How to Sign Up
These programs are best suited to classrooms in the elementary schools. To sign up, reach out to the presenter directly to arrange a date, time, and means of connection that works best for you both.
Reach out to Katherine at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Ask a Physicist: Dr. Nathan Whitehorn
Dr. Nathan Whitehorn, IceCube Group, MSU Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
Explore physics through virtual demonstrations and activities such as cloud chamber particle detectors, listening to musical instruments to gain understanding of acoustic signatures and the Big Bang, and other phone-based tools used to analyze data from IceCube Neutrino Obsevatory at the South Pole.
Basic Bird ID
Lindsay Cain, Michigan Audubon
This short presentation with interactive slides will help students learn the fundamentals of identifying backyard birds and beyond. The presentation is set-up to cover the basics focusing on 4 main groups of characteristics; size & shape, color patterns, behavior, and habitat. The idea here is to empower students to explore their own backyards, neighborhoods, and nature areas.
Basic Bugs, Spiders and Slugs
Dr. Duke Elsner, Michigan Entomological Society
This class will provide a broad look at insects, spiders and some of their relatives. It will include how insects fill different roles in the web of life and show that some are very serious pests while others are extremely valuable to people.
Dr. Duke Elsner, Michigan Entomological Society
This class looks at the importance of bees to people. The role of bees in agriculture and food production will be emphasized, as well as the role of bees in natural ecosystems. Time permitting, bee conservation efforts could be presented.
Bird Banding Demonstration & Field Observation
Kristy Taylor, Michigan State Bird Observatory
Learn how the MSBO captures and bands birds using our mini-mist net set up! Using our mini-set up, students will learn how we extract birds from the nets, weigh birds and learn about bird health. They will also get to see real bird bands and learn how this helps to study migration and migratory stop-over site use. Students will also be asked to observe a bird outside their own windows and share their observations with the class.
Butterflies in the Garden
Norm Lownds, MSU Department of Horticulture & 4-H Children's Gardens
Join us for a virtual tour of Butterflies in the garden at MSU's Horticultural Gardens! Programs can be either live using Zoom or pre-recorded, whichever is most convenient to you.
Chocolate is a Berry
Dixie L Sandborn, MSU Extension 4-H
In this session youth will learn that chocolate comes from berries, and other fun chocolate facts. We will explore the early history and culture to learn more about the "food of the gods". Youth will be introduced how chocolate was only consumed as a drink until recent history, as well as learn how chocolate is grown and the science of making chocolate bars.
Climate Change’s Impact on Agriculture: An Agricultural Field Trip
Nidhi Dungrani, MSU Science Festival Student Science Communication Program
Do you ever wonder how climate change is affecting the produce that you buy from the Grocery Store or Farmers Market? Join me as we go through a Children’s book together, talking about what climate change is, and learning exactly how it is impacting the growth of fruits and vegetables on the farms. We will also take a look at different methods farmers are using to adapt to climate change. Finally, there are ways that you can help to reduce climate change's impact on agriculture, as well!
Community Science is for the Birds!
Kristy Taylor, MSU Bird Observatory
Students will learn about migratory bird adaptation and choose if a bird is a migratory bird or if it stays in our area during the winter. They will also learn about hazards to bird migration.
Jill Martin, Huron-Clinton Metroparks
Join an interpreter to virtually explore one of the ecosystems at Indian Springs Metropark. We will go onsite to a wetland or prairie and take measurements of windspeed, temperature, relative humidity, and light intensity. We will also observe the plants and any signs of animals. This is expected to be a live, synchronous field exploration, but a video back-up will be made available, as well. Students will be able to ask questions and explore in real-time. We will discuss how we keep ecosystems healthy in a park setting, which is good for people, but also plants and animals!
From Bugs to Butterflies
Dr. Duke Elsner, Michigan Entomological Society
A class to look at the tremendous diversity of the insect world. The many different body forms across the insect spectrum make it hard to recognize what is and what is not an insect
Glow in the Dark Bacteria
Chris Waters, MSU Microbiology
Join Dr. Waters and explore biolumescent bacteria! Bacteria Vibrio harveyi induce bioluminescence at high cell density by secreting small signaling molecules that accumulate with bacterial numbers. It is produces a beautiful greenish-blue light that is easily visible in a dark room. Come see it for yourself and learn all about it!
