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

Student workshops

Our 2023 conference will be held on March 11th. Our 2023 conference will be held on March 11th. Click here to register for the student workshops!

2023 Workshops

Making “cents” of electrochemistry
Did you know that the coins in your pocket can power a light bulb? We will build our own batteries with coins and learn the chemistry behind how metals can provide electricity.

Microbial Detectives (Gram staining)
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!

Science of Slime
What makes the best SLIME? Stretchiness? Bounciness? In this workshop you will run experiments mixing various household chemicals to make your perfect slime!

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 and tasty workshop.

Designing Video Games
Have you ever wondered what goes onto the design of a video game? In this workshop, we will learn about user research and design fields of computer games. In the interactive portion of the workshop, we will design a user interface of a video game and then conduct a user research study to see what works well.

A Berry Close Look at DNA
Did you know that humans have 60% of the same DNA as strawberries? Join us to smash some strawberries and learn some exciting chemistry to extract their DNA! We will get to see what DNA looks like and learn why it's so important for all living things.

Building a Brain
Have you ever wondered how your brain works? In this workshop, you will learn about how cells in your brain communicate and allow you to understand the world around you! You will gain hands on exposure to the neuroanatomy of animals and humans, as well as learn about neuroscience research.

Disposable Plastics
We use them once, then we throw them away! How can we replace these plastics with more sustainable (and tasty) materials? This workshop will have you make your own edible water capsules, discover green chemistry, and explore solutions to the single-use plastics problem like a scientist!

I Spy the Natural World
Budding naturalists unite! Our instructors (a botanist, ornithologist, and herpetologist) will have a brief classroom session going over the basics of local plant and wildlife biology and identification. We will focus on the easiest ways to tell certain plants and animals apart and explore the evolutionary reasons behind those features. After a brief course on some of the wildlife and plants students may see around campus, we will head outside to put our identification skills to the test!

How computers see
We live in a world of machines that can "see": cars that tell you when you depart from a lane, doorbells that recognize when a package has arrived, and phones that recognize your unique face to unlock. But what does it mean for a computer to “see” something? How do people create computer programs to make decisions from visual data? Come learn about machine perception with fun examples and a DIY project.

Parts of the Brain
How does your brain work? In this workshop, we'll use experiments designed to trick your brain to explore how different parts of your brain work together to help you see, think, read, and do just about everything! We will also use real, preserved human and nonhuman animal brains to study how different animals' brains relate to their behaviors and environments.

Fast-Freeze Ice Cream
We will use science to make tasty ice cream in this workshop. Learn how the freezing point of water (and cream) can be altered and allow us to make our own frozen treat in the classroom!

How sweet is our food?
How sweet is the food we eat?We will use a color-changing solution to test just how sugary our food is. We'll learn the chemistry behind how our test detects sugar molecules.

The Chemistry of the Color
Watch red cabbage juice transform into a rainbow of colors and see the color disappear from fabric before your eyes as we explore the chemistry of color change. We will learn about acids and bases, chromophores, and how different chemistry makes color changes either temporary or permanent.

Air-Powered Car Race
We will put our engineering skills to the test by building cars that run on wind energy. Can you design a model that drives the fastest?

Greenhouse on the Moon
If we lived on the moon, how would we obtain our food? Our class will make science fiction a reality as we learn about the influence of the environment on life as we know it. We will shoot for the moon with this workshop focused on climate and technology.

Riding the Air
Let your curiosity take flight in this workshop that explores what makes birds and planes fly. You'll test your ability to problem-solve a flight challenge and use the physics of air resistance to achieve new heights!

Balancing Act
Fight the forces of gravity as you learn about the physics behind what makes objects, big and small, stay balanced! You will experiment with your balancing abilities in this hands-on workshop that makes natural forces come to life.

Earthquake Shake
What does it take to build something sturdy and steadfast? Using ideas of geometric shapes and 3D design, work to create and compete against other teams to make the highest and most supported structure!

Animal skull morphology
Get an up-close look at animal anatomy in this workshop! We will learn about and observe which characteristics make animal skeletons unique.

Making Artificial Legs
Get hands on experience with some of the steps involved in making a prosthetic device. You will get to use a 3D scanner, take a cast and assemble real prosthetic parts.

Survival of the Fittest
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?

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