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2007 Student Workshops

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Energy Astounds and Surrounds Us!

We know about the importance of energy conservation, but what about the importance of energy conversion? Have you ever thought about a world where energy could not be changed from one form to another? We'll conduct activities where energy is converted from a form that is less useful, to a form that is more useful to us and our society. The hands-on activities will include changing chemical energy into electrical energy and solar energy into mechanical energy.

Holey Cow!

Why can a cow eat hay but we can't? She has a rumen. Come explore both a preserved and real rumen to see what a balanced diet for a cow looks like. Don't miss the hands-on (and hands in) introduction to ruminant nutrition and discussions about the role biotechnology plays in animal science today. NOTE: Dairy products, hay, fur, and latex involved. Students should wear clothes they don't mind getting dirty and closed-toed shoes.

The Secret of Nim

Have you ever played a game that you knew you couldn't lose? Nim is a game that you play using piles of beans (or for us, M&M's) where you try to be the last person to take M&M's. We will study patterns that happen when playing Nim, and use that to develop a winning strategy. NOTE: Substitute candy or pretzel sticks available as alternative.

The Science of Soap

We use soap every day, but how does it work? What ingredients are in it? What makes it smell so fragrant? Come learn about the chemistry behind soap and how other household cleaners work. In this workshop, you will have a chance to experiment with soap making and take home your own home-made soap!

Genetic Freaks

Has anyone ever told you that you look like your parents? Have you ever wondered why you do not look exactly like them? To find out why, we'll use but parents to create our very own baby bugs to teach us about genes, how genes are inherited, and what a gene does. And unlike real insects, you'll want to eat these when we're all done!

Fishy Business!

With 30,000 different species on the planet, fish live almost everywhere where there is water. What do fish hold in common to help them live their aquatic lifestyle, and what traits help different fish live in different places? We'll look at museum samples of the diversity of fish from rivers, ponds, lakes and oceans to answer these questions. We'll dissect fish to examine their insides for clues about what helps them live their fishy lives. We'll even be able to tell what they ate for their last meal! Finally, we'll use our fish to make colorful prints to take home. Join us for a fish-filled workshop!

The Mathematics of Coloring

When you drew in coloring books as a kid, did you think you were exploring highly advanced mathematical concepts? In fact, you were studying something called graph theory, where one of the big questions is about how many ways we can color different arrangements of shapes. Using some simple mathematical ideas and your coloring skills, we will explore tiling, methods of coloring and map-making. By the end, you'll understand one of the most controversial theorems of modern mathematics.

Babies, Babbling, and Brains

"A grandmother of eight makes a hole in one". Is this a grandmother out for a round of golf, or someone who drills holes in one of her grandkids? It's amusing to know how our brain handles this statement. We'll explore little slip-ups in the way the brain processes information to illustrate brain function. In the baby lab, we'll look at technology used to understand how babies learn how to share, socialize and talk. We'll also see how adults use information. Join us for infant vocalizations, adult language processing and mind games.

Explore the Microbe World

Many people think that microbes only make us sick. Most microbes play very important roles in our world, producing the oxygen we breath, helping us break down food in our intestines, turning leaves into soild, even making yogurt and cheese! Come explore the world of microbial ecology, how microbes interact with their environment, using the light microscope as our guide.

Human Power, Walking Robotics and Bicycle Lab

Our lab studies how people and robots get around on legs and wheels. We have the world's most energy-efficient robot and we have a bicycle that balances itself. Come and explore the mechanics of how people and robots walk and how bicycles pedal and balance.

Crazy Cascadilla Creek

What crazy creatures live in Cascadilla Creek? Explore the stream to catch and meet the fish and invertebrates that call Cascadilla home. We'll have the D-nets, dip nets, seines, viewing boxes, and sieves - you bring your rubber boots and sense of adventure. NOTE: Off-campus, outdoors.

Mayan Marvel

Don your avatar and join your friends to explore the Cornell Theory Center's Mayan Pyramid, a 3-D virtual world of wonders. See if you can figure out the way the ancient Mayans thought about numbers and find your way to the top of their world.

A Bird's Eye View

Birds are among the most diverse animals in the world! Can we tell where birds live and what they do, by how they look? What can we learn about birds by looking at their eggs? We'll catch local wild birds and you will get a chance to hold a live bird in your own hands. Discover how scientists measure traits that give clues about how these animals make a living in the wild. After all, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush! NOTE: Off-campus, outdoors (rain gear needed), feather allergies.

