Session descriptions

We have lots to offer in this year's STEM Day---check out the listing below for all of our 2019 session descriptions.


Title Topic Description Location
The Secret Life of Things Anthropology Humans are unique from other organisms in that we rely on objects that we create to survive in the world. Join us in the anthropology museum to look at objects collected from around the world and from right here in Detroit to explore what we can learn about different cultures through the objects they make and leave behind. Unergraduate Library, Lab C
Wonders of the Universe Astronomy Have you ever looked up at the stars and wondered how far away they are, or which ones make up different constellations? Join us in the planetarium to learn the answers to these questions and more as we explore the universe together. In addition, try your hand at some of the tools astronomers use to understand the universe, such as spectral analysis. Old Main, Planetarium
Audio Production in Storytelling Audio Production Students will participate in activities that include sound design, sound Foley, voice over, and an editing demonstration to create a sound track from the sounds they have recorded. Old Main, 4130
Geonomics and Bioinformatics from Biomedicine to Biodiversity Biological Sciences Students will explore the GenBank databank and genome browsers such as NCBI genome data viewer, Ensembl, and UCSC. A focus will be on looking at genes in a human genome and identifying the mutations of genes associated with diseases. State Hall, 312
Brain Plasticity Biological Sciences Students will explore the plasticity of the sensory-motor system with prism goggle experiments. They will plot and interpret the data that they collect. Biological Sciences Building, 1177
Genes and Behavior Biological Sciences Students will learn how sensory behavior is controlled by genes using the worm C. elegans. Students will observe that C. elegans is attracted to some odors (e.g., diacetyl, the smell of popcorn butter) and repelled by other odors (e.g., high concentrations of benzaldehyde, odor of almond oil). Students will learn that C. elegans attraction to and repulsion by specific odors require the activity/expression of specific genes. Science Hall, 2046
You light up my life: Bacterial bioluminescence Biological Sciences We will talk about bacteria that emit light (bioluminescence) and how they could one day be used to light up our streets or rooms in a house. Students will look for secret messages made by bacteria that emit light, and will paint with bacteria to make their own secret picture. Once the bacteria grow enough to emit light, students will get a picture of their luminescent art. Science Hall, 2025
Epigenome: The Extra Layer of Genetic Information

Biological Sciences

Students will use model building to explore how both genetic and epigenetic variation control chromosome activity and heredity. State Hall, 426
When did the last common ancestor of humans and fruit flies exist? Biological Sciences Did you know that we are related to fruit flies? And that you can use a smartphone app called timetree to learn how long ago the last common ancestor of fruit flies and humans existed? If not, then you shouldn't miss this lab! MISB, 219
Thermodynamic Tasty Freeze Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics is an integral part of the physical world. From solar cells to cooking, phase transitions even control how quickly and smoothly ice cream crystals are formed--instanteous and delicious! Engineering Building, Hall of Fame 1200
Acids & Bases Chemistry Learn about acids and bases while performing two fun activities. Student will turn water into blood and write a secret message in invisible ink. Life Science, 133
Cloud In A Bottle Chemistry Students will learn about the water cycle and how clouds are formed when warm are rises and it's pressure is reduced. The air expands and cools, and clouds form as the temperature drops below the dew point. State Hall, 215
How do medicines work? The chemistry of medicines Chemistry Do you wonder how medicines cure illnesses or reduce pain? This workshop will introduce you to how some common medicines work using computer-based activities. Undergraduate Library, Lab A
Liquid Crystals: The chemistry behind mood rings and iPhone screens Chemistry Ever wonder how a mood ring changes color when it detects your, mood' or how pictures appear on your TV or phone screen? Come find out about what Liquid Crystals are and use them to image your hand print and sense items hidden in envelopes. Leave with your own personal mood ring to take home! Schapp Chemistry, Auditorium 
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Chemistry This is a session that will demonstrate to the audience how to prepare ice cream using liquid nitrogen as the cooling agent. I expect this to be a fun activity since the ice cream will also be served to the audience. State Hall, 208
Making an Explosion: Volcanoes Chemistry Students will learn chemistry when they create their very own volcano! Students will compete to see who can create the biggest explosion. State Hall 213
Unicorn Slime Chemistry Students will learn about polymer chemistry in a fun way by making colorful glitter slime that they can take home. General Lectures, Italian Room
What's the (triple) point!? Phasing out the scents of nature. Chemistry  Participants will take advantage of the unique physical properties of dry ice to extract the natural product limonene from orange peels. At the end of the session, students can combine their extract with an oil base to take home. Students can also eat oranges! Schaap Chemistry, Atrium
Future Transportation Technologies Civil Engineering The Wayne State University Transportation Research Group will present an interactive look at current and future transportation technologies and how engineers are preparing for the upcoming generation of connected and autonomous vehicles.  
Clinical Laboratory Scientists—Diagnostic Detectives Clinical Laboratory Sciences In this hands-on session, students will learn about the role of clinical laboratory scientists in health care.   Mortuary Science, 121
Brain, Tongue, Ear, Throat and More: Speech and Hearing Science Careers Communication Science Disorders Come visit our hands-on learning stations and find out about the science of human hearing, speech, memory and language, swallowing, and voice. See about clinical careers in helping people with these areas. State Hall, 328
Computational Thinking... Computer Science Participants in this session will explore attributes of computational thinking. They will use a coding app on iPads to demonstrate problem-solving based on the cornerstones of computational thinking.

