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A boy mixing glow in the dark solutions at Open Lab Night

Welcome to Virtual Open Lab Week at BSU!

Did you know that some fish have teeth in their throat?  Are you ready to use your engineering skills to design and build a slithering monster?  Can rocks do yoga?  Can bugs walk on water?  You will find answers to these questions - and more - through Open Lab Week activities. 

Open Lab Week activities can be accessed in the drop down menu below.  For those activities with an asterisk after the title, select items have been provided in a supply kit. 

Activities were developed by CASE staff and BSU faculty and students.  We recommend trying a few activities each day.  Activities can be completed at any time - there are no "live” presentations.  Within each activity, there are opportunities to submit your work, post a picture, or submit a comment or question.  We would love to hear from you, and our BSU students would really appreciate your feedback.  All posts are anonymous, but if you have not signed a media release with your approval for BSU to use pictures, please do not share images of your children or family.  

Most activities only require supplies commonly found at home.  There are several activities for which we have provided supplies in a kit you may have picked up from BSU.  All supplies in the kits are labeled with the activity name.  Please note that adults should supervise all students completing activities and that provided safety guidelines must be followed.

Open Lab Week activities are presented using Sway, which is best experienced using Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer 11, Firefox 17 or later, Chrome 23 or later, and Safari 6 or later. Viewing a Sway on the Web works at any screen resolution.  Within each activity, you are invited to submit comments, questions and images using Padlet.  Padlet can be accessed using Google Chrome (v76 and above); Safari (11.0 and above); Firefox (68 and above); Edge (17 and above); Mobile Safari (iOS 6 and above); Mobile Chrome on Android Jelly Bean (4.1 and above).  Service is not guaranteed on Internet Explorer. We recommend you use Microsoft's latest browser, Edge.  If you run into any issues, please try a different browser, or send us an email at

Open Lab Week is being offered during Mass STEM Week -  If you post about BSU’s Open Lab Week on Twitter, please tag us @bsu_case and tag with #MassSTEMWeek

We are so excited to share hands-on STEM learning with you and your families and can’t wait to see your pictures, comments and questions!

Registration for the event is required.  Supply kits are no longer available.  However, you can still participate in many of the activities that are offered, as they can be completed using items commonly found at home. 

A Bird’s Song: What Can it Tell Us? (Appropriate for all ages)
In this online lab, you will investigate how different bird sounds travel and what helps them travel further. Learn how to “read” sounds using a spectrogram to visualize bird sounds, predict which bird sound will travel the farthest, and learn why this is important for their behavior. Using your phone, tablet or computer, test real bird sounds under different conditions to see which work best for communicating in different habitats. Come learn about North American birds and the unique sounds they make!

Branching Out (Pre-K to Grade 2)
For this fun, interactive art activity, we will be collecting natural materials from an outdoor environment of your choice and creating a collage. Items from nature such as twigs, tree bark, acorns and different types of leaves are perfect for this activity!

Buckle Up and Ride: Soaring into Engineering (Appropriate for all ages)
Have you ever wondered what makes a roller coaster move so fast? Now you can find out by building your very own roller coaster! We will be exploring the connection between constructing your roller coaster (engineering) and creating a theme and putting color into your roller coaster (art). Speed, velocity, kinetic and potential energy will also be introduced. So the question is, are you ready for the challenge?

Build Your Own Virtual Museum! (Appropriate for all ages)
In this activity, you will be asked to do the jobs of a creative director and software engineer as you build your own virtual museum exhibit. You will learn programming skills and show us your creativity!

Did You Know that Fish Have Teeth in Their Throat?  (Appropriate for all ages)
Well, some fish do! Join this activity to learn more about why your teeth have different shapes, see how certain fish use their teeth in their throat, and help us identify fossilized fish teeth.

Dig Deeper - A Geologic Activity (Appropriate for all ages)
Create a model of what the ground looks like below our feet without cutting into the Earth!

Don’t Get ‘Tide’ Down, Play With Waves!  (K-Grade 5)
Have you ever gone to the beach and wondered how waves are formed and how they affect the objects in the ocean? 
Complete this activity to experience how waves move and how different factors influence the formation of waves

Exploring Owl Pellets (Appropriate for all ages)*
Do you want to see what an owl ate for dinner last night? In this investigation, we will dissect an owl pellet to learn about an owl's diet and where they fit within the food chain.

