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
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
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
5. Cell City Relay
Biology: Cell biology
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
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
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
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
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
13. Holey Cow
Animal Science: Biology and nutrition
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.
: Dairy products, hay, fur, latex involved. Students should wear clothes they do not mind
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
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
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 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!
: 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-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
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.
Psychology and Biology: Neuroscience
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.
: 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
: Sounds will be played out loud that cover a variety of pitches in and out of the human
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
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!