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2008 Student Workshops

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What a busy bee!

Honey bees are busy every minute of the day! They fly far away and visit flowers, then they come home and tell their sisters where all the good food is with a special waggle dance. They also tell each other when it's time to wake up, when they need someone to clean their wings, and when they need help to unload all the sweet nectar that they found on their last trip outside. At the end of long day, there are many chores left to do, like feeding their young sisters, cleaning up, air conditioning their home, and making all that delicious honey! Come see our friendly honey bees close up and we'll learn how bees 'talk' to each other and how hard they work to take care of their hive and their family. NOTE: Bee allergies, free flying bees, off campus. Safety precautions will be taken.

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 out ways to generate energy without creating pollution. Come learn how bacteria make electricity from ordinary mud. You will build batteries from mud and lemons and compare them to regular store bought batteries.

Fishy Business!

With 30,000 different species on the planet, fish live almost everywhere where there is water. What do all fish hold in common to help them live their aquatic lifestyle, and what unique traits help different fish live in different places? We.ll look at museum samples of the amazing diversity of fishes from rivers, ponds, lakes and oceans to help us understand these questions. Then 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!

Mayan Marvels

Don your avatar and join your friends to explore Cornell University's Mayan Pyramid, a 3-D virtual world of wonders. Trek through a virtual maze, solving the riddle of Mayan mathematics. Watch for hidden doors to long forgotten rooms that reveal the rich history of this ancient civilization!

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: Feather allergies.

Energy Astounds and Surrounds Us!

Many of us have learned about the importance of energy conservation, but what do you know about importance of energy conversion? Have you ever thought about what would happen in a world where energy could not be changed from one form to another? Would the oceans form or would plants grow? In this workshop, participants will conduct a variety of activities where energy is converted from a form that is less useful to us to a form that is more useful to us and our society. Through a series of hands-on investigations, participants will help build and test the efficiency of a solar-powered device as well as prime and race small steam-powered boats!

Chromatography and Cantilevers. what are those?

Come learn how to extract pigments from plants and vegetables in a fun, hands-on workshop using the technique of Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC). This cool technique is used for the separation of substances into their components. Biochemists find chromatography extremely valuable. It can be used to figure which ingredients are in a flavor or scent, to analyze different types of pollution and to find traces of drugs in urine. It is also used to separate blood proteins in a variety of animal species. In this workshop, you will learn how to extract pigments from plants and vegetables and run your own TLC experiment to see what you find in each plant pigment extraction. We'll also be learning about cantilevers.what they are, how they.re used in science, and where you see them everyday. You'll enjoy building, crushing, examining, and more in this real-life science workshop.

Holey Cow: The Ins & Outs of Milk!

How can cows turn hay into milk? They have rumens! Come explore a cow's stomach and experience a day in the life of a dairy cow by watching real videos of cow behavior. Also, how does a cow's diet affect the milk you drink, and what exactly is in your milk?? Discuss real life farm practices and how they may, or may not, affect your health and nutrition. NOTE: Dairy products, hay, fur, latex involved. Students should wear clothes they don't mind getting dirty.

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 bug 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!

Minty-Fresh Cola Geysers: Understanding the Diet Coke and Mentos Phenomenon

Everyone has seen this carbonated curiosity.a few Mentos are dropped into a bottle of soda and seconds later a foamy shower erupts several feet high! But what is it about the combination of Diet Coke and Mentos that leads to this spectacular reaction? Is this the only combination that works? In this workshop, we will answer these questions by testing a variety of conditions to optimize this reaction (make a bigger geyser!) and understand the science behind this pop-culture phenomenon.

Air Flow and Convection

What makes and airplane fly? How can a hot air balloon take off and stay aloft? How about helicopters with their rotating blades? Many methods to accomplish ONE goal: fly! Come learn about the physics behind basic flight and propulsion. Try out some of our experiments with balloons, airfoils, and maybe even maple seeds...and learn about the first human kind designed aircraft!

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, sieves - you bring your rubber boots and sense of adventure. NOTE: Off campus, outdoors.

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 all the new shoe designs.

The Sol Family!

