SPARK! Workshops

Available SPARK! Workshops

Biology – The Anatomy of the Heart / Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023 (virtual) 

Have you ever wondered what allows you to breathe? Move? Circulate oxygen throughout your body? In this SPARK! Biology lesson, we will learn about the organ that handles all of this... the heart! Join us as we learn about the heart and everything it can do.

Chemistry – Chemistry Inside the Human Body / Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023 (virtual) 

Did you know that there are thousands of chemical reactions happening all at once inside your body? The chemical reactions that occur collectively to support life are called your metabolism. The processes associated with breathing and eating are just a few examples that rely on chemistry via the respiratory and digestive systems. In this lesson, we will explore the complexities and biological impacts of these processes. Join us to learn about body chemistry!

Chinese/Asian Studies –Traditional Chinese Calligraphy and Watercolor / Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023 (virtual) 

Are you interested in Chinese culture and the origin of calligraphy? Do you like art? Have you ever wanted to explore different styles of painting? In this lesson, students will explore the history and significance of Chinese watercolor and calligraphy by learning to write different Chinese characters! 

Computer Science– How to Teach a Computer to Think Like Us: Introduction to Artificial Intelligence / Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023 (virtual) 

How does a computer think? How can a machine beat you in chess, know what you’ll buy online next, or recreate Van Gogh’s art? From self-driving cars to facial recognition on smart phones, artificial intelligence is changing the world around us. We’ll look at online art generators, play a game against an AI algorithm, and see if you can tell a computer and a person apart. Join us as we dive into the various and unique applications of artificial intelligence and what it means not only for the tech world but also for our everyday lives. 

Cyber Security– Digital Privacy and Misinformation / Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023 (virtual) 

Have you ever wondered how your information is handled online or who can see it? Have you considered that some information is not trustworthy? We will identify reliable and malicious online information, explore how malicious actors spread misinformation online, and analyze a historical event to show the effect of misinformation in our society. We will learn more about the importance of digital privacy and how your digital privacy can be protected. Join us as we learn about the world of cyber security and what it takes to be an educated cyber citizen. 

Environmental Science– Biomes in the Real World / Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023/ (virtual) 

Have you ever played Minecraft? Have you noticed all the different biomes? In this lesson, you will learn about different biomes and the ecosystems within them. From aquatic environments to deserts, we’ll cover any biome you can think of and we will show how to make your own terrarium at home. If you love Minecraft and the environment, join this SPARK! lesson!

French – Traditions Artistiques: The Art, Aesthetics, and History of French-Speaking Culture / Thursday, March 2, 2023 (virtual) 

Bienvenue à tous! When you hear the French language, what do you picture? Perhaps you imagine the latticed silhouette of the Eiffel Tower or Édith Piaf’s nostalgic ballads. However, the French speaking world spans over 30 countries across almost all of the continents! In this lesson, we will explore the diverse artworks, entertainments, and architecture of cultures influenced by French colonialism. Take a journey from the sandy foothills of Marrakesh, Morocco to the bustling street markets of Hanoi, Vietnam as we dive into the deep cultural and historical roots of national artistic traditions. No prior proficiency in the French language is needed.

Government & Economics - Governments Around the World 2.0 / Tuesday, March 7, 2023 (virtual) 

Have you ever wondered how countries around the world run their governments? Ever wondered how different nations operate at their core? Then join us as we gain a true snapshot of global politics by exploring the governmental structure of various countries and discovering each country’s political socialization. Participants will put their political knowledge to the test with fun trivia and games.

History –The History of Modern Presidency / Thursday, March 9, 2023 (virtual) 

The world has changed a LOT since the 1970s—the invention of phones, Virtual Reality, super-fast computers, and GPS are just a few examples of this. Have you ever wondered how the American presidency has remained steadfast through all the changes in our history? Or why the presidency is so important to our democracy and our society? Or how our presidents respond to crises in order to protect each and every one of us every day? If you’re interested in learning all about recent presidents and their importance to America, join this special, limited-edition SPARK! History lesson!

