Afterschool Expeditions

Weekly drop-in program for K-8 students during the school year

Afterschool Expeditions is a free drop-in program for students in grades K-8 to explore, engage and discover science from UW–Madison and the Morgridge Institute for Research with structured hands-on activities. This program takes place at two locations during the fall semester.  

Afterschool Expeditions at the Discovery Building
330 N. Orchard St., Madison, WI 53715

The program takes place Monday afternoons during the school year from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and includes two 45-minute guided activities. Fall semester dates are every Monday from September 28 to December 7.
Register for Afterschool Expeditions at the Discovery Building.

Afterschool Expeditions at the South Madison Partnership Center
Villager Mall, 2312 S. Park St., Madison, WI 53713

The program takes place select Tuesday afternoons during the fall semester from 3:30 to 5 p.m. and includes two 45-minute guided activities. Fall semester dates are October 6, October 20, November 3, November 17 and December 1.
Register for Afterschool Expeditions at the South Madison Partnership Center.

Selections vary from week to week. Each activity is led by a trained staff member or volunteer and includes interactive, hands-on activities.  

Our activities cover a broad spectrum of scientific topics. In one 45-minute activity, students may learn about: 

  • Fossils: Explore the worlds of paleontology and archaeology, focusing on the formation, excavation and examination of fossils.
  • Water Chemistry: Investigate the properties of water through a series of water-related experiments to learn more about cohesion, adhesion and density.   
  • Fibonacci: Learn about the amazing Fibonacci sequence (0+1=1, 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5) that is found in nature and featured in five art installations in the Town Center of the Discovery Building.
  • Moon Drop: Take on the engineering challenge! Build a spacecraft to help your astronauts land safely on the moon.
  • Mesozoic: Travel back in time to the Mesozoic Age to explore what the Earth looked like during the time of the dinosaurs.
  • And more!

When You Arrive
Activities will start promptly. Please consider arriving a few minutes early so you are prepared to begin on time.

Upon arrival, please check in with a staff member at your Afterschool Expeditions location. Once you are checked in, you will be directed to your first 45-minute activity. Once that activity has been completed, participants will switch to a second activity. Staff will lead participants to their activity location during the switch. Participants are requested to stay at their activity for the full 45 minutes.

Participant Expectations
Participants are encouraged to listen and follow directions of Afterschool Expeditions staff, volunteers and/or group chaperones.

Chaperones and parents are expected to stay with their youth at all times. Additionally, chaperones and adults are encouraged to assist in activities, ask questions and assist with keeping youth engaged.

For participants at the Discovery Building, we encourage youth to view the interactive science displays and have fun, but please keep in mind that the Discovery Building is a research facility and professional workplace.

Transportation Reimbursement
Limited funds are available to reimburse all or part of the cost of transportation for qualifying groups to bring school-aged children to Afterschool Expeditions. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis for programs that support students eligible for free/reduced lunch. Groups can indicate their interest when they register for Afterschool Expeditions.

Parking at the Discovery Building
Low-cost parking is available across University Avenue in lot 20. Low-cost parking also is available behind Engineering Hall in lot 17.

If you need immediate assistance, please contact Becky Balistreri at or 608.316.4382. If you have general questions about the program, please contact Dan Murphy at or 608.316.4656.

The Afterschool Expeditions program is made possible through financial support from the Monsanto Fund.

Register now!

Register for Afterschool Expeditions at the Discovery Building.

Register for Afterschool Expeditions at the UW South Madison Partnership.

Adult supervision is always required, with at least one adult (18 years or older) chaperone per 10 youth.

Registration is requested for individuals and groups. For smaller groups and families, registration is encouraged, but drop-ins are accepted. There is no cost to participate.

Call for Presenters!

Interested in presenting at Afterschool Expeditions? Sign up here.

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Would you like to receive emails about specific programs taking place in the Town Center of the Discovery Building? Sign up here.