Workshops 2021

Workshops for Girls

Track 1

The Stories Plants Tell

Sarah Jones

All plants tell a story! Join us to learn about plant phenology, or the study of the timing of annual life cycle events in plants, from flowering to fruit dispersal. Find out what this can tell us about climate change and how watching plants in your own backyard as a Budburst community scientist can help research and conservation efforts.

Materials needed:
A few colored pencils/crayons

Cheese Rind Microbes: Introducing A Taste of Science

Dr. Laura M. Sanchez, Gordon T. Luu

Many people eat fermented foods, including kimchi, yogurt, and cheese. Have you ever wondered why these foods taste so good? Step into the shoes of a food scientist by joining our workshop to explore how bacteria and fungi add flavor to your favorite cheeses!

Bacteria are everywhere! But that’s a good thing

Ande Hesser

You can’t see them, you can’t feel them, but there are millions of bacteria and other tiny organisms that live in and on your body all the time! But don’t be scared, most of them are actually working hard to help you stay healthy! The collection of these protective bacteria and other microorganisms is called the microbiome, and we’ll learn all about what these protective microbes are and how they interact with your body. In this workshop we’ll show how your body recognizes good versus bad bacteria, learn what you can do to help your microbiome stay healthy, and how this will help you stay healthy too.

Materials needed:
A small ziplock bag
Enough couscous (or other small grain) to mostly fill the bag
About 2 tbsp. black pepper
1-2 tbsp. iron shavings
Popsicle sticks
Small magnet

Track 2

Do You Want It or Do You Like It? Intro to Reward and Motivation

Gabriela Lopez

What is reward? What motivates us? Why can’t I stop taking cookies from the cookie jar? Take an introductory dive into how the brain encodes reward and motivation. Learn about how motivation impacts learning and behavior and how certain motivators can lead to healthy or unhealthy behaviors.

Zooperstars: Women Scientists at Lincoln Park Zoo

Jamie Herget

How many ways are there to care for animals? Come find out about three different projects led by women at Lincoln Park Zoo! These projects not only help the animals’ welfare and environment, but also further scientific discoveries.

Code and Decode codons

Raji Arora

Codons are sequences of 3 nucleotides that code for proteins. We will learn to code an app that will help us encode simple messages using amino acid alphabets and convert them into a sequence of codons. As a next step, we decode messages by converting codons into their amino acids.

Materials needed:
A laptop

Track 3

The Code of Life

Didi Zha

Just like a recipe book, DNA stores the complete set of instructions needed to “make” living things. Come and learn the story behind the discovery of DNA double helix structure through hands-on activities! What is genetic code and why are biologists so interested in them? Find out about the impacts of genetic studies on society.

Materials needed:
2 twizzlers
10 toothpicks
20 soft candies (5 each of 4 different colors)

All About Texture

Maddie Gerling, Danielle Wedral, Kat Kitchen, and Mariana Perez Herrera

Taste is only part of your food experience–texture is also important!  Who wants a soggy cracker or super hard bread?  In this workshop, we will walk you through various textures by letting you experience different candies and how food scientists like us can create those textures!

Materials needed:
A laptop
Haribo Goldbears Original Flavor
Swedish Fish
Sunkist Fruit Gems

Think Like A Digital Designer: Unplugged

Sara Neiman and Dr. Katherine Jordan-Lead

Students will learn how researchers, designers and developers use design thinking to create digital experiences like the ones in their favorite apps! Guided, unplugged activities will show students how to put themselves in the mind of users that may not be the same as them and brainstorm ideas for improving the user experience of real apps. Students will be able to make a prototype of their app design with an online program.

Materials needed:
A laptop

Track 4

Bioprinting in Biology

Jocelynda Salvador

What is bioprinting and its applications in biology and medicine? What are the differences between 3D bioprinting and 3D printing? In this session, we will learn about bioprinting and see it in action!

What are we made of? Molecules that make life.

Natalia Povarova

Let’s look at the links between biological molecules and building blocks of life! Break down complex molecules to their individual components and explore nature while playing Legos.

Fun with Flu

Qixin He and Rahul Subramanian

Have you ever had the flu? Have you ever wondered why people get a flu shot every year? In this workshop, you’ll learn how infectious diseases like influenza spread in human populations by “infecting” your classmates (don’t worry, you won’t actually get sick) and most effective measures to stop an epidemic! We’ll explore how getting a flu shot protects both you and the people around you from getting sick, and how preventing outbreaks of diseases like the flu requires a combination of biology, medicine, public policy, and a little bit of math!

Track 5

Chicago’s Windy City Tower

Monica Crinion, Elif Ulger, and Maura Lakowski

Have you ever walked along the lakefront or downtown Chicago and felt the strong gusts of wind?  Structural engineers and architects have to consider these strong wind gusts when designing the tall skyscraper buildings in Chicago.  Come join us to learn more about the history of skyscraper design and see how structures respond to wind.  Future engineers will get to build their own towers and test them against the windy forces in our city.

