Your field trip will include one workshop from Option A and one workshop from Option B. Each workshop is designed to accommodate up to 25 students. Groups larger than 25 will split into two smaller groups to do each activity simultaneously and then switch activities.

Please review our offerings available during the semester of your field trip and note the title of your top choices for Option A and Option B; you will need to enter these on your field trip registration form. Unfortunately we cannot offer two workshops from one option category during the same field trip.

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Spring 2018

Option A

Graphene: Engineering Supermaterials
Graphene is a form of carbon that is one-atom thick (too small to see with the naked eye!). Graphene is causing revolutions in solar cell creation, computer innovation and many other technological fields. Students will make graphene using chemical vapor deposition and then categorize the material with Raman spectroscopy.

Bioinformatics: Codes, Paths and Graphs
Animal cells are incredibly complex machines made up of proteins and other molecules. When we study these complex machines, enormous amounts of data are produced and scientists rely on computers and mathematics to make sense of it all. In this laboratory experience using yeast, computer coding and models, students will learn about medicine and biological science by taking a virtual tour of animal cells and their underlying proteins.

Math Circle
A common perception is that most mathematical questions were settled hundreds of years ago. In fact, new discoveries are constantly being made in mathematics, just like in science and medicine. We engage students in this creative side of mathematics through an interactive session facilitated by a research mathematician. While topics vary according to the expertise of the speaker, past examples include game theory, prime numbers and encryption. Any middle school or high school group is welcome.

Option B

A Differentiation Investigation: Characterizing Human Cells
Stem cells have unique abilities that make them different from fully differentiated cells. Students will collect scientific evidence in a variety of ways to compare stem cells to an unknown sample of cells. They will draw conclusions about whether the unknown cells are stem cells or another type of human cell. Students will make hypotheses, collect evidence, analyze results and draw conclusions about what they observe during the investigations.

Stem Cells: Directed Differentiation and Drug Discovery
Stem cells can differentiate into any cell type in the human body, allowing scientists to test new medications without having to ask a person to volunteer for patient drug trials. This makes new drugs safer and less expensive to bring to market. Students will learn about drug discovery and how stem cells play an important role while analyzing data from a simulated drug discovery trial. A hands-on lab activity simulates how pluripotent stem cells differentiate into nerve, skin, blood, muscle and pancreatic cells.

Stem Cell: LIVE CELLS*
Stem cell researchers spend time every day maintaining stem cell cultures. Students will work in a biosafety cabinet with live human stem cells to learn how and why scientists feed and passage their cells. Students will also participate in simulated experiments to discover how stem cells are used in science and medicine.
*Note: Long pants and closed-toe shoes are required. Students will wear appropriate protective equipment including gloves, goggles and lab coats. This experience has a maximum capacity of 18 students, takes two workshop slots, runs 150 minutes and will incur an additional materials cost of $250.

Junior Science Cafe**
Students will participate in a discussion with a scientist to learn about his/her work. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in a conversation with the scientist. We encourage teachers/students to prepare questions in advance of the Junior Science Cafe. This session includes a digital scavenger hunt to explore the features of the Discovery Building.
**Note: This will be automatically added as a third activity for groups larger than 50 students (up to 75). The large group will split into three smaller groups to accommodate 25 in each of our two labs and one group in the Junior Science Cafe. There will still be two 75-minute sessions but not all students will do the same two activities. 

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