Fall Saturday Explorations
Shodor > SUCCEED > Curriculum > Workshops > Fall Saturday Explorations

Course Description:

What's one of the secrets to success in mathematics or science? Developing your skills as a good observer! On five Saturdays during the Fall, Shodor will hold workshops to look at a variety of areas in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), that combine hands-on activities with computer and network explorations, while discovering the role of computers and communications technologies in modern science. Saturday Explorations in Science and Mathematics workshops are intended for students in grades 6 through 8 (or the home school equivalent). Younger students who are particularly mature and older students who are interested may also be considered.

Once again we have an exciting partnership with North Carolina Central University. The Fall Saturday Explorations students will be invited to participate in CyberAdventures. CyberAdventures is a morning of hands-on experiments or computational activities that are both entertaining and informative. Topics range from Chemistry to Geospatial Sciences. Topics are dependent upon the availability of NCCU faculty.

**Topics subject to change**

2018 Fall course schedule

  • Oct. 20th at NCCU: Dr. Yan

    "CyberAdventures: Murder in the First Degree - Death of Mr. Spud"

    The objective of this activity is to measure the rate of heat loss from a potato (representing a body) and see how it depends on the temperature of the surroundings. In a murder investigation, a forensic expert may be called in to determine the time of death. Such determinations may involve examining the contents of the victim's stomach or inspecting decomposing insects on the body. One interesting approach is to examine the temperature of the body. Human body temperature is approximately 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Immediately after a person dies, the body temperature begins to drop. By determining how far the temperature has dropped, you may be able to arrive at an accurate measure of the time of death. This information could play an important role in either the prosecution or defense of an alleged criminal.

  • Oct. 27th at Shodor

    "Intro to iPhone App Development"

    Students will learn the basics of mobile app development in the context of Apple's iDevices (iPhone, iPad). We'll use Xcode, Apple's development environment, to create apps which we can run in an iPhone simulator. We want students to learn the basics of computer programming, how to develop applications in a graphical development environment, and good software design principles. At the end of the day, students will be able to take home the code they write to use on other iDevices.

  • Nov. 3rd at Shodor

    "Explorations in Engineering: Structural"

    Bright young adults will often display an interest and an aptitude for 'tinkering' - directly exploring how mechanical items, electronics and other items function and then mentally creating improvements to the design. The goal of this workshop is to foster this attitude with interesting examples while also providing a more traditionally academic math and science context - in essence, introducing the culture of engineering in it's modern, computer-driven form. Students will learn to explore and question with the motive of eventually shaping the world around them.

  • Nov. 10th at Shodor

    "Graphic Design: Logos"

    In addition to giving students some insight into how graphics -- from visualizations of molecules to the latest Hollywood effects -- are created with computers, this workshop will acquaint students with some free graphics tools that they can continue to use at home. Students will use these tools to duplicate many popular logos and then ultimately create their own.

  • Nov. 17th at Shodor

    "Explorations in Engineering: Electrical"

    Have you ever wondered how electrical devices operate? In this workshop, we will explore the flow of electricity both visually and mathematically through a series of hands-on experiments and computer simulations. Students will then learn how to build simple circuits and draw their respective circuit diagrams.

Structure of activities:

Session size is limited to 20 participants in order to assure a high-quality learning atmosphere. Students work both in teams and individually in a supervised, hands-on educational environment. Every day they learn about new scientific approaches and tools. Afterwards, they have the opportunity to try them out for themselves in our computer lab.

Educational Objectives:

Students often do not have the opportunity to experience the tools and techniques that drive cutting-edge scientific research. In fact, most school science curricula hardly mention the revolutionary new approaches modern science uses daily to research such areas as galaxy formation, volcanic eruptions, cardiovascular activity, the spread of disease, and a host of other interests. Saturday Explorations during Science and Mathematics workshops are designed to expose students to the high technology environment in which most scientists now work and the specialized critical thinking and communication skills they must have to be successful there.

Facilities and equipment:

All activities take place either at the Shodor headquarters in Durham, North Carolina or North Carolina Central University. Participants use high-performance laptops and local servers equipped with computational software, which the students learn how to use throughout their classes.


Participants should be 6th - 8th graders (or the equivalent) and interested in science and/or mathematics. Younger students who are particularly mature and older students who are well behaved may also be considered. While some experience with computers is helpful, it is not required.