Adams State University STEM Saturdays begin February 24

ALAMOSA – Adams State University continues to encourage young students to pursue interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs. This spring, faculty members in STEM fields will continue to offer free interactive sessions to stimulate the imagination and curiosity of students. STEM Saturdays begin February 24.

All sessions are designed with specific grade-level, developmentally appropriate lessons in mind. They are provided free of charge, but reservations are required as space and equipment are limited.

Sessions are scheduled from 9 a.m. until noon.

February 24 – Who’s the Daddy: Investigating Paternity with DNA, Dr. Adam Kleinschmit, assistant professor of biology, grades 6-8; enrollment cap is 8.

March 3 – Biodiesel and Soap from Coconut Oil, Dr. Alexey Leontyev, assistant professor of chemistry, grades 7-12; enrollment cap is 8.

March 10 – A Safari through the Jungle of Shape and Space, Meredith Anderson, assistant professor of mathematics, grades 6-8; enrollment cap is 16.

April 28 – 3D Printing, Dr. Chris Adams, associate professor of chemistry, grades 6-12; enrollment cap is 8.

May 5 – Help celebrate National Geographic’s Year of the Bird, Dr. Tim Armstrong, professor of biology, grades 6-12; enrollment cap is 10.

Registration for all sessions is required. Once registered, participants will receive the location of session and any other pertinent information. Only parent/guardian authorized registrations will be accepted. Session registrations are limited to 2 sessions per student. No cost to participants.

Workshop Information:
Who’s the Daddy: Investigating Paternity with DNA: The theme of this session will fixate on how DNA fingerprinting can be applied to solve crimes and determine paternity. In the process of dissecting applications of DNA testing, participants will address questions such as: What does DNA looks like? How DNA can be extracted from cells? Participants will focus on extracting DNA from a wide diversity of cell types; essentially in the same way scientists isolate DNA for research, but with the use of common household items. Participants will also visualize stained DNA in resting and actively dividing cells using light microscopy. Lastly, the use of biotechnology advances in forensics and society will be explored using hands-on activities.

Biodiesel and Soap from Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a wonderfully versatile and cheap raw material. Via chemical derivatives, this oil makes its way into many useful products ranging from fine cosmetics to biodiesel fuels. We will perform chemical transformations that will convert coconut oil into soap and biodiesel fuel. Participants can keep soap bars after they complete the experiment.

A Safari through the Jungle of Shape and Space: Join Meredith on an adventure through the wild and woolly wilderness of geometry. During this activity, we will give many familiar shapes the chance to break free of their cramped cages at the zoo, and stretch, twist, bend, and leap their way around the wide landscape of geometry. Let’s watch what unfolds as squares, circles, and other well-known friends bend and join themselves together in exciting new ways to create some exotic geometric critters whose form will shed light on important questions involving the shape of the universe, space, time, and much more.

3D Printing: In the past couple of years 3d printing has emerged as an exciting technology that allows the user to bring their creations to fruition in a matter of hours. Using the same plastic used in Lego, designs can be brought from the digital world to life layer by layer. In this STEM Saturday participants will learn how 3d printers work, how to operate a 3d printer, and will have the opportunity to print a design chosen from a vast open-source database of cool creations.

Help celebrate National Geographic’s Year of the Bird by joining us for a morning of birdwatching. We will head into the field to visit some local birding spots to observe birds, learn more about them, and learn how to identify different birds. Participants should be prepared for changing weather conditions and should bring food, water, and their own binoculars if they have them. Binoculars will be provided for students that do not have their own. Please contact Dr. Tim Armstrong for more information at [email protected].

For more information or a reservation form, contact Jayson Mitchell, STEM activity coordinator, at 719-587-7586 or [email protected]. Registration forms are also available at