Schmahl Science Workshops provides hands-on science enrichment and support across a wide range of ages and topic areas.
Organisms, ecosystems, adaptations, botany, cellular structure, zoology, microbiology, molecular biology.
Properties/states of matter, bonding, acids/bases, periodic table, elements, compounds, mixtures, thermodynamics, electrochemistry, environmental chemistry
Mechanics, motion, magnetism, energy, circuits, optics, thermodynamics
Rocks/geology, tectonic plates, water cycle, air movement
earthquake engineering, bridges, rockets, dams and canals, balance, crash testing, strength of materials, rollercoasters
Sun, moon phases, comets, planets, electromagnetic spectrum, tides, orbits
Students observe, compare, and describe the properties of seeds, fruits and vegetables. They organize their observations through sorting; they organize and analyze data from cause and effect experiments, and relate laboratory studies to natural systems.
Animals have fascinating features! Fur, Feathers, and Scales examines animals and their unique skin coverings. Students touch and talk about similarities, differences, and functions of each type of covering, and how they aid in the survival of the animal. Students make fish prints, snake coverings, and turtle shells in this workshop.
Students are given the opportunity to experiment using tools that are similar to various birds’ beaks to accomplish the challenge of picking up different types of food. They learn about the shapes, sizes, and operations of bird beaks and how they are adapted to their environments.
Students create river models using a dripper system and diatomaceous earth, and begin to understand rivers as dynamic, ever changing systems. They will investigate the concepts of erosion, pollution, toxic waste, and human manipulation of rivers.
The water you drank this morning might have been the same water a dinosaur drank millions of years ago! Or it may have been the same water that supported Columbus’ ships on the sea. There is the same amount of water on Earth today as there has always been. The Water Cycle (aka the hydrologic cycle) is the journey water takes as it circulates from the land to the sky and back again. Students experiment with condensation and build solar stills while learning the parts of the cycle.
Using microscopes, students explore the different types of protozoa, and their micro-habitats. Students learn how to prepare wet mounts for microscopic examination.
The periodic table of the elements is the grand, unified theory of chemistry. With hands-on activities we introduce our students to The Periodic Table. We also present the Table as a landscape, with fields of metals, pools of mercury and bromine, clouds of gases, and the offshore island of rare earths.
How do engineers construct buildings to withstand earthquakes? Students compare structures made with marshmallows to those made with gum drops to determine structural viability. A shake table is used to simulate an earthquake so that students can test their design. Students also build their own shake table using bouncy balls, rubber bands and binder covers
Can you crush a steel can using nothing but air? Will a marshmallow explode in the emptiness of space? How much does a square inch of air weigh? Students learn that air takes up space and has weight.
When students begin a Life Science unit in school, they may be exposed to facts about cells; what they are, what is inside of them, how they reproduce, and the two basic types – animal and plant. What they most often do not receive is enough first-hand experience viewing living, working cells to relate what they have studied with what they have seen and know to be true. The students’ environment is full of such cells, which can readily be seen and examined, with the light microscope. This workshop introduces our students to the design and use of the light microscope, and demonstrates cellular biology staining techniques.
Students discover the idea of density as a mathematical concept. Students determine the mass and volume of 2 density specimens, and graph the results. The data is not random, but shows a clear linear pattern with a slope characteristic of the material used. The slope is called the density of the substance. The samples will also be used for testing students’ measuring abilities, and as samples of industrially important materials.
Students experiment with a technique called chromatography, which will allow you to visually demonstrate that the pigment in leaves is a combination of several different colored pigments. This technique is useful in that it can separate and identify the various components of mixtures, such as those contained in plant pigments .
Students simulate bioremediation of marine oil spills using microbes that consume oil. These microbes have specialized metabolic pathways that enable them to use oil as food while converting it into nontoxic byproducts. In a controlled experiment, students work in pairs to apply a suspension of oil-degrading microbes to a small amount of oil and chemical indicator in a culture tube. A change in indicator color signifies breakdown of the oil. Students also perform the experiment without indicator and over time observe visible changes in the appearance of the oil.
When some substances dissolve, they combine with a fixed amount of water. When these substances crystallize from water solutions, they retain enough water molecules to satisfy the bonding requirements of the crystal. This quantity of water is called a “hydrate”. If such a crystal is heated, the water of hydration can be driven off. In this experiment, students drive this water off in order to determine the percentage of it in the hydrate. This experiment is an example of “quantitative analysis” — an experimental procedure whereby the percentage by mass of one substance in another is determined.
What keeps you in your seat on a giant loop-de-loop roller coaster? Surprisingly, it is not the seat belt but the seat! Does it work because of centripetal or centrifugal force? What force keeps a satellite in orbit and you in your bicycle seat during a turn. How does it work? Students investigate the force surrounding orbital motion using balloons, hex nuts, bicycle tires, buckets and strings.
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