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Middle School Workshop Topics

Middle School Workshop Topics and Descriptions:

All workshops are 60 minutes unless otherwise noted. Mad Science also has topics that can be
presented in half-day, full-day, and weeklong formats.

Workshops and school science projects are limited to 25 or fewer students.
Click here for information on shows and school assemblies for larger groups.

Some of the Middle School and Elementary topics are the same, but the material is presented at a different level,
and activities within the topic will differ.


Acids & Bases, a Phantastic pH Phestival:
This class offers children a solid introduction to the properties of acids and bases, and the reason for these properties. They will learn that acids and bases come in a variety of strengths, and they will learn how their strengths can be measured, and on what scale. They will come to understand what happens when acids and bases react, and how acids, bases and their reactions relate to their everyday lives. With safety always being an important concern, they will learn to distinguish between a safe and an unsafe acid or base, as well as proper methods for handling them. Once the fundamentals have been established, the children will be introduced to the many applications of acids and bases and their reactions, such as how the carbon dioxide produced in an acid-base reaction can be used to put out fires. Finally, the children will enjoy an entertaining application of their new knowledge that will really make things “pop”!

Bare Bones 
An introduction to the basic concepts of skeletal anatomy. Students will manipulate life-sized human skeleton models and examine how the different bones of our skeleton articulate, and how the joints operate. They will also learn how to identify different characteristics of bones and skulls that determine sex and height. Students will also learn about early humans and examine the morphological differences in the skulls of our ancestors. Finally, students will critically examine skeletal injuries and determine the cause, diagnosis and treatment of various bone traumas.

Black & Blue Oceans
This workshop introduces students to environmental issues relating to our water system. They will see and measure some of the effects of pollution on the living and non-living aspects of an ecosystem. Through a hands-on approach students explore the effects of oil spills, and the difficulties in cleaning up these spills.

This enrichment workshop is designed to give middle school students a head start on high school biology. Students are introduced to the basic concepts of molecular genetics. They learn about the structure of DNA and will perform DNA isolation and precipitation.

Dry Ice Capades
Students will explore the properties and characteristics of matter and its three most common manifestations: solids, liquids and gases. They will learn how and why matter changes between the different states, and will have a good understanding of elementary physical principles. The students will be able and eager to tell any inquiring adult all about carbon dioxide–in its solid or gaseous state! Perhaps most importantly, this lesson relates the material to the students' lives and school curriculum: they will leave with an understanding of the science behind the water cycle, carbonation, and even Hollywood special effects. This workshop contains some truly spectacular demonstrations.

What do you have in common with a dinosaur, amoeba, and a tree? Cells! Explore the tiniest machines in your body. Not only will the students explore cellular structures, but they will also make their own model cell in this fun introduction to the cellular sciences.

Che-Mystery (Physical vs. Chemical Changes)
Che-mystery introduces children to chemistry with mysterious mixtures and surprising solutions. They learn that physical changes are different from chemical reactions because chemical reactions create new products. Crystals, colloid suspensions, solutions, and indicators are all part of this fun, information-packed class. Children learn the importance of lab safety and get hands-on with some amazing chemical reactions.

Chem in a Flash
This class introduces children to the factors which determine how fast chemical reactions occur. Several fields of chemistry will be presented through demonstrations and hands-on activities. Students will explore the many ways in which different chemical processes can be sped up - they will experiment with catalysts, instantly grow crystals, release heat with exothermic reactions, and corrode metal.

Detective Science
Children use science to crack a case! They are introduced to the science techniques used to investigate and analyze crime scene evidence. The students begin their training by observing a fictional crime scene. Their inquiry continues with a mystery powder analysis, fingerprint examination, ink separation investigation, and teeth impression match-up. They create a composite of a perpetrator from memory and then analyze all the evidence to determine which suspect committed the crime.

Children are introduced to the science of geology. They examine three different rock types and learn how and where they formed. Children investigate tectonic plates and learn how their movements cause stress on the Earth. They discover that these movements can cause mountains to form, earthquakes to occur, and volcanoes to erupt. The children make and take home a sedimentary stacker, which reinforces the concept of sedimentary rock formation learned in class. This class can be customized with different take home projects. Possibilities include breaking geodes and growing crystal gardens.

Students explore the properties of electrons at rest, and experiment with electrical current. They get to use a Van de Graaff static electricity generator to demonstrate that negative charges repel - with hair raising results. Using a tesla coil, the instructor will amaze the class with safe demonstrations of high voltage electrical current.

Energy / Conservation of Energy (grades 4-7)
Perfect for the intermediate school curriculum! Explore how energy can be changed from one form to another, but not created or destroyed. The students will change kinetic energy to potential energy, electricity to light & heat, and chemical energy to heat and motion. This workshop contains some spectacular demonstrations and activities.

