Collaborations with Children

FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competitions

Nearly 1000 students (age 9-14) in Wisconsin participate in the International FIRST LEGO League competition.  Students build competitive robots and develop a research based project related to a science and society theme.  The Fall 2007 theme is "Power Puzzle" and focuses on energy production and use.

Holmen students program their robotStudents from UWL mentor and coach local teams in La Crosse, Holmen and La Crescent.

Type of Project: K-12 Student Outreach
Target Audience: Elementary & Middle School, UW-La Crosse Undergraduate Students
Attendees: 10 adults, 35 children
Activity Location: Holmen, La Crescent, La Crosse
Participating Schools: Holmen, La Crescent, La Crosse
Dates of Activity: Every Fall semester
Length of Activity: Weekend
Contact: Eric Brunsell, brunsell.eric@uwlax.edu
Supporting Links:


Mock SB&F Prize Discussion & Election

The Mock SB&F Prize Election is a collaborative program initially developed between Lincoln Middle School (School District of La Crosse, La Crosse, WI), UW-L SOE, Murphy Library and the Institute for Innovation in Undergraduate Research and Learning.  Based around the annual Science Books & Films (SB&F) Prize for Excellence in Science Books awards, UW-L elementary/middle science methods students and middle school students evaluate the current year’s SB&F Finalists books.  Pre-service teacher book evaluation is based on SB&F judging criteria and middle school students will use a modified version of the criteria.  Each pre-service teacher votes for the elementary/middle school level book they think will win the actual SB&F Prize.  Each middle school student votes for the middle school level book.  Prize winners are announced at the annual AAAS meeting which is usually held in February of the following year.

Type of Project: Collaborative Program
Target Audience:
Lincoln Middle School (School District of La Crosse) and UW-L Pre-service teachers in elementary/middle science methods course
Attendees:
Approximately 60 pre-service teachers/semester; approx. 25 middle school students/yr
Activity Location:
UW-L Campus; Lincoln Middle School
Participating Schools: Holmen, La Crescent, La Crosse
Dates of Activity:
Spring semester 2008 for pre-service teachers; Fall 2008 for Lincoln Middle students
Length of Activity:
On-going
Contact: Tim Gerber, gerber.dani@uwlax.edu


Early Childhood Education Science Day

Pre-service teachers in the EC/MC program create and conduct science activities for local pre-school and 4 year old kindergarten classes.

Type of Project: Presentation
Target Audience: Elementary School, UW-La Crosse Undergraduate Students
Attendees: 15 adults, 30 children
Activity Location: Holmen
Participating Schools: Holmen
Dates of Activity: 12/07/07
Length of Activity: Full Day


STEM Saturdays

STEM Saturdays introduces children aged 8 to 14 the excitement of science and math. One saturday each month, faculty from UWL or other experts lead an engaging, hands-on, session for children and their parents.  This program is a partnership between STEM Alliance, UWL Continuing Education, and Space Education Initiatives.

Type of Project: WorkshopSTEM Saturdays
Target Audience: Elementary & Middle School
Attendees: 41-60
Activity Location: UW-La Crosse Campus
Participating Schools: This program is open to any student.
Dates of Activity: Ongoing
Length of Activity: Half day or less
Contact: Eric Brunsell, brunsell.eric@uwlax.edu
Supporting Documents:

Supporting Links:


Kids' College

UW-L Continuing Education and Mississippi Valley Gifted and Talented Network: Kid's College Spring 2007: Presented "Gak, Goop and Grape" to 3 groups of middle school students.  Students made a polymer resembling Gak® from white glue and borax and also did reverse phase chromatography of grape Kool-Aid® and grape juice using Sep-Pak C18 cartridges to show that the artificial coloring in the Kool-Aid® is not the same as the anthocyanins in grape juice.

Type of Project: Workshop
Target Audience: Middle School
Attendees: 6 Adults, 60 Children
Activity Location: UW-La Crosse Campus
Participating Schools: Holmen, La Crescent, La Crosse, Onalaska, West Salem
Dates of Activity: 4/20/2007
Length of Activity: Three 1.5 hour sessions of 20 students each
Contact: Sandra K. Koster, koster.sand@uwlax.edu


Young Scholars 2007  "Amazing Chemistry-it's all in the Superstore"

A week long workshop for younger Middle School students meeting 1.5 hours each day with different activities each day.  The following is the published description.

