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Get hands-on with science workshops

The MOST offers 45-minute unscripted, hands-on experimental investigations that are great for small groups with a maximum of 25 students. During these workshops, one or several topics are covered. The programs usually feature both demonstrations and related hands-on activities, and vary with the participants.

All workshops meet New York State and national science standards.

You can experience a workshop two ways: during a visit to the museum or bring the science to your group with our traveling science program, called Science on the Go. These workshops are most often held at libraries and during special activity days in elementary or middle schools, but can be adapted for other venues and age groups, too. Facility needs include tables and chairs where attendees can work, and another table in front for the presenter.

Workshop topics listed below are programs that were developed in the past, but we would be happy to alter an existing program or create a new program appropriate for the age and previous experience of the group, and the intended purpose for the program.

Cost: $350 per workshop
Mileage: Mileage is free inside Onondaga County. Venues outside of Onondaga County are charged $.575 per mile
Audience Size: Up to 25 students
Length: 45 minutes
Contact: Science on the Go coordinator Please contact our Science on the Go coordinator for more information.

Groups must book workshops at least three weeks in advance with our group sales coordinator.

Balloon Science
Explores a variety of science concepts using balloons, including screaming balloons, balloon rockets, mini-hovercrafts and the expanding Universe.

Explore the properties of bubbles by making a bubble trampoline, pipe cleaner bubble blowers, bubbles inside bubbles, bubbles without wands, square bubbles, and giant bubbles. Discover how to catch bubbles and why they pop. Try making a bubble snake and bubbles with clouds inside.

Catapults and launchers
Students demonstrate Newton's Second Law of Motion with slingshots and miniature airplane launchers. Students build, test, and modify catapult designs.

DNA extraction
Fundamentals of DNA structure are introduced and reinforced while students extract DNA from strawberries. Each student leaves the workshop with DNA in a plastic tube.

Early Astronomy
We have two different versions of this workshop.

  • Use play dough to figure out relative sizes of the earth and moon or the relative sizes of all the planets in our solar system.
  • Make a paper cup constellation to view parts of the night sky, a model of the expanding universe and a star chart. Touch a meteorite.

Fossils provide a fascinating look at plants and animals from long ago. Our hands-on collection will provide a look at fossils frequently found in our area. Students may be introduced to sedimentary rock formation and how we can date fossils.

Goop and silly putty
Explore the properties of oobleck, a non-Newtonian solid, to examine how matter behaves in its liquid form and its solid form. Learn how a similar compound of sheer thickening fluid might be used to treat Kevlar fabric to make liquid body armor. Compare the characteristics of oobleck to silly putty, which can be solid enough to bounce or liquid enough to flow.

Harry Potter Potions Class
Enjoy a potions class, just like at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. We start with a potion to check for Muggles, make a few potion recipes, then use our supplies to create a new potion with magical properties. Supplies include unicorn horn, bezoars, dragon spit, and rat's claws.

Ice balloons
This workshop invites the learner to tap into prior knowledge about cold temperatures, ice, and freezing in general. Experimenters learn about the relative properties of liquid water, water vapor, and ice, as well as the temperature at which ice freezes. Groups of older students also learn about density, weight, and surface area.

Kitchen chemistry
Participants pound spinach and cabbage leaves to identify the pigments found in them. The pigment in red cabbage leaves is used to make an acid-base indicator. After using the indicator to see what color changes occur for a known acid and a known base, the indicator is used to test the acidity of other items commonly found in the kitchen: lemon juice, tomato juice, baking soda, grape juice, cream of tartar, tea, and water.

How small is nano?
How small is a nanometer? How does size make a difference? Test modifications scientists have made based on biomimicry at the nano scale: nano sand and nano pants. See how changes made on the nanoscale can make big changes on the macroscale. Workshop includes introduction to liquid crystals, memory wire, and ferrofluids.

Newton's Laws of Motion
Students demonstrate Newton's three Laws of Motion using a slippery cloth, cups and saucers, catapults, and balloon rockets. They also use miniature hovercrafts to experiment with reduced friction.

Simple Machines in the Kitchen
Simple machines can make work in the kitchen easier. Identify wheels, pulleys, inclined planes, wedges, screws, and levers used in food preparation. After simple machines are introduced, students visit stations to try out an apple peeler, carrot peeler, cheese slicer, chopsticks, egg slicer, egg beater, lettuce spinner, knife, melon scoop, and salt grinder. Tasting is optional.
Literature tie-in: How Do You Lift A Lion? by Bill Wells

Splashes and other properties of water
We have two different versions of this workshop.

  • An exploration for younger children that includes transferring water, splashes, water pressure, buoyancy, and diffusion. Participants are challenged to build a raft out of provided materials that can hold weight. After testing, they are encouraged to redesign their raft.
  • This workshop challenges students to make water go uphill using balloons, funnels, tubing and pipettes. Along the way, participants learn about displacement, surface tension, absorbency, and solutions.

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