FUN-damental Forces
Fun-damental Forces introduces children to the pushes and pulls that make the universe tick. Gravity, inertia, and centripetal force are some key concepts they discover along the way. Some exciting, hands-on investigations into forces include the bike wheel gyroscope, a coin-spinning vortex, toy racetracks, and the balloon centrifuge. This program lays the foundation for further study in the physical sciences.

Glow Show
This class concentrates on how we perceive light and its effect on objects. Children are introduced to the luminescent properties of natural and synthetic materials. These concepts will be presented through a hands-on exploration of household objects, paper products, and earth minerals. The children will be given a brief history of fluorescence followed by a demonstration of chemiluminescence, the chemical aspect of luminescence. This program wraps up with a thought-provoking discussion and an activity on the applications of the science of light.

Good Vibrations (grades 3-6)
Surf sound waves and explore the properties of amplification, vibration and acoustics. Catch some sound waves, play a super-sonic banger, and compose a Mad Science Symphony.

Heredity (60 - 90 minutes)
Students learn about the inheritance of traits, the principle of dominance, and how genotypes represent phenotype. Theyw ill put their critical thinking skills to work when they assemble creatures with unique phenotypes and genotypes. They will then be challenged to think about probabilities and Punnett Squares when they consider the offspring that these creatures produce. Students will also discuss the implications of new genetic technologies in society.

Inner Workings
Students are introduced to the basic concepts of human anatomy. They will use their prior knowledge to assemble the organs of the digestive system, and orient themselves in the three dimensional organization of the digestive, respiratory, and circulatory systems. Students will examine in detail the digestive tract and gain an appreciation for its incredible length. Students will also learn about the circulatory system, the double pump action of the heart, and the function of the heart's chambers and valves. 

Kitchen Chemistry
Children get clued in on the chemical reactions that occur when they prepare, analyze, and digest their food. They are introduced to the differences between chemical and physical reactions. The instructor demonstrates how yeast feeds on sugars to produce a gas-filled balloon. The students test food samples for starch and protein and learn that certain foods help us grow, develop, and function. They familiarize with digestion — the process that occurs after they eat. The hands-on, clear digestive-track model take home project extends this concept at home.

Mad Science Machines
Children discover how simple machines make our lives easier. They learn about the six different types of simple machines: the screw, lever, inclined plane, wedge, pulley, and wheel and axle. Children launch with levers, secure with screws, and work with wedges through hands-on activities. A large child-operated pulley system demonstrates how pulleys help us move heavy objects easily. Children apply their newfound mechanical knowledge by building their very own propeller powered car.

Mineral Mania (with Geodes)
The earth can be pretty crusty. Peek beneath its rough exterior and uncover what it’s made of. Explore the process of rock formation and learn how scientists classify and identify rocks and minerals. Break open geodes to find and keep amazing crystals.

Mystery of the Crusty Coin
This workshop is based on material from our Ancient Adventures & Buried Bones camp. The students get a brief introduction to archaeology and to the time period of the Roman Empire, and also to chemical reactions that create corrosion on artifacts. Each will be given a genuine Roman Coin that is between 1500 and 2000 years old. Using several methods including ultrasonic vibration and electrolysis, students will attempt to remove the "crust" from their coin to learn more about when it was created. Each kid will take home one of these ancient artifacts!

Optical Illusions
Children are introduced to the concepts of refraction, science of optics, and biology associated with sight as they explore the physics of optical illusions. The instructor uses a wide variety of optical illusions like the mirror mirage, twisting copper coils, and con­vex and concave mirrors to demonstrate how physics can trick our eyes. Children use erasable crayons to create a series of laminated paper illusions and explore the reflections of various mirror forms.

Space Technology (variation: Lasers Workshop)
Space Technology starts with an exploration of space related technologies used on Earth. Students will help guide laser light through a maze, use principles of radar technology to find hidden mountains, and discover the importance of points of reference to depth perception. From there, it's out into space with the launch of a satellite into orbit (at the edge of their desks) and an examination of potential threats to spacecraft. Children will leave revved up by an investigation of shuttle fuel.

Super Structures
Super Structures introduces children to the fascinating science of architecture and engineering. They learn about structures, the forces behind them, and shapes and materials that strengthen them. The students are challenged to improve the strength of a basic structure by changing its shape. Children take home a bridge-building kit. They use the included components to strengthen a basic bridge structure.


Call us today to learn more about our school science projects and workshops!

 We serve ALL of Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, Ulster, Dutchess and Putnam Counties

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