University of Minnesota
Go to the U of M home page

Home > For Families > Saturday with a Scientist

Saturday with a Scientist

One Saturday a month, engage in authentic science and inquiry learning…and have a lot of fun while doing so! Saturday with a Scientist is designed especially for children and families, and provides a unique opportunity to explore the Bell and participate in activities inspired and led by real University of Minnesota scientists and students.


Spiders: Small Brains, Big Behaviors

Saturday, January 24, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Spiders are one of the most diverse groups of animals on the planet, and they display an equally diverse array of fascinating (and bizarre!) behaviors--all with a brain that is much smaller than our own! Join spider neurobiologists Anthony Auletta and Cynthia Harley from the University of Minnesota Department of Entomology to learn all about the amazing world of spiders.

Spiders are ecologically, economically and culturally important animals that can be found everywhere you look! And though many people might find them "scary," the truth is most spiders are beneficial to humans--from eating mosquitoes that give us malaria, to inspiring us to build space-exploring robots. You'll see spiders from all over the world, including live tarantulas; tap into your spidey senses and learn how spiders see the world; and learn how some spiders jump and fly. You also can build your own spider at our arts and crafts station.


Lunar Geology

Saturday, February 14, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

The Moon rocks! Lunar samples collected during the Apollo missions will be on display for you to get up close with. Professor Calvin Alexander from the University of Minnesota Department of Earth Sciences was a part of the original Apollo Lunar Sample team, and will join us on our investigation of these national treasures. Alexander also is the curator of meteorites at the University. The day's activities include lunar sample analysis, how to hunt for and identify meteorites, and much more.



Misunderstood Molds, Fantastic Fungi and Sensitive Lichens

Saturday, February 21, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Molds, fungi and lichens play important roles in our lives, yet most of us know little about them. We've invited Aaron David and Daniel Stanton from the University of Minnesota's Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior to explain this often misunderstood world. You'll learn how fungi can cause and cure disease, how pigs hunt for them, and how they make our bread grow. There will be six hands-on stations for visitors: Build Your Own Lichen Terrarium, Decomposition, Fungi-related Food and Products, Yeast Experimentation, Fungi Art, and Mushroom Dissection. And, don't miss the mini-lecture on Killer Fungi!