Education, 179

Cyber Security Practice Computer Science This session provides hands-on experience in playing with security software and network systems in a live laboratory environment, with the purpose of understating real-world threats. It will focus on attacks including password cracking and network package eavesdropping, and introduce the defenses. State Hall, 314
Drone Obstable Course Computer Science Students will learn the basics task of indoor drones that includes creating a program that makes the drone take off, fly forward, and then land. Once they are comfortable with simple tasks, they can program the drone to trace patterns or navigate obstacle courses.  2507 (PACE Teaming Center)


Gaming with Coding


Computer Science


Students will play an interactive game in which they must use coding in order to level up. Can you conquer this game before the end of the session? (Hint: Only one person last year was able to finish, care to be the second?

Education, 112
Intro to Computer Science Computer Science The Obama White House predicted that by 2020, there would be 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs available, and only about 400,000 computer science graduates who have the skills necessary to apply for those jobs. My session will be a quick introduction to the world of computer science in a fun and interactive way. We will build a program from scratch and make it do something. Education, 114
Mixed Reality in 3D Graphics Computer Science 1. Virtual Environment by 3D Wall: e.g., to have some hands-on demos and experiences on a 3D immersive visualization wall for multiple examples: 3D Wayne State Campus, 3D animations, 3D shapes, etc. 2. 3D Virtual and Augmented Reality by HoloLens: e.g., to have some hands-on demos and experiences on VR and AR research tools: HoloAnatomy, HoloCampus, etc. Macabees, 3104.5 (3rd floor)
Walk the Line (A) Computer Science Become a Time Management Master in five easy steps. This interactive workshop will show you how to use technology to become a time management master. By exploring various applications, you will be able to create the perfect school/life balance. Education, 204
Do you see what I see? Eyewitness misidentification. Criminal Justice What we think we see isn't always what we did see. This will provide a brief overview of mistaken eyewitness testimony and how it can contribute to a wrongful conviction. Students will participate in a game that will illustrate how common it is to make honest mistakes as an eyewitness.  Old Main, 137
iGen and Nonverbal Communication Dean's Office As much as 75% of communication is nonverbal. Learning basic cues, and how to assess what others might be communicating, can give students a leg up at school, work, with family, peers, and the public. Old Main, 145
Egg Car Crash Engineering Participants must create a car that protects an egg during a crash. The participants will be given instructions and guidelines to follow, then they will make their cars. Then the participants will compete, in order to see whose car works the best. State Hall 214
Film-Making, Science, and Engineering Engineering Do you like animation or special effects? An important aspect of these for the movies is science and engineering. In this session, we will use some online resources, with a focus on materials on Khan Academy and videos it accesses through Youtube, to present an introduction to the use of computers for representing a world for artistic purposes, which helps to show why engineers use computers to represent the world for scientific purposes. Engineering, 2359
Pipe cleaner challege Engineering Participants will engage in a fun fuzzy yet meaningful journey in building the tallest tower while also working on team building. Old Main, 143
