What's one of the secrets to success in mathematics or science? Developing your skills as a good observer! On five Saturdays during the Spring we will hold workshops to look at a variety of areas in science, technology, engineering or 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 Spring Saturday Explorations students will be invited to participate in CybAdventures. CybAdventures 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**
"Explorations in Engineering" -- Projectile Motion
Have you ever thrown a ball during a sporting activity? How about launching an object from a catapult? By using math and computer modeling, the trajectory of all of these projectiles can be simulated to predict where they will land. In this workshop, students will learn about 'aeronautical' engineering so the next time they get into a water balloon fight, they can win before ever throwing a balloon.
"To Infinity and Beyond: Learning About Fractals"
This workshop is designed to introduce middle school students to fractals through the exploration of the history and geometric properties of fractals. Participants develop a key understanding of the underlying concepts involved with fractals, including recursion, self-similarity, and fractal dimension.
Most of us use websites every day without stopping to wonder how they were made! Maybe you've always wanted to make a website but didn't know how or where to start. Or maybe you've experimented with HTML code but want to learn more. Students will learn about HTML and CSS code and how to create functioning websites.
"Explorations in Engineering" -- Circuits
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.
CybAdventures - "Redox Chemistry Inside the Breathalyzer: Determination of Blood Alcohol Content"
A breathalyzer is a device for estimating blood alcohol content (BAC) from a breath sample. The invention of the breathalyzer provided law enforcement with a non-invasive test providing immediate results to determine an individual's BAC at the time of testing. In this exercise, students will carry out the breathalyzer reaction in test tubes, and determine the amount of ethanol in an unknown breath sample.
Session size is limited to 15 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 computer lab.
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 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.
All activities take place at the Shodor headquarters in Durham, North Carolina and North Carolina Central University. Participants will use high-performance laptops and local servers 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.