Do you look exactly like your sister or brother? Do you look more like your aunt or cousin? These are all members of your family, so you may look like some of them. Even if you don't look identical to your relatives, you may share some characteristics, such as the color of your eyes or the shape of your mouth. Maybe you don't look at all like your relatives! We will talk about one plant family, the Solanaceae (pronounced sol-uh-NAY-cee-ee). There are many, many members of this family and while they are all related, they look quite different from one another. Some plants you are familiar with are potato, tomato, eggplant, and peppers; you eat these! There are also some beautiful ornamental plants, such as petunia, in the family. Would you have ever guessed they were all related? While learning about this special and diverse family of plants, we created our own "Sol" family, by decorating the fruits with facial features. We all know about Mr. Potatohead but have you ever heard of Mr. Eggplanthead or Mr. Pepperhead!?

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 use information in their environment to learn how to share, socialize, and talk. Then in the Language Action Perception and Dynamics lab, we'll see how adults use information. Join us for infant vocalizations, adult language processing, and mind games.

The Incredible Edible Foam

Did you know about the science to 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!) can 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: Dairy allergies.

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. We will also launch a model rocket equipped with a video camera to see the flight from the rocket's perspective! NOTE: Outdoors, loud noises.


Diseases are everywhere, so why don't epidemics always happen? What can we do to stop disease in its tracks? Learn to make a mathematical model of an epidemic and try to stop it using basic public health tools. 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.

Colder Than Ice

Can you hammer nails into wood with a banana? Impossible. Or is it? Come discover how weird things can happen when objects get REALLY, REALLY cold. To top it off, enjoy ice cream made right before your eyes without a freezer! NOTE: Wear-closed toed shoes.

Make Your Own Perfume!

People have used perfume and oils on their bodies for thousands of years. In this workshop, 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 chemical engineering tools that companies use to make products such as these for millions of people.

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!

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. NOTE: Off-campus, outdoors, feather allergies.

Pigments, Polymers, Paint

Our world is covered in paint. Walls, cars, art.we even paint our fingernails! But, what is paint made of and why are there so many different types? Come learn the chemistry behind paint and the answers to questions like what gives paint its color and how does it stick to surfaces? The answers will be explained as you make your own paint pigments and your own paint. You will even use your homemade paint to create some art you can take home! NOTE: Closed-toe shoes.

Seeing the Universe Through Multi-Colored Glasses

Did you know that the Universe is filled with colors that your eyes cannot see? Learn how amazing the Universe looks at other wavelengths. See how you and the world look in a totally different light when you look through a heat-detecting infrared camera. Then see the Universe in many new lights as you explore beautiful images of several astronomical objects taken at different wavelengths. Learn how astronomers use such images to understand the Universe and the objects within it.

<CANCELLED> Environmental Economics: Getting the Green By Being Green

Think that facing many of the worlds environmental challenges are going to be costly? Think again. Addressing many environmental concerns may in fact save money, create jobs and improve the standard of living. Learn about the many environmental challenges the world faces and the solutions proposed to address them. Discover ways that you can save both energy and money. Try your hand at a game based off of global carbon trade, slated to be a 1 Trillion dollar market in a few years. Participants will go home with a understanding about how environmental decisions can be grounded in sound economic theory, a knowledge of ways to personally save money while helping environment, and an intrigue into one of the most lucrative fields that will emerge in the next couple of years.

Alchemy 101

Alchemists of the Middle Ages struggled to find the fabled Philosopher's Stone, a substance that could transform common materials into precious metals. In this workshop you will succeed where they failed, transforming sugar and salt into a beautiful silver mirror. And if that doesn't make chemistry sound cool, we'll also make water glow.

Eureka! The Science of Research & Discovery

Ever wonder what it means to do scientific research? How do scientists investigate the world and make discoveries? Here, you'll learn about the scientific method firsthand by observing scientific phenomena and designing your own experiments to collect data and figure out what's going on.

The Science of Soap!

Society of Women Engineers Community Outreach Committee presents "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 (involving surface tension and alkali salts) and how other household cleaners work. In this workshop, you will have a chance to experiment with soap making and take home your own homemade soap!

