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Student Workshops for 2022

Have you participated in any of the workshops before? Please note that the workshops offered in the past will present the same contents as they did last year.

7th and 8th Grade Workshop Descriptions

1. 3D Modeling and the New Indiana Jones

Archaeology and Engineering: 3D modeling small artifacts

Do you love history? Do you want to study the past? This workshop will explore how STEM can play a role in advancing what we know about past civilizations. You will work with real ancient artifacts, scanning and creating models that will help further academic research while also creating access to the artifacts for those who live both locally and abroad.

2. Alien Worlds

Astronomy: Exoplanets

Alien Worlds workshop
Alien Worlds workshop

Did you know that space telescopes like Kepler and TESS have discovered thousands of alien worlds orbiting stars just like our Sun? Come build a mini planet system to observe a planet eclipsing its star and learn how astronomers use these observations to explore distant worlds. We’ll also show you how to become a citizen scientist and help with real scientific research discovering exoplanets from the comfort of your own home!

3. Beyond Bacon: Why Fats are So Important

Chemistry: Chemical biology

Fats are a major component of some of our favorite foods, from bacon, to ice cream, French fries, and potato chips, but that is not all that fats are or do. This workshop delves into the amazing world of unique roles that they play in our bodies. Fats help keep animals warm in the winter, hold your body’s cells together, keep you from turning into a mummy, and so much more. Join us to learn how they do it!

4. Black Widow vs. Wonder Woman

Biology: Checkpoints and mutations in replication

Black Widow vs. Wonder Woman workshop
Black Widow vs. Wonder Woman workshop

Ever wonder what you have in common with Black Widow and Wonder Woman? Your body does amazing things and you just don’t know it! Like the super spy Black Widow, it can decode secret messages. It can also make sure your cells only tell the truth when talking to other cells, just like Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth! These superpowers help make us who we are and allow us to do incredible things. Come discover how “super” you are and better understand some of your favorite heroes!

5. Cell City Relay

Biology: Cell biology

Cell City Relay workshop
Cell City Relay workshop

Have you ever wondered how the tiny cells that make up our bodies ultimately govern everything that we do? Or how your cells communicate with each other to fight off pathogens? Join us as we shrink down to become the organelles inside of a cell and conduct our own cell signaling relay race. You’ll also get to stain a slide with your own cells and see different cell types under the microscope!

6. "De-Spelling" the Magic of Coding

Computer Science: Introduction to Python programming

At first glance, coding seems a lot like magic. It requires knowledge of different commands and components that are put together to cast incredible spells! While coding won’t let you shoot fireballs or make yourself invisible, it can allow you to do amazing things with your computer! In this workshop, learn how to navigate the mystical world of your computer and put together “potions” using the Python coding language. This workshop does not require a background in coding and is designed to help beginners learn some of the basics of coding through fun and magical activities!

7. Enigmatic Magnetics

Physics: Magnetism

What do computer memory, hydroelectric power and electric cars have in common? Magnetism! Magnetism is used every day to encode information on computers, harvest clean energy to power our cities and power electric cars. Explore how the technology of tomorrow will use magnets!

8. Exploring Math: Patterns and Puzzles

Mathematics: Game theory, probability, and topology

Exploring Math workshop
Exploring Math workshop

Do you know how to win games every time? Or how to calculate and maximize your chances of winning a game? Or what happens when you can teleport across the board while playing tic-tac-toe? We will explore these ideas using twists on common games to introduce notions of strategy and mathematical analysis.

9. Fabricating Fab Fabrics

Fiber Science: Fabric and fabric structures

We cannot make it through a single day without interacting with fabrics, but have you ever wondered how the different fabrics are made or which ones are chosen for different applications? In this workshop, students will learn how woven and knit fabrics are formed by BECOMING a human weaving loom and circular knitting machine. They will also explore how variations in fiber choice and fabric structure affect the final properties and applications.

10. Fantastic Flies

Biology: Fruit flies and genetics

Why don't you look just like your siblings or parents? To begin exploring where these differences come from we will take a close look, a really close look at pesky fruit flies. In this activity we will see how small changes can lead to very different looking flies and make genetics very tangible.

11. Fueling Your Gut Reactions!

Biology: Gut microbiome

Fueling Your Gut Reactions workshop
Fueling Your Gut Reactions workshop

Did you know that there are TRILLIONS of tiny microbes living inside your gut? Scientists refer to this community of microbes as the gut microbiome. Join us to learn about the chemical reactions these microbes carry out, both inside your intestines and during the production of some of our favorite foods!

12. Googling with Paper Airplanes

Computer Science: Computer networking

Have you ever wondered how computers talk to each other? How a video from California gets onto your phone in New York? Would you like to throw paper airplanes? In this workshop, you will learn how the internet works by throwing paper airplanes!

