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Middle School Program
    at Carnegie Science Center

School Workshops
Workshops include small hands-on group exploration and discovery.

Did You Know? Nanotech Workshop (Introductory Level) 
Nanotechnology touches many facets of our lives and all areas of science, yet we are still learning about its potential impact.

In this workshop, students explore the benefits, risks and challenges of this new frontier. They learn what “nano” means
and how some substances behave differently at the nano scale.
For instance, the melting point of gold drops and
copper no longer conducts electricity well.

Students experiment with paper and clothing to explore the wonders of nanotechnology, discover why nanoparticles pose health concerns, and engage in a unique LEGO competition to simulate challenges of working at the nano scale. At the end, students demonstrate what they learned in a lightening round quiz!

No prior knowledge of nanotechnology is required.

Science and technology topics include:
Basics of Advanced Materials Processes (including Chemistry) and Nanotechnology

Program Capacity: 30

Anchors: S8.A.1.2, S8.A.1.2.1, S8.A.1.2.2, S8.A.1.1.2
Standards: 3.1.7. (B, E); 3.2.7 (A, B); 3.3.7 (A, B); 3.4.7 (A, B); 3.6.7 (A, B); 3.7.7 (A, B); 3.8.7 (A, B, C)

The Latest and Greatest in Nano from NASA

Nanomission: Interactive 3-D learning games based on the nanosciences and nanotechnology

Interactive Timeline

Video Interview: Pioneering Nanotechnologist, Naomi Halas

Careers in Nanofabrication

In the News:
  • Sun Clean Clothes!
  • Tiny Etch-a-Sketch: A simple technique can draw--and erase--wires to create denser computer memory.


  • 11/5/2013: 10:00 AM; 11:00 AM; 12:00 PM; 1:00 PM
    11/6/2013: 10:00 AM; 11:00 AM; 12:00 PM; 1:00 PM 
    DNA & CSI (in-depth) Workshop 
    DNA evidence has revolutionized our ability to prosecute and exonerate crime suspects, often with life and death consequences. Students explore this intersection of biotechnology and criminal law in depth as they:

  • Learn the structure and function of DNA.
  • Investigate the basics of DNA fingerprinting by performing electrophoresis.
  • Test the limitations of eye witness testimony vs. DNA evidence.
  • Explore the Innocence Project.
  • Break into small groups to decide which convicted criminals deserve a second look, a second chance…and why?

    Program Facilitators are graduate students in the Forensics and Law program at Duquesne University. Content support for this workshop was provided by the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.

    Students interested in an in-depth exploration of the application of DNA evidence in CSI.

    Science and technology topics include:
    Biology, Chemistry, Information Technology, Critical Thinking and Law

    Program capacity: 30

    Middle School Anchors: S8.A.1.3, S8.A.2.1, S8.A.2.2, S8.B.1.1, S8.B.2.2
    Middle School Standards: 3.1.7.E, 3.3.7 (A, C), 3.8.7 (A, B, C)

    Interactive DNA Timeline - click once you arrive at the timeline for images and links!

    GATTACA, a thoughtful film about society prejudices and the potential dark side of messing with mother nature. A breathtaking, if somewhat cold and sterile, look into the future. (movie trailer)

  • Finding the Structure of DNA - Putting It Together - Base Pair Interactive
  • An Animated Primer on the Basics of Genetics
  • Diagnosis information for the patient, genetic counseling (a learning game)

    The Blooding, a novel about the first use of DNA fingerprinting in a court case based on the discovery of genetic fingerprinting by Alec Jeffreys.

  • DNA Interactive Modules including Lesson Builder
  • Brief Guide to Genomics: Fact Sheets
  • Genetic Education Modules - see Other Resources DNA Kit Select Activities for grade appropriate activity list

  • Innocence Project
  • How Luminol Works
  • The UK, Dolly the sheep, and more!
  • DNA ID of Sept. 11th Victims

    In the News:
  • Wrongfully Convicted by an Inaccurate Eyewitness - DNA Overturns the Conviction
  • New Technique Using Family’s DNA to convict…or exonerate!
  • Artificial DNA
  • Zombie DNA - Not Really Dormant!