Literature – Underrepresented Groups in Early Literature / Tuesday, March 14, 2023 (virtual) 

Have you ever learned about Fredrick Douglas? Have you read the poetry of Natasha Trethewey? Read Carlos Bulosan’s book? In this class, participants will explore underrepresented groups in early literature by analyzing how literature represented these groups as characters and how these groups created their own literary masterpieces. Join us for a fun introduction to how writers, poets, orators, and activists historically engaged with literature! 

Marine Biology – Aquatic Mammals 101 / Tuesday, March 21, 2023 (virtual) 

Have you ever wondered how polar bears survive in the cold?  Or why seals are so fat? Dolphins, Seals, Whales, and so many more animals make up marine mammals, and in this Marine Bio lesson, participants will learn all about the fluffy (and not so fluffy) marine mammals that play major roles in many marine ecosystems including the importance of these animals, and can be done to help the ones in need. Join us to learn how these animals survive in their respective environments, admire cute baby mammals, and test your knowledge on each animal's purpose with an interactive game/ demonstration! We hope to sea you there!  

Mathematics – The World that Runs on Statistics / Wednesday, March 22, 2023 (virtual) 

Ever wondered where in real life you will use the math you learn in school? If you have ever doubted the importance of mathematics in any field, statistics is your friend! The branch of math that deals with data and number crunching is all around us in our lives, from the economy to testing new medicines, weathering forecasting to election predictions, robotics to machine learning, and so much more! Join us to learn how statistics shows the effects of our actions on our world and gives us a window into just how important it is to be precisely informed. 

Medicine – Can You Grow Organs? A Look into Tissue Regeneration / Thursday, March 23, 2023 (virtual) 

Have you ever lost a leg? Or a finger? Probably not but imagine if you could regrow these lost limbs. While we can’t completely regrow limbs yet, doctors are currently experimenting and getting one step closer to being able to. We can currently regenerate cells, tissues, and maybe, in the future, whole, functional organs! In this lesson, we’ll break down the different ways tissue regenerative medicine has evolved and look at some animals that do this naturally, like lizards and deer. Join us in SPARK! Medicine to look at what tissue engineering doctors are doing today!

Music – Geo Jingles / Tuesday, March 28, 2023 (virtual) 

Have you ever listened to a song and couldn’t understand a single word? Have you heard of an instrument that sounds unique, like a didgeridoo? In this lesson, participants will go from continent to continent to unpack that region’s music! We'll also explore foreign composers, instruments, and singing styles in the genres of Latin Jazz, K-Pop, throat singing, and more! By the end, participants will be able to place a sample of music to an approximate region of the world and construct some simple instruments. If you want to learn a lot of cool and obscure music facts to wow your friends, join us!

Psychology - The Experiments That Shaped Psychology Today / Wednesday, March 29, 2023 (virtual) 

You hear a bell and the other 20 people in the room stand up, clap their hands, and sit back down. The bell sounds again, and they do the same. The third time the bell rings, do you stand up with them or stay seated? A psychology experiment very similar to this scenario was conducted, testing people’s conformity. Join us for SPARK! Psychology as we dive into this experiment and many more about conditioning, obedience, and various other subconscious human responses! 

Physics – A Change in Scale: From Remarkably Small to Astronomically Large / Thursday, March 30, 2023 (virtual)

Have you ever thought about what you might see as you zoom in closer and closer to an object? In reality, we can’t easily perceive anything on a very small, quantum, or incredibly large, astronomical scale. At these dimensions, the world works in ways we might not think of. In this lesson, we’ll cover the extremely small scale, where our understanding of physics breaks down into quantum mechanics, as well as the extremely large scale, where space-time is distorted by gravity and the speed of light begins to rule.

Spanish - Vacaciones y Destinos (Vacations and Destinations)/ Tuesday, April 4, 2023 (virtual)

¡Bienvenida todos! Do you enjoy going to the beach or maybe exploring the mountains? If so, take a journey with us as we travel to different Spanish-speaking countries and learn about their vacation destinations. We will look into all the interesting sites and experiences that each location contains. From La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, to las Cataratas de Iguazú in Argentina, we will dive into the culture, food, music, and events that take in these vacation spots throughout the Hispanic world. ¡Espero verte pronto!