STEM Career Jeopardy Engineering Students will participate in a game of STEM Career Jeopardy. The students will be divided into groups and all choose a team captain. Students will choose between a variety STEM categories and a dollar amount. Engineering, Ford Activites Room 1520
The Tallest Tower Challenge Engineering Participants will be divided into teams and will work together to build a tower from household materials like paper straws and tape. Students will learn about structural engineering and teamwork! MISB, 123
Photography Engineering Technology Participants will learn how to use dslr cameras as well as studio lighting. Additionally, photography concepts such as aperture, exposure, and ISO will be explored and applied to hands-on photography stations. State Hall, 231
Our Water, Our Rights Environmental Law Students will learn about the laws that regulate and protect our drinking water and the real-life issue of groundwater withdrawal and the bottled water industry in Michigan representing three different parties---a water bottling company, an environmental group and the state government--in oral arguement before a panel of judges.  Law School, Moot Court room
Budget Challenge Finance We will help students prepare for the real world after practicing with the Budget Challenge. Students will learn in a simulated environment about a young adult's financial necessities. Students will learn what they need to know about financial literacy. MISB, 237
The Stock Market Game Finance The Stock Market Game will introduce students to the fundamentals of investing. Students will be given the opportunity to work in groups and invest a hypothetical $100,000 in a portfolio to invest as they see fit. Students will learn how what goes on in the world can impact their stocks. MISB, 227
A Visit to the World of Fascinating Minerals Geology A mineral is a naturally-occuring solid with a definite atomic structure and well-defined chemical composition that has formed by geological processes and time scales. A rare collection of very precious minerals are on display at the Mineral Museum and students will have a chance to see some of their properties.  Old Main, Geology Lab
Walking on Water: Exploring the Complex Mechanical Behavior of Geologic Materials Geology In this session we will examine the different ways in which geologic materials (rocks) deform in response to stress. Depending on the temperature and pressure conditions, as well as the speed of deformation, rocks can behave like solids or like liquids. The students will play with Silly Putty, and walk on the surface of a wading pool of Oobleck in hands-on demonstrations. Old Main, 0319
Telling Science Stories: Using Graphic Design to Make Ideas Visible Graphic Design It''s a challenge for scientists to tell non-scientists about their work in an understandable ways. How can a science story be told in compelling visual form? In this hands-on workshop, students will explore this question using the tools of art and design - line, space, weight, shape, size, color, etc. 'Äì to create diagrams and concept models that effectively communicate science ideas and data. Old Main, 3114
Disassembly and Reverse Engineering Industrial and Systems Engineering The activity will ask students to reverse engineer a valve in order to introduce them to the concepts of product design, manufacturing, and disassembly. Students will disassembly an existing valve, record the components and order of disassembly, and identify manufacturing processes used to make individual valve components. The activity will give them a hands-on introduction to product design and manufacturing.

