SPARK! Workshops

Spring 2024 Available SPARK! Workshops (virtual)

Tuesday, February 6, 2024 / Biology – Uncovering DNA: Genetic Engineering and CRISPR 

Have you ever wondered if there was a way to cure diseases such as HIV or Huntington’s Disease? What about the possibility of altering a person’s DNA? With Genetic Engineering and CRISPR, scientists are unlocking the secrets of life itself! Genetic Engineering allows scientists to have the power to edit DNA, the building blocks of life, just like a computer programmer codes software. From creating glow-in-the-dark animals to potentially curing genetic diseases, genetic engineering has endless possibilities. In this interactive SPARK! Biology lesson: we will explore how this process works and why scientists can alter a person’s DNA. We will also investigate CRISPR, how genetics cause diseases, and how scientists can make changes in DNA to cure these illnesses!

Wednesday, February 7, 2024 / Chemistry – Super Cool Solubility: How Chemical Reactions Work 

There are distinct types of chemical reactions that work in unusual ways, but did you know that we can predict how a chemical reaction is going to turn out? When looking at combining different chemicals together, we can write an equation and use rules of solubility to help us determine what kind of reactions and products we will see. We can then verify these predictions EXPERIMENTALLY! Join this lesson to discuss chemical reactions, solubility, and more while doing cool color-changing reactions of our own!

Thursday, February 8, 2024 / Chinese – The Night of a Thousand Lights: An Introduction to the Lantern Festival 

Did you know that the Lantern Festival came to life because of a man’s love for a goose? Legend has it that the Jade Emperor became so angry at a town for killing his goose that he planned to set it on fire. Lanterns were lit across the town to escape this destruction. People continued to honor this event with colorful lanterns, and it eventually earned the name the Lantern Festival. In this lesson, students will uncover the practices and origins of this holiday!

Tuesday, February 13, 2024 / Computer Science – Inside the Machine: Exploring Computer Hardware

Have you ever wondered what is on the inside of your computer that makes it work? Welcome to the exciting world of computer hardware! In this lesson you will learn the secrets of your computer's brain, as well as the internal devices that power your computer’s speed, storage, input, and output. Get ready for a fun-filled journey that will uncover the mysteries inside the machine we call a computer! 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024 / Cyber Security – Safely Searching on the Internet 

Do you know all the ways attackers can try to get your information? The procedures you can take to stay safe while online? In this lesson, we will explore various scenarios of cyber-attacks, how to avoid them when online, as well as ways to prevent and protect yourself from each type. Join us as we investigate cyber security on the internet and how to stay protected. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2024 / Economics – The Science of Advertisement and Design 

Have you ever caught yourself singing a commercial jingle long after it ended? Have you ever been moved to purchase a product based on a picture or design? The advertising of a product, whether visually or emotionally, can make or break the demand for it. In this lesson, we will explore the science behind advertising and design that influences consumer purchases and a company’s profit. Join us to learn how the art of persuasion combined with advertising has saved companies and jobs.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024 / Environmental Science – What on Earth? 

Have you ever wondered about what is happening under your feet? Or about how volcanoes or mountains form? In this lesson we will start with the basics by learning about the different layers of the Earth, like the core and lithosphere along with how convection cells work. We will also learn about tectonic plates and their many cool jobs like creating volcanoes, supercontinents, and causing earthquakes. These systems working beneath our feet are both fascinating and UNDER appreciated!

Tuesday, February 27, 2024 / Government – How Do We Choose Our Leaders? 

Ever wondered how the people who lead us are chosen? Ever heard about election day and choosing representatives, but wondered how does our voting system works? In this lesson, we will demystify the election process by looking at its evolution from the start of the nation to the present. We will break down the election process and explain step by step how an election is run, and the differences between the many elections held in various levels of government including other ways leaders can be chosen in countries across the globe. Join us to prepare yourself to be a better citizen by better understanding the layered process that has a significant impact on our daily lives.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 / History - WW2 and Modern Warfare 

Have you ever wondered how one invasion causes a full-blown world war? Or how geography affects war tactics? Or how the United States was able to get back on its feet after the Great Depression? In this SPARK! History lesson you will learn the causes and effects of the deadliest war in history. Get ready for an in-depth look at WW2 and how modern warfare was born!