13. Holey Cow

Animal Science: Biology and nutrition

Holey Cow workshop
Holey Cow workshop

How do cows turn hay into milk? Come meet Sunny, our fistulated cow, and explore a cow’s stomach and experience aspects of life as a dairy cow. Learn what cows eat and how food gets digested. You will get to place your hand in a cow's stomach (called a rumen) and look at its contents under a microscope.

Note: Dairy products, hay, fur, latex involved. Students should wear clothes they do not mind getting dirty.

14. Minty Fresh!

Chemistry: Synthetic organic chemistry

Breath mints, toothpaste, chewing gum, mint chocolate! Do you want to learn what compounds are responsible for these scents? Come synthesize the oil of wintergreen from aspirin and learn about chemical properties and molecular structures while working in a laboratory setting!

15. Plant Domestication and Adaptation: A Seed Dispersal Game

Biology: Genetics of plant domestication and seed dispersal

Become an ancient plant and adapt your “seeds” for dispersing in the wild, then, become a modern plant and domesticate your “seeds” to help early farmers make plants more suitable for agriculture in a 10,000 year long process called plant domestication.

16. Radioactive World

Chemistry: Radioactivity

Radioactive World workshop
Radioactive World workshop

From energy to medicine to everyday life, radioactivity is all around us. As scientists, we solve problems and learn about different systems by using radioactivity in techniques including carbon dating and cancer therapy. Join us as we learn how to identify, detect, and understand fundamental nuclear chemistry!

17. Reverse Your Taste Buds

Biology: Cell signaling

Reverse Your Taste Buds workshop
Reverse Your Taste Buds workshop

How do we differentiate the tastes of so many different foods? How does our tongue work to allow us to taste sweet, salty, or sour? Wouldn't it be nice if vegetables tasted sugary sweet? Well, maybe they can! The miracle berry fruit contains a compound that will turn your taste buds upside down! With this workshop, discover the science behind taste and the molecular signaling events that make it all possible.

18. Soft Robotics Race to the Finish Line

Mechanical Engineering: Soft robotics

Do you want to race robots and compete in a competition to grip and pick up objects with robots? Have you ever wondered how to make robots and design them to perform different tasks? Come race some robots and discover how you can design robots to perform different tasks!

19. Somebody Call the Plant Doctor!

Biology: Plant pathology

Somebody Call the Plant Doctor workshop
Somebody Call the Plant Doctor workshop

Somebody call the doctor...the plant doctor! Have you ever wondered what’s spoiling your favorite fruits and veggies? Plants can get sick, just like you. Take a trip with us to the lab and solve the mystery of what is killing your tomato plants, ruining your grapes, and making your potatoes a rotten mess!

Note: Food allergens (corn and plums). Pollen and plant allergens.

20. Squeaky Clean Brains

Cell Biology and Neuroscience: Neurodegeneration

Almost ten years ago, the Ice Bucket challenge went viral, generating millions of dollars to help fund research for ALS. In this workshop, we dive into the science behind neurodegenerative disorders such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Perhaps you’ve wondered how these diseases affect the brain and what causes them to arise. Wonder no more! Cells, just like people living in a city, produce garbage. Cells can’t function if the garbage is not cleaned off the streets. Therefore, cells in our body use specialized “garbage trucks” to remove this cellular garbage to maintain our health. In this workshop, you will be responsible for removing litter from the brain until it’s squeaky clean before it’s too late! Come learn what brain cells do to stay clean, and how cellular garbage can otherwise cause diseases like ALS and Alzheimer’s.

21. Tree-Ring Time Detectives

Ecology and Archaeology: Dendrochronology

Tree-Ring Time Detectives workshop
Tree-Ring Time Detectives workshop

Tree-rings are time capsules that can tell us stories about past climate, environment, and human history. In this workshop, you will learn the secrets of how trees grow and get a close look at how dendrochronologists (tree-ring scientists) use tree-rings to unlock the past. Come use your own tree-ring detective skills to sleuth out the histories of local trees, learn how to dig up timber from ancient environments, and even use tree-rings to spot forged paintings!

9th Grade Workshop Descriptions

Schedules will be available on the day of the conference.

22. 3D Digital Fashion

Fashion and Human-centered Design: 3D digital technologies for fashion design

Have you ever wondered how garments are designed? What is the science and practice behind designing and testing a garment before it was mass-produced? Who decides about how garments would fit? Join us as we give you behind the scenes information related to high-tech fashion design with 3D body scanners and virtual simulation software! Interested participants will get their 3D body scan avatars and garment patterns at the end of the workshop.

23. Baffling Bugs at the Cornell University Insect Collection

Entomology: Insect diagnostics, identification and curation

Ever heard of a bug scientist? We welcome you to the wonderful world of entomology, where you can study anything with 6 legs! The Cornell University Insect Collection is home to over 7 million creepy crawlies. Join us in learning how to identify and curate insect specimens. As a bonus: you can take home your very own pinned insect.