Manufacturing Engineering Building, High Bay

Do Bees Have Knees? Information Sciences Bees are seen as both killers and saviors. One story is that without bees the world will not be able to produce the food it needs to survive. Another story is an invasion of killer bees will create huge problems for the human population.Are both of the stories about bees true? Are both false? This session will look at how we decide which stories to trust and which stories not to believe. Undergraduate Library, Lab C
What is a Digital Footprint? Information Sciences Join us in learning about the impact your digital habits and activities have in our online world. We'll use interactive stations to demonstrate the importance of digital identity awareness and explore the reach of our digital footprints. MISB, 145
Predicting Your Future Career Path by Programming with a Raspberry Pi Information Technology Students will program with Python on a Raspberry Pi to find out what college discipline would be best for them. They will program a couple of questions and post the results to the prospective student using .wav files, and physically build their Raspberry Pi and Pibrella button for selection. MISB, 233
Fitness Testing and Evaluation Kinesiology Fitness Testing and Evaluation will give any participant a chance to determine their fitness level for each component of fitness. Fitness tests include, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, body composition (body fat analysis) and cardiovascular endurance. MISB, 127
Human Performance Assessments: Am I Warrior Strong? Kinesiology Students will participate in mental and physical fitness tests within the Exercise Physiology Lab. We will go over the results and reiterate the importance of regular exercise on body and mind. We want students to embody "learning by doing" and underscore the importance of remaining Warrior Strong. Education, 55
This is Your Brain on Sugar Kinesiology Presentation will discuss how sugar affects our brains, why it is so addictive, the amount of sugar in different foods and drinks, and a tasting of a ' no sugar' dessert. State Hall, 431
Sports Medicine Concepts in Athletic Training Kinesiology/Sports Studies Students will engage in dynamic educational lab experiences with licensed ATs. Students will gain exposure to preventative taping and emergency splinting for sports related orthopedic injuries. Recreation and Fitness Center, 258
I Object! Law Student teams will invent a product for "celebrity clients", then face off in oral arguments to defend their creations in a mock trademark dispute. Law School, Spencer Patrich Auditorium
Storytelling Animations Learning Design and Technology In this session, participants will work in teams to create a storytelling animation prototype. Team members will experience different roles of Learning Design and Technology professionals while working on the prototype. Teams will present their animation prototypes once they are done. Participants will be provided with the resources necessary for creating digital storytelling animations at the end of the session. Then, participants will pick an animation prototype as the winner and the winning team will get a small prize. MISB, 223
Fun with Electromagnets Libraries Learn about electricity, magnetism by completing hands-on activities, including building an electromagnet.  Undergraduate Library, Collaboration Commons (second floor)
Mathemagic Mathematics Discovering surprising problems and results using the magic of mathematics, including card tricks, lighting fast calculations, coding and more! Old Main, 105
T3: Tinkering with Tangrams and Technology Mathematics Explore geometric dissection and composition of shapes. The activity provides a hands-on/minds-on opportunity to manipulate and play with shapes through manual and digital applications. Education, 255
Thinking Creatively About Mathematics Mathematics Students are taught that mathematics is computational. Mathematics can be applicable and inspirational. Students will move away from thinking linearly and get a glimpse of thinking creatively. State Hall, 431
Visualizing Pi Mathematics Discovering a relationship between mathematics and art in an interactive coding session. STEM Commons, 050B
Walk the Line (B) Mathematics Learning Activity Description: Students will use motion detectors and graphing calculators to study linear relationships. They will be given a graph, and they must try to walk in a manner so that the graph of their distance vs. time looks like the given graph. Education, 253
Fingercasting Medicine We will demonstrate the process of casting a broken bone via "finger casting." We will include a presentation about fractures and careers in medicine. Science Hall, 2004/2003
Taking Vitals and the Human Heart Medicine First and second year medical student volunteers from the Wayne State University School of Medicine will be leading a session on the human vital signs and some basic anatomy of the human heart. Students will participate in learning how to measure vital signs like a healthcare professional and will record their own values for their own health records. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to think about and explore various careers in the health/healthcare field and ask any questions accordingly. State Hall, 218
The Diagnostic Capabilities of Point of Care Ultrasound Medicine We will provide learners with an introduction to the diagnostic capabilities of Point of Care Ultrasound. Participants will be able to identify normal anatomic structures using ultrasound, and how its use at the bedside can impact clinical decision making. They will also be introduced to abnormal images with a brief discussion of pathology.  
Making Music With Electromagnetic Waves Music Technology Participants will use special audio devices to listen and record electromagnetic waves emitted from everyday electronic devices, such as computers, cell phones, and televisions. Then, they will use these signals and digital music technology to create short music. The workshop will be held at a professional recording studio located in the Wayne State University's Music Department. Old Main, 1388
Good Handwashing = Healthy Hands and Using Simualtion to learn the role of Nurse (A) Nursing The session will enable students to: Practice and learn effective hand handwashing to promote good health habits. Experience the world of simulation through playing the role of a nurse caring for a patient who comes into the emergency room for treatment . Cohn Building, 221/217
Good Handwashing = Healthy Hands and Using Simualtion to Learn the Role of Nurse (B) Nursing

The session will enable students to:

Practice and learn effective hand handwashing to promote good health habits. Experience the world of simulation through playing the role of a nurse caring for a patient who comes into the emergency room for treatment.

