During the winter 2020 semester, the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History trained 75 undergraduate researchers to communicate their science to the public. In response to COVID-19, more than 30 students adapted their projects from hands-on demonstrations to an online format.

Enjoy a sampling of their videos, comics, and infographics!

If you try any of these experiments at home, document your experiment and tag us on social media (#UMMNH, #MuseumAtHome).

Acid Mine Drainage

Audience:  Teens, Adults
Grades: 9+
Duration: ~10 minutes

Hundreds of geese dead in the water? Rivers running orange? If this sounds like the premise of a horror movie, think again! These are just a few of the environmental impacts of poorly managed mining operations. Mining is necessary to power the modern world, but it can also have shocking consequences. Uncover the chemistry of acid mine drainage and learn what you can do to advocate for responsible mining.

Caleb Jelsma-Cale is a second-year student in the University of Michigan Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. He is also a project lead for Woven Wind of BLUElab, a U-M student organization that designs and constructs wind turbines while also teaching about sustainability and renewable wind energy. Caleb first learned of acid mine drainage in his coursework and drew the connection between mining impacts and public policy.

Speech, Stuttering and Rhythm

Audience: Youth, Adult
Grades: 8+
Duration: 11 minutes 

Who's got rhythm? We all do! But did you know that adults and children who stutter perceive rhythm differently? In this video, undergraduate researcher Jeremy Taigman connects the dots between speech and rhythm. You can try a real rhythm discrimination test and learn how these tests are improving speech therapy.

-Jeremy Taigman is a senior majoring in Neuroscience and a researcher in the U-M Speech Neurophysiology Lab with Dr. Soo-Eun Chang and Dr. Emily Garnett.

 

 

Asthma and the Immune System

Ages: Children and Family
Grades: K-2, 3-5
Duration: ~15 minutes
Materials: Ruler, Exacto knife, Pop bottle w/ cap, drill, bendable straw, tape, hot glue, pipe cleaners, two water balloons, one regular balloon, scissors

Discovering new science can be like a breath of fresh air! But if you have asthma, taking a breath can be quite the challenge. Undergraduate researcher Molly Shea takes us on a deep dive into the science behind asthma. Whether you prefer to learn by doing a craft, listening to an expert, or playing an online game, Molly has something for you!

- Molly Shea is a senior majoring in Neuroscience and a researcher in the Lundy Lab.

 

 

An Introduction to Computer Science

Ages: All
Grades: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Duration: 5 minutes

You probably use a computer every day, but how do all of your apps and programs work? When you search a website, how does the computer know where to take you? Join U-M Computer Science student Allison Kench as she answers these questions and more! Learn about Allison's journey as a woman in STEM and discover how coding is really all about helping people.

- Allison Kench is a rising senior in Computer Science at the U-M College of Engineering. She is a member of the Women in Science and Engineering Residential Program and was an intern in the Microsoft Explore Program in 2019

 

 

El Fascinante Código del ADN

Ages: Children and Family
Grades: 3-5, 6-8
Duration: ~10 minutes
Materials: Twizzlers, gumdrops, toothpicks

Desde su descubrimiento en 1953, la estructura de doble hélice del ADN se ha vuelto icónica. Esa estructura es lo que permite que el ADN funcione. ¡Daria, una estudiante de biología en U-M, explica en español! Bono: ¡Hay dulces! 

 

Translation

The Fascinating DNA Code

Since its discovery in 1953, the double helix structure of DNA has become iconic. That structure is what allows DNA to function. U-M biology student Daria explains in Spanish! Bonus: There's candy involved! English subtitles.

- Daria Pyrozhenko is a senior in Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology and Spanish (Dept. of Romance Languages and Literatures) and a researcher in the Dlugosz Lab.

 

 

Kidney Functions

Ages: Children and Family
Grades: 3-5, 6-8
Duration: ~15 minutes
Materials: coffee filter, two clear cups, popsicle stick, yellow food coloring, salt, sponge, red or pink beads, beads of a different color

What do your kidneys have in common with your dryer and your car engine? U-M undergraduate Hollyann Stewart will answer this and other questions about these important organs with a fun at-home demonstration.

- Hollyann Stewart: is a graduating senior in Art and Design. Discover her portfolio here.

Avoid Pain, Protect Your Brain

Neuroscience student Roksolana Sudyk works in a lab that studies the brain. Her clever comic will help you explore the role of special membranes that protect your brain. It’s eggcelent!

-Roksolana Sudyk: Junior in Neuroscience & Psychology and undergraduate researcher in the Parent Laboratory

Cheerios and Your Cells

How do your blood cells use iron and where does that iron come from? Try this experiment and variations: How does the strength of the magnet affect the experiment? Does this work better if the cereal is ground up? Floating in milk? Share your results with us on social media!

-Casey Hedman: Junior in Cellular and Molecular Biomedical Sciences and undergraduate researcher in the Nagrath Laboratory.

Proteins and Their Structures

No paparazzi, please! Why does U-M biology student Benjamin Moy take so many pictures of proteins? Learn about proteins and the tools scientists use to capture their close-ups.

-Benjamin Moy: Graduating Senior in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and undergraduate researcher in the Nandakumar Lab and incoming medical school student.

Cell Culture in the Kitchen

You may have heard about the nationwide bread baking trend that is sweeping the nation while people are sheltering in place. What does sourdough have to do with skin cancer research? Julia Van Goor explains in this infographic.

-Julia Van Goor: Junior in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and undergraduate researcher in the Skin Cancer Biology Research/Dlugosz Lab

Science in the Dark

Do science in the dark! Learn about fluorescence from biology student Emily Rozich and make your flowers glow.

-Emily Rozich: Senior in Cellular and Molecular Biomedical Science and undergraduate researcher in the Buttitta Lab