24. Bone-afide Archaeology

Archaeology: Bioarchaeology and zooarchaeology

Have you ever wondered how archaeologists learn about the past? Have you ever wanted to learn about bones and what they can tell you about ancient (and modern) people and societies? Come join us on an archaeological expedition to learn about the people and animals who populated an ancient site! Learn fundamental skills of osteological analysis, such as differentiating between animal species, types of bone fractures, and estimating height and age-at-death.

25. Brainsss!

Psychology and Biology: Neuroscience

Brainssss workshop
Brainssss workshop

Your brain lets you walk, talk, chew gum, breathe, think about what you want for lunch, and more—all at the same time! We use our brains every single second of every single day but scientists are only just beginning to understand how that lumpy chunk of gray matter in your head works. Learn about how scientists study the brain (hint: they study the brains of animals!) and about the different parts of the brain - where they are, what do they do, what happens if they're gone. For all you brave souls: we will see (and touch!) real human and animal brains and meet the animals whose brains we study.

Note: Animal allergens.

26. Curious Curvatures

Physics: Elasticity and geometry

Why does a slice of pizza flop down, but if we curl the edges in, it becomes easy to eat? Can paper be elastic? what happens if we cut rubber sheets? and what does origami have to do with it? In this workshop we will explore the geometry and physics of paper, trying to understand how cuts and folds allow us to change its behavior, and how this behavior inspires the designs of new micro-robots.

27. Eavesdropping on the Ocean: Learning about Marine Life through Sound

Ecology: Marine biology, marine acoustics, and marine conservation

What does an ocean sound like? Dive right into the symphony of the sea, tuning in to the sounds of both the smallest and largest organisms on earth. Listen to the bellowing song of the humpback whale and the quick snap of the snapping shrimp! In this workshop through games and other activities, we will discover what sounds are lying beneath the ocean’s surface and learn how they are being utilized by scientists, including those leading the workshop.

Note: Sounds will be played out loud that cover a variety of pitches in and out of the human hearing range.

28. Help Cure Alzheimer's Disease!

Neuroscience and Collective Intelligence: Crowdsourcing a cure for Alzheimer's disease

Have you ever wondered what the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s disease looks like? Healthy brains have healthy blood vessels, but in Alzheimer’s, blood vessels often get plugged, slowing down the flow of blood and speeding up brain cell death. You can help pick out clogged vessels or “stalls” in Alzheimer’s brains and contribute to finding a cure by playing an online game called Stall Catchers! Whoever catches the most “stalls” wins a prize!

29. Plastics from Plants

Chemistry: Polymer chemistry

Even though plastic is an important part of everyday life (phone cases, water-bottles, toothbrushes, oh my!) it sticks around way too long after we are done using it—think hundreds of years! But what if plastic didn’t end up in our oceans, lakes, and forests, but could break down naturally instead? In this workshop, we will learn how chemists reduce pollution by making degradable plastics from natural sources. Team up with us to make our own “green” plastics from everyday plants, like corn, rice, and wheat!

30. Program Your Own Animation

Computer Science: Programming, animation, and computer gaming

Do you love Moana or Zootopia? Interested in how animators make cartoons fly? Do you like to play puzzle games? If you’ve ever wondered about what it takes to make something creative with the computer, this workshop is for you! We will teach you basics of Scratch, a popular free program, to make characters fly. We’ll teach you computer science techniques to make your animations super cool with interactions and fun effects! Come make animations and discover how the inner details of programming can help you create!

31. R.I.P. SpongeBob... Whodunit?

Biology and Chemistry: Forensics Science (DNA analysis, fingerprinting, blood splatter analysis, hair identification, fibers, etc.)

Who did it? One day you walk into the Krusty Krab to grab a cheesy, juicy Krabby Patty. But, you see a wet sponge plopped on the floor... oh no! It is Spongebob! A spatula is stabbed right through his heart -- he does not have a pulse. You can't forgive whoever did this as the murderer killed your favorite burger maker. Was it cynical Squidward, crabby Mr. Krabs, sneaky little Plankton, Sandy Cheeks, or even seemingly-dense Patrick Star? You are determined to carry out an investigation. Who killed him? and how? Learn about DNA, fingerprint and blood type identifications, blood splatter analysis, and more.

32. Remote Sensing Superpowers: Airphotos, Satellites, and Spatial Thinking

Geographic Information Science: Image interpretation and analysis

You may have used Google Maps to find your way around or Google Earth to look at satellite images of your neighborhood. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Did you know that the first aerial photograph was taken in 1858? Do you want to learn how data from aerial and satellite imagines is used to make maps and 3D landscape models, and how these products can be used for further geospatial exploration? At our workshop we will introduce you to historical and digital remote sensed imagery, the math behind it and software that helps you looks at it in a different way.

33. Turning on the Lights

Physics: Electricity and magnetism

Turning on the Lights workshop
Turning on the Lights workshop

Have you ever passed by a wind farm and wondered what the “windmills” were for? Wind farms convert the energy in the wind into electricity that can be used to power your computer or phone. Join us in this exciting workshop, where you will get to build your very own wind electricity generator and test it to turn real lights on!

Previous Years’ Workshops