulate your own factory to turn air into fertilizer for plants. We’ll also learn what happens during chemical reactions using a dramatic demonstration!

Worksheet: Feeding Plants with Air Worksheet

Sherlock Bones
In this workshop you will become Sherlock Bones, Scientist and Engineer! We will learn about science and engineering, how bones are like candy, and even try to tie a bone into a knot. Screen reader support enabled.

Worksheet: Sherlock Bones Worksheet

Science of Slime
We all love to play with slime, but how do you make it? In this workshop you will become an engineer at a toy company! We will conduct a series of stretchiness and bounciness experiments to make the perfect slime. If you didn't receive the workshop materials here is what you will need to participate in this workshop:
  • 6 plastic cups
  • 0.5 oz baking soda
  • 1 oz contact solution
  • 6 popsicle sticks
  • 1/8 tsp measuring spoon
  • 4 oz school glue
  • 3 mL pipette
  • Ruler

Worksheet: Science of Slime Worksheet

Surviving the Wild
It’s a dangerous world out there! Learn how animals adapt to their environment by changing their bodies and behavior over time. Get a lesson in natural selection, and then test it out for yourself with an animal of your own creation! Can you survive the wild?


Worksheet: Surviving the Wild Worksheet

What Makes Us Different?
It is estimated that between 5.3 million and 1 trillion different species that live on Earth! Crazy, right?! How did there get to be so many different types of critters out there? While all of these species are made up of cells, the DNA in those cells help make each species unique and special. DNA isn’t visible to the human eye, so scientists need fancy microscopes to look at DNA of cells. Come learn how to extract the DNA of different fruits and vegetables in your own kitchen and how important DNA is to the species that live among us!


Worksheet: What Makes Us Different Worksheet