Loud Construction Workers of the Invisible World

What would you do if you were stuck outside in the snow without even a coat? Do you think you could stay warm if you had 20 friends with you by sticking close together? What if you had to live underwater, in ice, boiling water, or even soap? Do you think you could learn how? Bacteria have, and they live in all of these places by finding their friends close by and working together to build houses, called biofilms. We are going to discover how bacteria can find and talk to their friends so they can build these special houses that protect them from the 'outside' world. I hope you like to glow!

Breaking the Incan Code

Description: What if you had no way of writing down numbers? The Incan people had no written language, but had a way of recording numbers in knotted strings called quipus. Come and investigate how to read these ancient records and then learn to make one yourself!

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 how they can be treated.

Fun With Fluids!

We've flown through the air in planes and swum in water. We've eaten honey and use toothpaste everyday. What's the common link . they all deal with fluids! 70% of our bodies are made of water, but what really is a fluid? What makes water different from honey? How do planes fly? Come and explore the fascinating world of fluids! In this workshop, we'll learn about fluids by playing with cannons, we'll show you how you can walk on water and even peek into the exciting realm of microfluidics! NOTE: May get messy.

Ocean Odyssey

Come get cozy with corals and other ocean creatures that call the reef home! Discover Cornell's very own miniature coral reef in this workshop that will let you see, hear, and touch coral inhabitants such as jellyfish, sea stars, sea urchins and more. We will also learn about the amazing diversity of these natural wonders and explore ways in which marine biologists monitor, study, and protect the world's coral reef ecosystems.

The Magic of Flight

Flight has been a dream of mankind since Ancient Greece. These days, we have planes that can travel to space! Come learn about how adventurous explorers throughout history worked toward achieving this dream in theory and experimentation. Discover how and why planes can fly and perform amazing feats in nothing but thin air! Finally, we will build and experiment with various plane designs with the goal of making them fly farther, longer, or just a little differently than your average plane.

Mayor For A Day

Have you ever been annoyed at how far the ice-cream shop is from your home? If you were made Mayor for a day, and could decide where all the ice-cream shops went, where would you put them so that you and your friends could all get to the ice-cream easily? Suppose you also needed to arrange for the roads to be shoveled in the winter, but the City didn't have enough money to shovel them all. How would you shovel the roads so that every kid in town could still get to the ice-cream shops if they felt like a chocolate sundae with hot fudge on a cold winter's day? Surprisingly, answering one of these questions is easy, while the other is not. Can you guess which is which? Come discover the answer with us. In doing so, you will encounter two of the most important questions in computer science, and learn some of the fundamental principles underlying the application of computer science to real-world problems. We'll bring the ice cream!

Brain Games

What's in your head? Find out how your brain lets you eat, watch television and breathe all at once. Learn the parts of the brain like countries on a map - where are they, what do they do, what happens if they're gone? For all you brave souls: we will see real human brains, cut open animal brains, and color toy brains that you can take home.

Computers: Counting with Two Fingers

Contrary to popular belief, computers are really quite dumb: They need to be told exactly what to do and how, and they can only do math with 0s and 1s. (The catch is, they do this *really* fast.) In this session we will see how humans stack up against computers in arithmetic. Then we will use real chips to build a mini-computer.

Driving on Mars

Ever wanted to travel to another planet? Ever wondered how NASA's space missions really work? Meet our scientists who operate the Mars Exploration Rovers, and learn how we drive robots on the surface of the Red Planet. We'll simulate a real operation, and you'll get to see first-hand how the rovers work. We'll also learn about the newest discoveries on Mars, and see the latest pictures from the rovers.

Liquid crystals

Nanotechnology provides us with the ability to manipulate materials at the atomic scale. There are a lot of examples of nanotechnology in objects that we use every day. One example are liquid crystal displays and we find them in televisions, computer monitors and other devices. A liquid crystal is a substance whose molecules can flow like a liquid and have the molecular order of a crystalline solid. Some liquid crystals are sensitive to changes in temperature that causes the material to absorb and reflect different wavelengths of light. This particular liquid crystal is sensitive between the temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius and 35 degrees Celsius. Different ratios of the three chemicals cause it to change color within different temperature ranges. You will get to learn more about how liquid crystals behave, watch different kinds of liquid crystals in action and then create your own liquid crystal that changes color with temperature!

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.