Cohn Building, 221/217
Discover Nutrition and Food Science Nutrition and Food Science Is a food delicious or not so delicious? How a food tastes in our mouth is based on many factors including flavor, texture, temperature and smell. Our taste buds tell us if food is sweet, sour, salty, bitter or umami. Students in a simple experiment examine the importance of the taste buds (the taste receptor cells) in distinguishing various flavors.  Science Hall, 3033
What is a Pathologists' Assistant? Pathologists' Assistant Please join the Pathologists' Assistant Class of 2020 at Wayne State University to learn about what a pathologists' assistant is and the crucial roles they play in healthcare and forensics. Attendees will be able to participate in any of our interactive stations, topics covering: anatomy, grossing, histology, and forensics. Mortuary Science, 223 (Anatomy Lab)
Phantastic Physics Phenomena Physics The natural world is bound by the laws of physics, and even when we leave Earth's orbit the same constraints apply. Our physicists will share how some of these laws work, and students will explore how temperature is related to the different states of matter as we experiment with very cold temperatures. Students will also discover what a figure skater and a hurricane have in common as we experiment with Newton's laws of motion and create a fire tornado. Old Main, 106
DNA Extraction from an Orange Physiology All living things, including fruit, have DNA. We will be extracting this DNA from oranges using just a few common household items. Science Hall 2038
How Animals Help People and Other Animals Live Longer Physiology Animals help people in many ways. Seeing eye dogs lead the bline. Emotional support anicals provide comfort. Mice and rats help us develop treatments and cures for diseases. In this workshop you will learn about the different types of animals used in medical research and how these animals help people and other animals live longer and healthier lives.  State Hall, 315
How To Steal An Election (And How To Keep Others From Stealing It) Political Science Can we trust our elections to give fair results? What actions can we take to make sure that they do? This session addresses a variety of problems with election fairness ranging from Gerrymandering to illegal voting and looks at citizen-led initiatives in Michigan that have tried to fix the problems. Old Main, 129
Brain Games Psychology When you sit in school, do you ever wonder how your brain handles it all and why you are better at some things than others? We will learn about what the different parts of your brain do, how you remember and learn information, and what is being measured when we give people intelligence and other tests. From this, you should learn ways to help your brain learn better. State Hall, 324
How The Brain Works Psychology Students will be introduced to methodologies and concepts in neuroscience. Participants will learn through hands-on activities about how the brain forms memories. State Hall, 410
The Amazing Brain Psychology Students will have an opportunity to see real human brains and speak to Neuroscientists to learn about their amazing brain!. Science Hall, 2028
Radiologic Technology / Diagnostic Imaging Radiologic Technology The Radiologic Technology program will present the many aspects of a career in radiologic technology, featuring diagnostic images and equipment related to x-ray, CT, MRI, and beyond. MISB, 139
Spaghetti Tower Marshmallow Challenge and Vision Boarding Social Work Students will break into smaller work groups and work as a team to create a freestanding tower from spaghetti, tape, yarn and marshmallows. Let the teamwork and creativity begin! Then students will stretch their creative muscles to explore their goals with who will help them along the way and what they might need to succeed.  School of Social Work (5447 Woodward), 101
Statistics of M & M's Statistics Participants will explore and discuss statistics, including the mean, percents, frequency distributions and histograms. By using a hands on approach, students will see how a candy manufacturer guarantees a satisfying product to it's consumers. MISB, 229
M&M and Color Theory and Light (Skittles too) Theatre An exploration of color theory in lighting from the spectrum of white light to altering the colors of our favorite candies. Hilberry Theatre, Underground Theatre
The science of the green screen effect in story telling. Video Techonology Students will learn about the techniques of using the green screen (chroma Key) effect in setting a character into a location that is miles or perhaps worlds away in a science fiction type of story setting. Old Main, 4130
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