    Video Interview: Medical Laboratory Specialist (interesting & in depth)

    CSI Careers (on and behind the scenes narrative)


  • 11/5/2013: 10:00 AM; 11:00 AM; 12:00 PM; 1:00 PM
    11/6/2013: 10:00 AM; 11:00 AM; 12:00 PM; 1:00 PM 
    If a Salamander Can Grow New Limbs, Why Can’t People?
    (Tissue Engineering Workshop)

    Caption: x-ray, lab, bone tissue engineering, puzzle of specialties involved, engineering human skin/bioprinting

    Form a biotechnology company, fabricate and assess bone tissue and compete for grant money in this hands-on workshop exploring the booming field of tissue engineering.

    Regenerative Medicine/Tissue Engineering is a revolutionary technology in the field of biomedicine that offers hope to people with compromised tissue function. This complex challenge requires the coordinated efforts of biologists, physicists, chemists, engineers, computer engineers, material scientists and physicians.

    Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative (PTEI) and McGowan Institute, University of Pittsburgh Department of Bioengineering

    Science and technology topics include:
    Biotechnology and Business Processes

    Program Capacity: 26

    Anchors: S8. A. 1.1, S8.A.1.1.2, S8.A.1.1.4, S8.A.1.3, S8.A.2.1, S8.A.2.1.4
    Standards: 3.1.7. (A, B); 3.2.7 (A, C); 3.6.7 (A, B, C); 3.7.7 (A, C, D); 3.8.7 (A, B, C)

    Policy Decision-making Game - Learn as You Play!(stem cells)

    Biotechnology Timeline

    In the News:
    PA ranks #1 in the nation in biotechnology

    Regrowing Limbs: Can People Regenerate Body Parts?


    3/5/2013: 10:00 AM; 11:00 AM; 12:00 PM; 1:00 PM
    3/6/2013: 10:00 AM; 11:00 AM; 12:00 PM; 1:00 PM 
    It IS Easy Being Green!  

    Go way beyond recycling in this hands-on, interactive game show experience.
    Do you have what it takes to compete head-to-head?

    How do the choices you make everyday affect the environmental health of the planet?
    ...from the foods you eat and the clothes you buy to the technologies and conveniences you use everyday.

    Find out if you are a green machine or a champion in training.

    CAUTION: Eco-footprint may shrink!

    Science and technology topics include:
    Environment, Conservation, Water, Food, Energy, Waste Management, Consumerism

    Program Capacity: 50

    Anchors: S8.D.1.2, S8.C.2.2, S8.A.3.1.3
    Standards: 4.2.7A, 4.2.7B, 4.7.7C

  • Google Earth Rising Sea Level Animation and more!
  • Ice Shelf Interactive

    30 questions to elevate your awareness (and literacy) of the greater place in which you live

    Interactive of a green roof, and green roofs around the world - for an ex. in Pittsburgh see image #10.

    Climate Change Game

    In the News:
  • How Bubble Wrap Could Power the Future - as Seen in the -Water Cube- at the Beijing Olympics
  • In our future - smart meters to fix home energy power hogs
  • Think Before You Eat

    Careers: Environmental Engineer Alexandria Boehm


  • 3/5/2013: 10:30 AM; 12:30 PM
    3/6/2013: 10:30 AM; 12:30 PM 
    Mobile Lab Challenge: Can Biotech Solve the Energy Crisis?  

    Come aboard the Pitt Mobile Science Lab and go bioprospecting (searching for living organisms) to locate enzymes that could help us turn the cellulose in
    waste paper, wood, and plant material into ethanol we can
    use to fuel our cars, homes, and businesses. Students will prepare extracts from various biological sources and test whether they contain the enzymes needed to turn cellulose into sugar that can be made into biofuel. They also will learn how biotechnologists design industrial processes using organisms like enzymes to create products such as sweeteners, laundry detergents, and medicines.

    Our challenge to students: Will YOU be the bioengineer who finds the best source of the needed biofuels enzyme?

