Saturday Explorations in Science and Math
Shodor > SUCCEED > Curriculum > Workshops > Saturday Explorations in Science and Math

Course Description:

What's the secret to success in mathematics or science? Developing your skills as a good observer! On several Saturdays during the spring and fall we will look at a variety of areas in different sciences and mathematics, combining hands-on activities with computer and network explorations, 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 well-behaved may also be considered. As with Shodor's summer SUCCEED (Stimulating Understanding of Computational science through Collaboration, Exploration, Experiment and Discovery) workshops, we will go beyond merely "surfing the 'Net'": we'll apply effective search techniques, the tools of on-line collaboration, the basics of computer modeling, how to evaluate the credibility of an information source, and how to retrieve and organize on-line information. Once the basics are mastered, participants will be able to explore a scientific subject area of their choice, with the support and guidance of Shodor Foundation scientists and interns. This could be a great start on a science fair project that uses computer explorations. Scientific expertise among Foundation staff includes physics, astronomy, chemistry, anthropology, biology, mathematics, paleontology, the environmental sciences, engineering and biomedical studies.

This year we have an exciting new partnership with North Carolina Central University. The Spring Saturday Explorations students will be invited to participate in CybAdventures. CybAdventures is a morning of hands-on experiments and computational activities that are both entertaining and informative. Students will be introduced to web-based activities to assist them in learning about CyberInfrastructure and how to apply computational resources to their learning process.

Structure of activities:

Session size is limited to 18 participants in order to assure a high quality learning atmosphere. Participants work both in teams and individually in a supervised, hands-on learning environment. Each day they learn about new scientific approaches and tools and then have the opportunity to try them out for themselves in our iBook 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. Explorations in 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 at the Shodor headquarters in downtown Durham, North Carolina. Participants will be using high-performance laptops, local servers, and remote supercomputers equipped with computational software which the students will learn how to use throughout their classes.


Participants should be 6th - 8th graders (or the equivalent) and interested in science and 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.