Workshops and Hands-On Inquiry

Investigate Labs: Your students will use scientific tools and museum specimens to answer questions and solve problems. Open for short lab activities when available or you can schedule a class workshop!

  • The Nature Lab features hands-on collections inquiry, highlighting specimens from paleontology, zoology, botany, geology, and anthropology. 
  • The Micro Worlds Lab offers opportunities to use microscopes and lab equipment to inquire into molecular, cellular, and developmental biology.   

Stream Table Programs: Students use the museum’s 10-foot stream simulation table to learn about watersheds, rivers, and landforms!

Special Program:

Discovering Dinosaur Adaptations with Dinosaur Discoveries:
Ancient Fossils, New Ideas

30 students 
45 minutes

Price in addition to Group Admission.

Available mid-February through mid-September

Explore the world of dinosaurs by observing their many adaptations and learn what these adaptations tell us about the lifestyles of these prehistoric animals. From a Triceratops horn to a Camarasaurus vertebra, see what new discoveries are being made by paleontologists and uncover the secret lives of dinosaurs.
Key Concepts: adaptations, fossils, structure and function

Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas

Coming in February 2024, Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas is an engaging exhibition that reveals a vivid picture of what living, breathing dinosaurs were really like.  This exhibition introduces how current thinking about dinosaur biology has changed over the past two decades and highlights current research by scientists from the American Museum of Natural History and other leading paleontologists around the world. 

Investigate Labs

Hands-on public Investigate Labs where students can dig in and do what scientists do.
$8 for 45 minute programs

Price in addition to Group Admission.

Programs available Monday-Friday with limited weekend availability.

Nature Lab Workshops

30 students
45 minutes 

The Nature Lab is an interactive space providing opportunities for students to answer questions with museum specimens in an engaging environment full of animal displays, plants, rocks, and fossils. Programs help explain the natural world through current research in biodiversity, evolution, ecology, geology, and conservation.

Dinosaur Adaptations

Grades 1-4
Available September to mid-February

Explore the world of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals by observing their many adaptations. Learn what these adaptations tell us about the lifestyles of these prehistoric animals. Take a closer look at actual teeth, claws, and protective gear from our collection!
Key Concepts: adaptations, fossils, structure and function

This Cycle Rocks

Grades 2-6

Explore the rock cycle through hands-on inquiry and investigation. Discover the difference between igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks, and learn about the composition of rocks and minerals. 
Key Concepts: rock cycle, types of rocks, minerals

A Species Problem

Grades 3-6
Available September to mid-June

What is a species? How do we know that one organism is closely related to another? Students will explore three different ways taxonomists define species and why it's such a hard question to answer. 
Key Concepts: speciation, taxonomy 

Bones in our Bodies

Grades 5-8
Available September to mid-June

The history of our lives is written in our bones. Learn what bones are made of, how they grow, how they change when we exercise, and how they can provide clues about skeletal adaptations in our evolutionary history. 
Key Concepts: growth and development, structure and function, evidence in archaeology

Micro Worlds Lab Workshops

30 students

The Micro Worlds lab is an interactive space where students use scientific tools to explore topics such as the biodiversity of microscopic organisms, cells, genetics, and developmental biology. Students learn about current research on how the smallest organisms can have large impacts on our lives.

DNA Extraction

Grades 4-6

How do you get DNA out of a cell? All genetic work starts with this crucial step. Learn how researchers extract DNA and how different organisms have differing amounts.
Key Concepts: genetics, DNA, lab technologies

Disease Detectives

Grades 5-8

Discover zoonosis: how diseases can jump from animals to us.  Learn and use techniques that epidemiologists use to track down the causes of diseases and keep us safe.
Key Concepts: pathogens, animal vectors, data interpretation, data-based arguments

Powering Up Photosynthesis

Grades 6-8
Available September to mid-June

Plants help combat climate change by removing harmful carbon dioxide from the air. Lurking beneath the water, however, is something far more powerful than regular plants. Our microscopes are ready to bring you an up-close and personal investigation into cyanobacteria! Explore cyanobacteria's unique solution to photosynthesis and learn how it can help us combat climate change.

Key Concepts: photosynthesis, cell structure and function, energy flow, and lab technologies

This program is based on research by Anthony Vecchiarelli, Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.

Let it Glow: A Study in Antibiotic Resistance

Grade 6-8, 9-12

See how antibiotics work in plain, glowing sight! Do an experiment on the effects of antibiotics on bioluminescent bacteria and investigate how RNA plays a part in it. Participants will go hands-on to streak a petri dish and learn how bacteria are grown and used in microbiology experiments.

Key concepts: genetics, structure, and function, using models, lab techniques

This program is based on research by Kristin Koutmou, assistant professor of Chemistry.

Stream Table Programs

1 hour 
$9/person (price in addition to the Group Admission)
30 students
Available during select dates: October 24-27, November 7-8, January 23-25, March 19-22 and May 20-24

Students use the museum’s 10-foot stream simulation table to learn about watersheds, rivers, flooding, and landforms! Students work in small groups and record their observations in accompanying student journals. These programs take place in the Community Room. 

Water, Weather, and a River Community

Grades K-3
Where does water come from, and where does it go? Students explore what happens to water when it rains, model flood dangers in a river community, conduct experiments about water flow, and discuss life in and around a river.

How Water Shapes the Land

Grades 2-6
Students discover how flowing water causes erosion and sedimentation, shaping and creating various landforms. They explore how human activities influence erosion and test various methods of erosion control.

Protecting Our Watersheds

Grades 3-8
What is a watershed and why is it important? Students explore how various human activities affect water quality both in a stream and as groundwater.