For Parents and Schools

For Parents and Schools

Opportunity for quality STEM hands-on scientific and technical activities designed for high school students. If the student is already interested in science and technology, this is for them! If the student shows a spark of interest, this will fan that flame. 

Session Descriptions 


Through this exciting hands-on approach, students will be able to leave with a greater appreciation for the world of biotechnology, pharmacy, and forensics. Students will be exposed to the Penn State Harrisburg world-class biotechnology facility. They will actively participate in an exciting laboratory-based scientific investigation using state-of-the-art DNA profiling techniques. In addition students will perform a problem based learning exercise to understand the mechanisms of molecular biology. The second part of the day students will explore Nature’s Pharmacy through a Taste, Touch, and Feel experience.


What are Polymers? Where can we find them? What are they used for?  From DNA to Styrofoam, the students will enjoy a hands-on experience synthesizing and breaking down various types of polymers.   Activities will include a gloop synthesis, carbohydrate breakdown, Styrofoam structure, and DNA extraction. The students will be introduced to concepts in biochemistry and organic chemistry.

Civil Engineering

Past, Present, and Future of Construction Materials: Think the General Motor’s commercial “It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile,” students will learn how materials have evolved. They will explore materials used in today’s construction through hands-on testing and explore potential materials of the future.

Then in Session 2, Build-A-Bridge, students will learn the basic concepts of design. In a hands-on friendly competition, teams will compete to test their bridge building skills and understanding of design concepts. The session will also address civil engineering challenges of the future.

Computer Science

Beyond Computer Programming: The computer science sessions will explore using the “science” in computer science, showing that the discipline covers much more than just computer programming. We’ll use games and logic puzzles to explore a broad survey of tools and techniques in computer science. The survey will include how computers encode, compress, and encrypt information, how artificial intelligence can be used to tackle difficult problems, and what problems computers cannot solve.

Electrical Engineering

Students will learn about biological behaviors such as light seeking or light avoidance. They will then learn how that behavior can be replicated in a simple robot. We will then describe the design of the robot and how the individual components work. We will then learn how to solder, assemble the robot kits, and get them working. Finally, students will be allowed to make improvements in their robots for better speed and efficiency. At the end of the session, students may keep their robots.


The mathematics sessions will introduce cryptography and multi-dimensional space. Cryptography addresses how we send information securely, even when we know people are listening. Students will learn how prime numbers and modular arithmetic revolutionized modern cryptography.  In the second session, students will explore a hyperspace world with four spatial dimensions and buid a hypercube.

Mechanical Engineering

Students will learn about lift, drag, and propulsion as they design, test, and redesign) paper airplanes to improve on their performance. A competition will be held to determine which design can produce the maximum flight distance. Mechanical engineering topics introduced during this session include: forces, fluid mechanics, efficiency, and sustainability.

In the second class, students will get hands-on experience with 3D printing. How does a 3D printer work? What are the different types of printers and materials that can be used? The steps from conceptual design to 3D modeling, preparing the CAD file for print, and finally3D printing will be demonstrated using real life applications. Students will have the opportunity to 3D print different items.


The students will investigate scientific questions related to force and energy through a number of hands-on activities involving motion, heat, energy, and light. They will conduct the kinds of experimental projects that are used to enhance learning in university courses.