"We will use chemical and physical principles and experiments to explore the amazing properties of items you might find in your home or the local "Superstore".  Have you heard of GAK® or FLOAM®?  We'll make our own version.  Are the same chemicals responsible for the taste of an orange Jolly Rancher® as the ones in orange zest? We'll find out.  Brightly colored fruits and fruit drinks like grape, blueberry and cranberry are supposed to be very healthy.  Does that mean we should drink lots of grape KOOLAID®?  Have you ever blown up a balloon using the "Volcano" reaction?  Can you float a needle or a paperclip?  These are just a few of the questions we'll work out as we carry out our experiments."

Type of Project: Workshop
Target Audience: Middle School
Attendees: 20 Children
Activity Location: UW-La Crosse Campus
Participating Schools: La Crosse and surrounding communities; no official school affiliation required
Dates of Activity: 07/09/2007 thru 07/13/2007
Length of Activity: Half day or less
Contact: Sandra K. Koster, koster.sand@uwlax.edu


Girls in Science  "Gak, Goop and Grape"

UW-L and Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth sponsored workshops for approximately 16 middle school girls selected for academic talent.  Students attended 3 different 2-hour workshops over a day and a half.  This workshop was one of the choices on one of the days.  The published description is as follows.  

"We will investigate the difference between the purple color from grape juice and the purple dye from grape Kool-Aid and between other natural and artificial food colors and flavors which we will isolate or make in the lab.  We will also prepare some household versions of fun polymers that bounce, flow and stretch.  You can take home what you make as well as the recipes and instructions to amaze your friends and family."

Type of Project: Workshop
Target Audience:
Middle School academically talented girls
Attendees: 16 Children
Activity Location: UW-La Crosse Campus
Participating Schools: La Crosse and surrounding communities
Dates of Activity:
06/23/2007
Length of Activity: Half day or less
Contact: Sandra K. Koster, koster.sand@uwlax.edu


Amazing Chemistry

Presented a series of 10 Magic Shows for Kindergarten through 8th grade students over the week of May 14.  This chemistry show ran simultaneously with the Physics Laser shows and had about 70 to 100 students in each audience.   Participants were recruited from among chemistry faculty and Chem Club (student organization) members.  An additional show was also presented to a group of 100 students a week later.  Here is our published description.

"A variety of demonstrations will be presented to our audience that show how exciting chemistry can be.  Most of the displays will use readily available materials that will do something unexpected and interesting when they react.  Planned experiments may include "Copper into Gold-an alchemist's dream", "Metals that Burn", "Burning Heaps of Color", "Water, water-where did it go?", "Black Light Bright", "Light in the Dark",  "Shake, Float, Sink and Separate", "The Oscillating Reaction", "Of Cabbages and Color", "The Lemon Shell Game", "Disappearing Packing Peanuts", "The Blue Bottle Reaction", "The Magic Mushroom", "Burning Bubbles", "The Sword Swallowing Balloon", "The Fire-eating Balloon",  "Shrinking Balloons and Frozen Balls", and "The Final Test: Is it Hydrogen or Helium?".  We will explore the science behind the changes we observe as we do these experiments with the assistance of audience volunteers."

Type of Project: Presentation
Target Audience:
Elementary & Middle School
Attendees: 25-30 Adults, 800-1100 Children
Activity Location: UW-La Crosse Campus
Participating Schools: La Crescent, La Crosse, West Salem
Dates of Activity:
05/14/2007 to 05/18/2007 and 05/25/2007
Length of Activity:
Each show lasted an hour and 15 minutes.  We ran two a day. Week-long overall.
Contact: Sandra K. Koster, koster.sand@uwlax.edu


Girls in Science

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse hosted the Girls in Science program annually in June for middle-school aged girls from Wisconsin and surrounding areas who are academically-talented and interested in science. Girls who participate in this program work with UW-La Crosse faculty, many of whom are women, in their choice of 3 exciting, hands-on science workshops. In addition to the science activities the students experience a full campus experience with an overnight stay in a campus residence hall, meals on campus, and social activities with peer students, university student assistants, and faculty.  This program is meant to encourage girls to stay in science and mathematics courses through out middle school and high school, a time when many girls drop out of such programs.

Type of Project: Workshop
Target Audience: Middle School
Attendees: 80 Children
Activity Location: UW-La Crosse Campus
Participating Schools: Holmen, La Crescent, La Crosse, Onalaska, Sparta, ,West Salem, Out of State
Dates of Activity: Every June since 1998
Length of Activity: Weekend
Contact: Dr. Sandy Grunwald, grunwald.sand@uwlax.edu