Thursday, February 29, 2024 / Literature – Unveiling the Science of Greek Mythology 

Step into the enchanting realm of Greek mythology where gods, heroes, and legendary creatures come to life! Ancient Greek mythology has long been adapted into poems, plays, and other various forms of literature. This SPARK! lesson will introduce many Greek mythological stories, exploring the fascinating scientific principles hidden within the tales. We will explore many examples from the aerodynamics that dictated Icarus’ fateful flight, to Zeus’ awe-inspiring thunderbolt, to Poseidon’s powerful control of water and climate. We will also showcase two impressive siblings: Helios who controls the sun and Selene who guides the moon. These investigations will uncover the scientific principle of Greek myths but also offer a richer understanding of the ancient Greeks' creative brilliance in creating stories that have lasted ages through literary records.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024 / Math – Probability 

Have you ever had trouble deciding because you were not sure how likely the possible outcomes were? Have you ever been put in a situation of chance and wanted to compare the possibility of different outcomes before deciding? Well, determining the probability of an event allows you to quantitatively measure the likelihood that an event will occur! Knowing how to understand and calculate probability will allow you to make informed choices, even in situations in which you have no control over the outcome. In this interactive lesson, we will conduct a series of experiments to see how we can calculate probability. By the end of the lesson, you will be able to accurately predict the possibility that a given event will occur!

Wednesday, March 6, 2024 / Marine Biology – Creatures of the Deep 

Do you know what lurks in the ocean? How can certain creatures see in the complete darkness? Or why blob fish look the way they do? Only about 5% of Earth's Oceans have been explored leaving a lot for interpretation. As we get deeper into the ocean, animals must adapt to no sunlight and intense pressure. In this lesson we will learn about the zones of depth and how animals have had to adapt to the areas. We will also touch on some weird animals and bioluminescence. So put on your diving helmet dedicated to learning and get ready to go deep!

Thursday, March 7, 2024 / Medicine – Medical Mycology and Antibiotics 

Are mushrooms and fungi as cute as they seem? By specifically specializing in medical mycology, the study of classifying fungi and molds and fungal infection, we will learn about the chemical and structural uniqueness of fungi. With this, we will find ways to apply our knowledge of medical mycology to fight fungal-based diseases or use fungi to our advantage to eliminate bacteria. Join us as we explore the cellular structure, reproduction, and unique properties of fungi.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024 / Music – The Evolution of Musical Genres 

What kind of music do you prefer? Do you listen to rap? Metal? K-pop? Join us to explore the origins of some popular music genres and artists. In this lesson we will discuss popular music artists that played an important role in the development of their musical genre, the preferred instruments used in different genres of music, how an artist’s environment may have contributed to the evolution of their work, and so more!

Wednesday, March 13, 2024 / Physics – Science of the Microwave 

Have you ever used a microwave and wondered how it heats up food so quickly? In this lesson, the SPARK! Physics team will explore the science and physics behind how microwaves function including how these principles are applied to other phenomena. The lesson will include a fun demonstration, in the form of a video so that no real microwaves are damaged.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024 / Psychology - Falling into Dreamland: The Science of Sleep and Dreams 

What is sleep and why do we do it? Why do we dream and how do we interpret dreams? In this lesson, we will explore why we need so much sleep, how the brain functions while you are asleep, and ways it can malfunction as well. We will start by learning the reasons why we sleep, before diving into the stages of sleep, as well as sleeping disorders and dream interpretations. Get ready to travel with us into dreamland and discover the brain’s mysteries! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2024 / Robotics – How Robotics Can be Used in the Real World 

How does a robot help the world? How can a robot complete tasks that humans once performed? From assembling planes to delivering medicine in a hospital, robots are helping humans daily! In this lesson, you will learn about the many types of robots used daily to help humans out! Did you know that there are around 3 million robots that work each day? Join us on an adventure to learn how robotics can be applied to everyday life! 

Thursday, March 21, 2024 / Sociology - Sociology in Health and Medicine 

Why is sociology in health and medicine important? What role does a society’s culture play in its healthcare system? In this lesson we will explore how medicine and health are interpreted in diverse ways and how expectations of health can vary. Join us as we discover how sociology impacts the health and medicine of a society.


Tuesday, March 26, 2024 / Spanish - Famosos Hispanohablantes (Spanish-speaking celebrities) 

Have you ever wondered about the many celebrities of Spanish-speaking countries? Ones that worked in science, music, or even education? In this SPARK! Lesson, we plan to explore the many celebrities, of the past and present, that have worked to achieve greatness in their respective fields. We will also explore how their accomplishments have affected their communities and the world. This lesson offers a fun immersion into many aspects of discoveries, inventions, and people who used their Spanish language and culture to enable creativity.