What are you thinking?

Find out what makes you tick! Wiggle your finger, remember a phone number, recognize a friend -- these all go on in your head! Sure, we'll see real brains, but the fun is finding out how they work. Learn the parts of the brain like countries on a map - where are they, what do they do, what happens if they're gone? Along with activities, you'll hear about people who no longer recognize faces, see motion, remember facts, speak in sentences or do mental math...but are otherwise somewhat normal.

Pigments in Paint

Throughout the ages and all over the world, artists have used pigments to create a rainbow of colors in paintings. Have you ever wondered how the paint gets its color? We will learn how pigments are used to color paint by first making some pigments and then using them to make our own oil paint. We will even use our homemade paint to create a painting you can take home! NOTE: Closed-toes shoes/old clothes (in case paint gets on you).

Within Our Reach: Exploring the Secrets of Mars

Ever wanted to travel to another planet and explore its surface up close? Two NASA missions are doing just that: the Mars Odyssey spacecraft and the Mars Exploration Rovers. Learn how these missions work together to explore the red planet. We'll use gamma rays to determine the Martian surface composition, discover buried water ice, and much more!! We'll use computer animations, rock samples, and the data from these missions to understand what the surface of Mars is like, and if it was more like Earth in the past. Join our Mars scientists and help explore both Mars and the frontiers of human imagination!

3-D pictures with a Scanning Electron Microscope

Take a picture of a small piece of a coral reef, a piece of polymer mesh used in surgical repairs, and a piece of optical fiber using a Scanning Electron Microscope. Choose a specimen and help the staff member control the SEM. After shooting 2 pictures from different angles, take the digital files to a computer and assemble them into a red-blue anaglyph. When the image is printed, you will be able to see it in 3-D using the red-blue glasses provided. NOTE: Long periods of standing.

The Case of the Stolen Serum

Crime investigators were called to a crime scene in the lab at Immuvend Inc. Someone broke in attempting to steal two beakers containing a serum that stimulates kids' brain cells enough to make homework obsolete! In the darkness, the thief stumbled and broke one of the beakers, leaving the broken beaker and a bloody glove behind. Come see how forensic science, and blood typing, can be used to identify potential suspects in this criminal investigation!

Colder than Ice

When water freezes, it becomes ice. But can air freeze? What would frozen air look like? Play with really cold liquids and solids as we use 'frozen air' to blow up balloons, make a soapy ooze and freeze vegetables. We'll even make ice cream---with no freezer!

Snazzy Shoes

What goes into making and designing the shoes you have on your feet? Here is your chance to find out. You will cut apart shoes to find out what's inside, and then you will have the chance to engineer your own pair. From basic materials, you and a team of other engineers will design and build a shoe that has a purpose all its own. At the end of the workshop there will be a fashion show to display the new shoe designs to the other participants.

Engineering Exploration

Come learn about engineering construction and design through three fun, hands-on activities. Build bridges from marshmallows and toothpicks; construct cantilevers from clay and toothpicks; and design and build puff-mobiles--cars propelled by your breath!

Plants by Design: Creating the perfect plant

What if you really like the leaves of one tree and the shape of another but you only had space to plant one tree? No problem! Combine the beautiful leaves and nice shape into the same tree by grafting them together! Grafting is a technique that has been used for centuries to propagate plant material and has been extensively used in fruit trees to combine the fruit qualities of one tree with another tree. It has also been used to make very interesting new ornamental plants. Come and learn the scientific principles behind this technique and create your own grafted specimen to take home with you!

This IS Rocket Science!

The first rockets were used for fun at festivals and parties in China during the thirteenth century. Since then, rockets have been used for many purposes from tools of warfare to space travel. Come learn how rockets work and even build your own! If weather permits, we will launch our rockets outside, otherwise we will learn about how astronauts eat, sleep, and work in space. NOTE: Off-campus, outdoors, loud noises.

Colorful Chem-"art"-istry

Have you ever wondered how your computer printer can make hundreds of colors from just cyan, magenta, yellow, and black? Come learn how and more. Learn how color separations can solve crimes and create cool art! You will use the techniques you learn to design a tie-dyed t-shirt and stationary to take home! Come join the fun! NOTE: Closed-toed shoes.