Explore with Seek (Appropriate for all ages) 
Take a look around your yard.  Are there plants and animals that you are curious about? Using the Seek app you can not only identify the organisms but also learn more about them. This fun and interactive app makes your walk around the block a lot more fun as you photograph and identify what you see.

Forensic Casting (Middle and High School)*
Criminals often think to avoid leaving behind their fingerprints at the crime scene, but what about their footprints? Let’s learn more about footwear impressions and how forensic scientists gather and record this type of evidence

Halloween Bristle Bots (Appropriate for all ages)*
Halloween is only a few weeks away. Let’s put our engineering skills to use and design and make some creeping, slithering, hovering monsters and ghosts to play with.

Invisible Extinguisher (Middle and High School)
Do you believe in magic? In this experiment you will learn how to extinguish a candle with an invisible substance. Is it magic or science?

Is this Water Healthy? Supplies for this activity will only be provided to families with students in middle or high school.
Aquatic organisms require water with specific pH, dissolved oxygen, and nutrients in order to stay healthy. Using simple chemical analysis, you can examine a local water body and try to determine if the water is healthy enough to support life. Find a local water body and investigate. 

Let’s Make a Watershed! (K-Grade 4)
Do you know where all the rain goes after it rains in your neighborhood or community? In this investigation we will build are own watershed to learn how water moves, travels and carries things within a watershed.

Nature’s Recyclers (Appropriate for all ages)
The food chain doesn’t end after a plant or animal dies, it’s a continuous cycle. Let’s take a walk in the woods and learn about the important process of decomposition and where it all takes place.

Rock Yoga: Modelling Rock Deformation with Play-doh (Pre-K to Grade 8)*
Can rocks do yoga? The answer is sort of! Over very long periods of time rocks can bend, fold, and stretch when they are subjected to different stresses. Play-doh will be used to model the ways rocks can bend and fold. We will explore how we see these folds on Earth’s surface through geologic maps and models. Rocks may not seem like they are soft (pliable) like Play-doh but under the right conditions they are!  

Sifting Through Layers - Exploring Sediment (Middle School)
Students will learn how to create their own sediment core similar to those used by geologists, archaeologists and environmentalists. They will use household supplies, and a little bit of scavenging for the right types of soil and rocks, to make a unique sediment core. Students will be introduced to the U.S. Geologic Society website where they can get a detailed map and report of the soil around their home or neighborhood. This activity allows you to study the Earth around you!

Skittle Science (Pre-K to Grade 4)*
Do you love Skittles? They are colorful, sweet and delicious, what’s not to love. In this investigation we will study what happens when a skittle reacts with water and starts to dissolve, and we will even make some Skittle art.

Splatter Science – A Physics Activity (Grades K-5)
When was the last time you were allowed to make a mess at home? The challenge of this project is "How can you spread paint without even touching it?" In this lesson you can learn how to make a beautiful piece of art, while also learning the forces behind how the art is made!

The Amazing Properties of Water (Appropriate for all ages)
Have you ever wondered how bugs can walk on water? What makes water form a droplet?  Water behaves in many unique and interesting ways. Try out these fun activities to investigate the amazing properties of water. 

The Art of Nature (Appropriate for all ages) 
Step outside, take a look around, and join us on this journey to take a closer look at the natural landscapes that can be seen everyday right outside your home! Don't forget to grab your art supplies, because you will be becoming science illustrators as you observe, sketch, compare, and explain these areas around you!

The Density of Water (Middle School)
Water is an amazing chemical substance naturally found in all 3 physical states; solid, liquid, and gas. In this investigation we will learn about how the density of the water changes with the states of matter.

The Shapes of Us (All ages)
There are so many kinds of shapes to explore! Taking inspiration from Pablo Picasso's famous painting, Three Musicians, students will solve riddles to create their own abstract people entirely out of geometric shapes!

To the Moon and Back: The Relationship between the Earth and Moon (Grade 2-12)
Do you like space? Here is an activity that will let you create your own model of the Earth and Moon that you can decorate, and create moving parts that will show how the Moon orbits around the Earth and how the Earth rotates on its axis.

Where Does the Sun Set? (Middle and High School)   Where does it set? In the west, you say. But, does the Sun set in the same place every night? Does the location of the sunset change with changing seasons? Start this activity during Open Lab Week to discover the answers to these questions!