Materials needed:
Ruler or yardstick
Tape (masking tape, scotch tape or painters tape will all work)
10-20 sheets of 8.5”x11” paper (can be new, clean copy paper or recycled paper)
2” diameter metal washer (can also use silver dollar, half dollar, metal bracelet, etc.)
Multispeed fan (preferred, but if not available we can test against “wind” in other ways)

Introduction to Python

Sushma Adari

Come learn one the world’s most widely used, user friendly and community driven programming languages available! While I won’t be able to teach how to wrangle an actual python, this is an excellent introduction into preparing yourself for inevitable robot rebellion!

Materials needed:
A laptop

Build Your Own Harmonica

Tracy Chmiel and Kaeli Hughes

Learn about the physics of sound waves as we explore how different instruments create different sounds and pitches in this hands-on workshop. Each student will build their own wooden harmonica and explore how the instrument uses vibrations to create sounds of different pitches. 

Materials needed:
2 jumbo craft straws
2 smaller, narrow rubber bands
Larger wide rubber band
Regular drinking straw

Track 6

Doctor for a Day

Ryleigh White

Do you ever wonder what a doctor does every day? Come and discover the mystery diagnosis of our “patient” and learn how doctors use their tools and their brains to help us feel better.

Making Cloud Nine: The Science Behind Cloud Formation

Eleonora Chakraborty

Have you ever wondered how clouds are formed and their role in weather patterns?  In this workshop, you will learn about the cloud formation process, the different types of clouds that can be formed in the sky, and how meteorologists can use clouds to predict weather.  You will also make your very own cloud nine!

Materials needed:
A laptop
A jar with a lid
Hot water

Measuring the Speed of Light using Chocolate

Karri DiPetrillo, Allie Hall, Cristina Mantilla Suarez, and Jennet Dickinson

Particle physicists study what the universe is made of and how it is structured. In this workshop,  we will measure the speed of light with very simple tools: a microwave oven, a ruler, a bar of  chocolate, and a calculator. 

Materials needed:
Bar of chocolate

Track 7

Food: Edible Science and Fun!

Kantha Shelke, Linda Perucca, Laura Saran, Upasana Hariram

Have you ever wondered about the senses that help you enjoy food? In this workshop you will learn about the science behind tasting food and also how physical appearance and texture affect your liking of a particular food.  There are many chemical and physical reactions that occur while preparing food. Let us show you how ice cream can be made by changing the physical properties of ingredients into a yummy scoop!

Materials needed:
A laptop
5-6 small peppermint candies (white and red)
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
1 Quart sized Ziploc
1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla essence
20 chocolate chips
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 gallon sized Ziploc
1/3rd cup kosher/ table/rock salt
4 cups of ice
Spoons for tasting
Pringles-original potato chips portioned in a quart sized Ziploc labeled A
Lays-original potato chips portioned in a quart sized Ziploc labeled B
Ruffles-original potato chips portioned in a quart sized Ziploc labeled C

Science Communication / Creatively Sharing Science

Morgan Sweeney

What makes lightning strike? Why does the moon change shape? What causes the currents of the ocean? Do you have questions like this that you want to explore? In this workshop, you’ll get to research and write about any topic you’re interested in. We’ll explore how we collect information and come to conclusions through the scientific method, and how to share research with those around us. Communication is a really important part of being a scientist, and some of the greatest joy of doing science is sharing what you’ve learned with others! 

Can You Dig It? Fossil Finding 101

Hannah Farrell and Shariwa Oke

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to hunt for fossils?. Come join us to learn what it takes to be a paleontologist and explore how we answer questions about the history of life on Earth from the fossil record! In this workshop, you’ll get to learn the fundamentals of paleontology: how to pick a dig site, best practices when digging for fossils, and how to make inferences about the past based on what you find Get ready to (virtually) dig up the past!

Materials needed:
A laptop

Track 8

Math and Physics of Music

Rebecca Rasmussen

We think of music as art, but did you know that there is also math and science behind it? In this workshop, we will explore how we can use math to describe beats and rhythms in music. We will get up and clap and dance along with some music! Next, we will learn about how the physics of sound waves affects the music we hear, applying this knowledge to some fun songs that you might know.

Foam Gnomes Polymer Reactions

Dr. Crystalann Jones

Be a polymer chemist for the day and help us to form Polyurethane Foam through the crosslinking reaction of two polymer chains. We will combine materials to form gases, generate heat, change colors and expand liquids in our quest to understand all the chemical and physical changes that occur during this chemical reaction.

Project SYNCERE Online Robotics

Sophie Askey, Mariana Martinez and Jessica Vaclav

Learn how to code a virtual robot to complete a task! Using the Vex VR platform, students will learn programming basics and be able to create simple algorithms to program their robot to complete challenges.

Materials needed:
A laptop