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2014 Lab Abstracts

The Great Robot Escape

Help a robot navigate through an obstacle course!  We will learn about how both humans and robots have senses that let them interact with the outside world.  Then we will build a robot and program it to escape!

Marine Paleontology:  What's really in the beach sand?

The life of a paleontologist isn’t like what you might have seen in the movies.  In reality, paleontologists spend most of their time in the lab, studying small samples using DM (dissecting microscopy; now that’s a big word!) to identify microfossils, which can often tell us more about ancient ecosystems than larger animals like dinosaurs.  In this exercise, you’ll have a chance to study life like paleontologists do, by discovering and identifying modern & fossil shells under specialized microscopes. You’ll get to keep what you find, and have a lot of fun in the process!  Additionally, you will have a chance to contribute to real scientific research by helping piece together a 31-million year old turtle shell discovered on a Beloit College expedition to South Dakota.

Willy Wonka's Factory           

Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination. Have you ever wondered how Willy Wonka’s candy is so amazingly colorful? Using chromatography, this lab will explore the idea of color dyes in your candy. You will learn how to identify basic chemical properties of color and water.

Incredible Edible Earth

Do you like maps, mountains, outdoors, and sugar?  We stand on the ground every day, but do you know what is actually below your feet?  Learn about identifying rocks and minerals that you can find on the ground and in the core of the Earth.  Enjoy creating and eating a  multi-layer dessert that represents structures principles that define geology.

Uncovering the Past: Archaeology in Egypt

A brand new site has been uncovered in Egypt, and we need your help to excavate it! Join us to learn the basics of an archaeological dig, from the ground to the lab, and learn how archaeologists make sense of the past.

Brain Charades

Have you ever wondered what the inside of your brain looked like? Come figure that out and have some dessert while doing so!! This lab will take you on a journey of discovery teaching students about each part of the brain and its function through fun and informative activities, such as dissecting a Jell-O mold of the human brain! Come join us on this mysterious adventure as we discover what the inside of your head really holds.

Make Your Own Ecosystem!

An ecosystem is a set of relationships between living things and the environments they live in.  During this lab we will construct a pond ecosystem with snails, plants, and pond water.  Then we will explore how they each interact with each other.  We will discover how everything in nature works together. 

Anatomy of Mammals

Anatomy and Structures are features of an organism are often dependent upon the diet, habitat, and ancestors on an animal.  For instance, mammals have similar anatomies, but are different from birds and reptiles.  And, unlike humans, rats’ teeth do not stop growing until they die!  This explains why rats gnaw on things like trees and houses, and it also plays a part in their diet.  In this lab we will explore the anatomy of a rat and think about how and why it is similar/ different to the anatomy of humans. 

Egg Drop: The Physics of Falling

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.  Humpty dumpty had a great fall.  All the king’s horses and all the kings men couldn’t put him back together again.  But what if the story doesn’t end like that.  What if you could build a craft to save Humpty Dumpty from his great fall?  Try saving humpty dumpty from his fall from a wall in the egg drop lab. 

The Cat's Meow

Come discover the forces in your cereal bowl!  Milk contains various molecules such as proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins, and they all interact with each other.  When common dish soap and food coloring are added to a dish of milk (just like your kitty cat!) you can get your creativity flowing and make some milk art!

Make Colorful Earrings!

Make fun earrings by using the chemical process of certain metals!

Strawberries and You! What do they have in common?

See with your own eyes the molecular unit that all living things have in common: deoxyribonucleic acid, more commonly known as DNA. Cells are the basic unit of life and make up all plants, animals and bacteria. DNA contains instructions that direct the activities of the cells and, ultimately, the whole organism. In this lab students will isolate visible DNA from strawberries and learn about how DNA plays a role in everything from eye color in humans to the development of a strawberry.