Getting Dirty! Or, Making Art with Dirt: Hands-on Soil Ecology
Daniel Hoffman, MSU Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences
What is dirt? What is dirt made of? We will explore what makes up dirt by feel and by observation. For grades 3-5, we can also explore the tiny animals that live in dirt. Using a small plastic bottle, mud, and water, tiny animals called microorganisms will eat, breath, and change the color of the mud over weeks, providing students with a model of life that changes over time and is beautiful to watch!
These activities are available in both English and Spanish, and can be tailored to your classroom needs. Please contact Daniel to discuss the Ask a Scientist program and potential collaborations with your classroom.
How do Flowers Bloom in the Spring?
Camilla Cai, MSU Science Festival Student Science Communication Program
Spring is here! What are the signs of the spring? There is a lot of things we can explore in the spring. In this package, you are going to learn how do flowers bloom in the spring. You will listen to a story, share your ideas with others and do some hands-on science activities.
How Students Can Play an Effective Societal Role Now and in the Future?
Muhammad Rabnawaz, MSU School of Packaging
Plastic is not a perfect material but a critical part of our future. But the increasing plastic waste is making our planet less sustainable. School students can play a significant role both now and in the future. How? I will address how school students can play an effective role in now and in the future.
How to Prevent the Spread of Disease in Four Easy Steps
Binyah Howard, MSU Science Communication Program
As we continue onto a full year of this pandemic, we have noticed how the mismanagement of a vicious viral disease has gotten us to where we are today. While we are taking steps to contain this disease, we are still not at a point that is comparable to a 2019 pre-pandemic state. Join Binyah's session to get a better understanding of how diseases spread. Be sure to follow along at home with a demonstration that can be made with common household items and gain the tools necessary for how to promote being healthy and safe.
Maureen Schaefer, MSU
Are you ready to move? Join us for a dynamic blend between the anatomical sciences and martial arts. Basic kicking and punching techniques will set the scene for discussing a variety of anatomical topics, including the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems.
Pennies are Protons: Nuclear Science at Home
Zach Constan, National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory
Students will build and name nuclei with a simple model, then learn to read the chart of nuclides before playing Isotope BINGO. This all leads to a better understanding of the world-class nuclear research conducted at MSU's Facility for Rare Isotope Beams!
Sand, Silly Putty and Skin Care: the Science of Silicon
Dr. Regina Malczewski, Midland Section, American Chemical Society
Silicon is the 2nd most common element on earth. This presentation will discuss its properties and those of its compounds, as well as their diversity and utility. Demonstrations and examples will be provided—a small in-person group for hands-on activities is preferred. Supplies can be delivered for in-person use by a small group ahead of time; some supplies can be shared with teachers. I have a file I have been trying to upload into this form with more information on formats and the types of activities possible—but without success. Possibilities include: showing how silicones make antifoams work, silica for drying and hydrophobing, properties of silly putty, silicones in health and personal care (making a lotion).
Water Those: Aquatic Invasive Species
Emily Sunblade, NPS Sleeping Bear Dunes
The Water Those? program will introduce your students to aquatic invasive species, how they impact our ecosystems, and what we can do to help. Student's will complete a drawing activity during this lesson so a piece of paper and drawing utensils are recommended.
What’s the BuZzz About Sleep?
Elle Wernette, MSU Sleep and Learning Lab
Elle Wernette is a 4th year Doctoral student in MSU’s Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience program and works as a researcher in MSU’s Sleep and Learning Lab. In this program, students will learn about the basics of sleep and its importance to overall health and brain function. Students will also learn about sleep hygiene and how to create a healthy bedtime to routine. To help engage students, this program will include two activities that focus on increasing students’ awareness of their current sleep habits and how they can make good choices before bed to benefit their sleep. The goal of this program is to raise awareness in elementary students of the importance of sleep throughout the lifespan and to help establish a healthy bedtime routine that can serve students throughout their lives.
What's the difference between an Alligator and a Crocodile?
Angelina Kelly, Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary
Join us for live alligator and crocodile demonstrations while we explore the differences and similarities between them.
Wildlife Encounters at the Harris Nature Center
Kati Adams, Harris Nature Center
The Harris Nature Center will present Wildlife Encounters with their permanent resident wildlife. Learn about Michigan native reptile species and how these animals came to be non-releasable. In addition, you will virtually go inside the hawk or the crow cage with the naturalist for an up close look at one of Michigan’s magnificent native birds. When you book your program, you will choose 2 reptiles for your class’s wildlife encounter and also choose whether you would like to virtually enter the American Crow enclosure or the Red-tailed Hawk enclosure. Please have your students prepare some questions for the naturalist as we will save some time at the conclusion of the program to answer their curiosities.