Fabulous Fossils

Did you know that Ithaca used to be in the middle of a warm tropical sea? Where you live was once home to a variety of astonishing reef creatures. We'll learn about the geological history of Ithaca, and how it went from tropical paradise to the "gorges" region we know today. We'll go on a fossil hunting expedition in Fall Creek gorge to see if we can dig up a few of Ithaca's former invertebrate residents. You may find your very own fossils to take home with you! NOTE: Outdoors, moderately strenuous hike, bring sturdy footwear and clothes you don't mind getting a bit dirty.

Make your own perfume!

Dive into the world of Chemical Engineering. People have used perfume and oils on their bodies for thousands of years. We will describe the steps used to extract and purify scents. You'll have a chance to make your own and then see some of the tools that companies use to make products such as these for millions of people.

The Incredible Edible Foam

Did you know about the science of making ice cream? Join us in the Food Science Pilot Plant to make your own ice cream! We'll see and taste how changes in ingredients such as fat and air (yes, air!) change the look, texture, and flavor of the final product. Try variations of the traditional recipe for this popular foam (yes, ice cream is a foam!) and discover other mysteries of Food Science. NOTE: Closed-toed shoes, dairy allergies.

Math -- it's contagious!

If you want to minimize your chance of getting sick, should you get a flu shot every year? If there were an outbreak of a disease like smallpox or avian flu, what would be the most effective way to try to prevent an epidemic? Scientists use mathematical models to help answer these questions and many more in a branch of applied mathematics called 'mathematical epidemiology'. The government uses math to guide the prevention and treatment of diseases in humans, animals and plants. We'll examine the mathematical tools and models used to understand how diseases spread and how to fight them.

Light Emitting Devices from a Bottle

Did you know that you can make electronics from water mixtures? In this experience, you will have the hands-on opportunity to make light emitting devices of your favorite color from water-based solutions. Find out how to spin, spray, or inkjet print electronic components. Try your hand at stick-on or liquid metals. Find out about the latest in flexible electronics.

Looking at the Nano-World

"Nano" is everywhere these days: not only in computers and ipods, but also in makeup, tennis balls, and stain-resistant pants! But how can we look at nano-molecules like DNA that are too small to see with even the most powerful optical microscope? Come learn about a special kind of microscope that we use to "look" at this tiny world. We'll see how well you can reconstruct a hidden lego "molecule" with a model of this microscope, and then we'll use a real one to look at an actual nano-molecule!

Cabbage pH-ing

In this workshop, we will extract a ph indicator from red cabbage and use it to approximate the ph of various solutions, both household and laboratory. We will discuss what makes an acid and what makes a base. As well as how this extract works. Participants will be able to take home ph strips that they make in the workshop. No one will be forced to eat cabbage!

The Science of Sound

Why does the same note sound different on a trumpet than on the piano? Have you ever heard an acoustic illusion? Come and we'll discuss how sound works, "see" the sound from various instruments, and listen to strange illusions.

Bare Bones About Skeletal Engineering

Have you ever broken your arm? What did the doctor do to fix it? Have you ever torn your meniscus or know someone with a hole in their knee? Does the doctor need a different treatment than the one for the broken bone? In this workshop, you'll learn the differences between bone and cartilage. You'll also learn the different ways they each can be damaged and repared.

Alchemy 101

Alchemists of the middle ages struggled to find the fabled philosopher's stone, a substance that could transform base metals to the more valuable silver and gold. In this workshop, you will succeed where others have failed by using the chemical concepts of reduction and oxidation to transform a normal penny form copper to "silver" to "gold". We will also change water from a clear liquid into a silver mirror.

Biofuels, Bacteria and Batteries

Did you know that a bucket of mud could power your radio? With today's concerns about global warming, scientists are trying to figure ways to generate energy without creating pollutions. Come learn how bacteria make electricity from ordinatry mud. You will build batteries from mud and lemons and compare them to regular store bought batteries.

Watch Out! Predators on the Wing

Have you ever seen a raptor perched on a telephone pole or soaring high overhead? Rather than viewing these awesome predators from afar, you will have the chance to meet several raptors face-to-face, including hawks, falcons, and owls. With the help of these live birds, we will discuss what makes birds of prey different from other birds and how these birds have developed special adaptations that make them hunting machines. NOTE: Feathers allergies.

Hot Air Balloons and More

What makes a hot air balloon go up? Hot air! But, what exactly is heat? Why does it change the behavior of a gas? Come explore temperature, pressure, and gases. Weather permitting, we'll build and launch model hot air balloons, too! NOTE: Partly outdoors.