    Science and technology topics include:
    Critical Thinking, Biology, Chemistry, Biotechnology

    Program capacity: 25

    S8.B.3.3: Explain how renewable and nonrenewable resources provide for human needs or how these needs impact the environment.
  • 3.1.6.A1: Describe the similarities and differences of major physical characteristics in plants, animals, fungi, protists, and bacteria.
  • 3.1.6.A2: Describe how energy derived from the sun is used by plants to produce sugars (photosynthesis) and is transferred within a food chain from producers (plants) to consumers to decomposers.
  • 3.2.7.A4: Describe how reactants change into products in simple chemical reactions.
  • 3.3.8.A2: Describe renewable and nonrenewable energy resources.
  • 3.4.8.A1: Analyze the development of technology based on affordability or urgency.
  • 3.4.6.B4: Demonstrate how new technologies are developed based on people’s needs, wants, values, and/or interests.
  • 3.4.7.B2: Explain how decisions to develop and use technologies may be influenced by environmental and economic concerns.
  • 3.4.6.E2: Identify how emerging agricultural technologies have an effect on ecosystem dynamics and human/animal food resources.
  • 3.4.8.E2: Describe how biotechnology applies the principles of biology to create commercial products or processes.
  • 4.1.7.E: Identify factors that contribute to change in natural and human-made systems.

    Video provides an overview of NREL (National Renewable Energy Lab) research

    A magazine of biotechnology applications in health care, agriculture, the environment, and industry

    A Great General Site


    Steel City Biofuels

  • Basic Biofuel Overview - 1 pager National Geographic
  • How Cellulosic Ethanol Works
  • ABCs of Biofuels
  • Biomass Energy Basics
  • Ethanol Greenhouse Gas Emissions


  • 3/5/2013: 10:00 AM; 11:00 AM; 12:00 PM
    3/6/2013: 10:00 AM; 11:00 AM; 12:00 PM 
    Real Food Rocks! 

    If you are what you eat…what are you? We all want food that’s healthy, yet tastes good, and food labels today can be confusing and misleading.

    What difference does it make, for you and the environment, if your meat contains hormones or antibiotics? What are the “dirty dozen”? How do seasonal, local and organics figure into your food choices?

    Explore options, cook, and sample a tasty, nutritious dish featuring an international super food!

    Join Carole Ortenzo, retired Army surgeon turned certified personal chef who specializes in organic, health-supportive cooking.

    Science and technology topics include:
    Environment, Biology, Chemistry, Health

    Program capacity: 26

    Middle School Anchors: S8.A.1 1, S8.A.1.2, S8.B.3.3
    Middle School Standards: 3.2.7A, 3.2.7C, 3.5.7B, 3.6.7A, 3.8.7 (A, B, C)


  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Michael Pollan)
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma for Kids: The Secrets Behind What You Eat (Michael Pollan)
  • In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
  • Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (Michael Pollan)
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Barbara Kingslover)

    Dirty dozen (shoppers guide)

  • Carbon labeling
  • Farmer Markets & CSAs in/near Pittsburgh
  • Slow Food Pittsburgh
  • Buy Fresh/Buy Local
  • You Are What You Eat: Pictures Of Factory Farms. (Brought to you by The Good Human, Don’t Blow It.Good Planets are Hard to Find

    Women’s Health & the Environment Conference which was in Pittsburgh

    In the News:
    Wild Crop of Genetically Modified Canola

    INFORMATION ABOUT HEALTHY EATING, selected by Carole Ortenzo presenter of Real Food Rocks!


  • 11/5/2013: 10:00 AM; 12:00 PM
    11/6/2013: 10:00 AM; 12:00 PM 
    Start from SCRATCH 

    SCRATCH is a free programming language that lets you create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art using a drag and drop system. Students will use this software to practice important mathematical and computational ideas – all while learning to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively. Best of all, they can go home and use this free software to keep the learning and excitement going!!

    Science and technology topics include:
    IT, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math)

    Program Capacity: 30

    Anchors: S8.A.1.1, S8.A.1.1.2, S8.A.1.3
    Standards: 3.1.7A,B, 3.6.7A,B,C

  • Scratch download
  • Audacity software

    Computer Simulations at the Forefront of Science

  • TechBridgeWorld
  • Use the idle time on your computer to cure diseases, study global warming, discover pulsars, and do many other types of scientific research. It’s safe, secure, and easy.

    a community space for art + technology where you can engage your intrigue through hands on activities about art and technology

  • Learning Code - Jobs Open...and this is the closest you will get to being a magician! Make money, save the world - coding makes it possible.
  • A great IT Career Ed site including IT interest inventory
  • 1-2 minute career intro videos information technology - webmasters, fiber optic technicians, computer programmers, data entry...


  • 11/5/2013: 10:00 AM; 11:00 AM; 12:00 PM
    11/6/2013: 10:00 AM; 11:00 AM; 12:00 PM 
    Back to Middle School Programs

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