(2020) Sparking Student Interest: Renewable Energy Devices in the Classroom

The Wisconsin MRSEC has developed a simple, inexpensive way for K-12 students to build a sustainable energy device using familiar, everyday materials including aluminum foil, a plastic egg, clear tape, and a bouncy ball. The device, called a triboelectric nanogenerator, converts the often-wasted energy of motion into useful electrical energy.

(2020) Research Endeavors, Cross-Cultural Experiences, and Educational Activities

The Wisconsin MRSEC Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program is a cross-cultural collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (UPRM). The RET program provides science teachers from Wisconsin and Puerto Rico an authentic research and cultural literacy professional development experience. The program culminates with an in-person capstone week where the RETs from both sites share the research-inspired classroom activities they have developed and learn from one another about teaching in a different cultural and geographic environment. The teachers learn about the area and culture that is unique to the site hosting the capstone.

Materials Science Activities at Home!

Looking for high-quality science and engineering activities that your young learner can do from the comfort of your home? Well then, we’ve got you covered! Check out our At-Home Science Activities page! On that page, you’ll find videos guiding you through the activities, links to more detailed information, and age range. All the activities we post on that page will have their estimated cost listed, as well. We are aiming for the activities to be inexpensive, or even better, FREE!

(2019) Reaching Underserved Audiences by Bringing Science to a Local Food Pantry

Not all members of our community have the time or resources to attend science outreach events. To reach some of those people, the Wisconsin MRSEC conducts its engaging, hands-on science activities to a local food pantry. Customers can wait up to 90 minutes at the food pantry, providing ample time for educational activities for kids, their parents, and other curious adult visitors. By bringing science and engineering activities to the food pantry, the Wisconsin MRSEC forms connections with and helps inspire a new, diverse audience composed entirely of economically disadvantaged members of the community.

(2019) All Aboard the Improv-Science Trolley: Learning Science in Unexpected Places

During the Wisconsin Science Festival, a statewide event that reaches over 30,000 people, the Wisconsin MRSEC developed an improvised science program held on a trolley that shuttled passengers between 27 science activities around Madison’s Capitol Square. On the trolley, an all-female team interviewed eight early career researchers about their research and lives to enable the ever-changing trolley audience to learn about the scientists and their science as well as ask their own questions of the researchers. More than 150 people rode the trolley and learned about scientific research during their journey. The event was an excellent professional development opportunity in science communication for the researchers and was covered by the Wisconsin State Journal.

(2018) Wisconsin MRSEC Researchers and Teachers Collaborate to Create Digital Educational Games

The Wisconsin MRSEC has developed research-inspired educational digital games that are each being played over 1900 times/week. Atom Touch teaches students about atom behavior, bonding, and forces. Crystal Cave lets students explore how molecules form repeating patterns to grow into large crystals. During development, local K-12 teachers provided input on how to make the games more engaging for student learning.