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Want us to visit your school?

What is it?
Who is it for?
What do we need?
What is the cost?
How do we sign up?

What is it?
The Little Shop of Physics is an outreach program of the Department of Physics at Colorado State University, specializing in hands-on science.

We have more than 60 hands-on science experiments that we can set up at your school. These are small-scale versions of the types of exhibits you might find in the science museums such as the "Exploratorium" in San Francisco. Some examples:

* Phantom Light Bulb
* Plasma Ball
* Hand Battery

These experiments are suitable for students of all ages. The exhibits are easy to understand, the experiments designed to engage interest.

For a taste of what a school visit is like, watch Little Shop - The Movie.

Who is it for?
The Little Shop of Physics is a science enrichment activity for school groups at all levels. We also work with community groups, organizations at the university, and anyone who might benefit from what we have to offer.

How does it work?

Our usual program is:
* We come to your school 45-60 minutes before we see our first group of students. With your help, we set up our equipment.
* A group of up to 75 students arrives. We give them a brief presentation of 2-5 minutes.
* Students are turned loose to work with experiments, with our supervision. 40-50+ minutes is a good amount of time.
* Students return to class.
* The next group of students arrives, and we take it from the top.

As soon as one group leaves, we are ready for another. We can see as many groups as time allows, with 45-60 minutes per group. We usually see most or all of the students in a school, in groups of 50-75, though smaller groups are better. We can work with groups of one age or with mixed groups. In fact, if we are to work with kindergartners or preschoolers (which we can!) mixed-age groups work very well. The older kids can work with the younger kids to help them work with the different experiments - which is good for everyone!

What do we need?
We need the following facilities at your school:

* One or two rooms or areas in which to set up. We need one area that is well-lit, and another that can be kept dark (we have a number of our coolest experiments that really need to be in the dark.) A multipurpose room with a stage (for the dark stuff), a cafeteria with lights that can be dimmer on one side, a gym with a weight room attached, a media center with two areas, two good-sized classrooms - we are very flexible.
* Tables. We will need a total of about 20 tables to set up on. Depending on space, we can put these half and half in the light and dark areas, or most in the light and some in the dark. And we can be flexible; we can use student desks, counter tops, the edge of a stage, we can squeeze onto 12 tables, we can use ping-pong tables... We have never been at a school yet where we have not been able to find the necessary horizontal surfaces!
* Electrical power. We need one or two outlets in each room, though more is nice.
* People to help unload the van and arrange tables. A few students who can help us carry boxes at the beginning of the day is a nice touch.
* People to help reload the van. After we finish, we need about 15 minutes to box up the equipment. Then we could use some students to help carry boxes out.
* People to help supervise students. The students work with the experiments in an unstructured environment. Teachers are encouraged to help us keep things running smoothly! For most situations, if teachers accompany their classes, this will be plenty of supervision. If we are working with very young children (Kindergarten or 1st grade, say) then a few parent helpers might be nice, so there are more adults about. And in elementary schools, if parents want to help out (we often have one or two parent helpers per class) this can only make things better!
* A lunch break. As you plan the schedule, please include a lunch break for us. If we can eat lunch in your cafeteria, or if you could otherwise arrange for lunch for us, that would be a very nice touch.

What is the cost?
We have no set fees for our program - we have never declined to visit a school based on finances. But we are supported by grants and donations, and so we do accept donations from the schools that we visit. Donations from schools allow us to develop new exhibits, repair equipment, and purchase supplies. It costs us about $300-$400 per school visit, depending on travel and number of students, to stay in operation. We believe that this is a very reasonable cost for the program we present. But we will not rule out a visit to any school based on how much (or whether) they can donate!

How do we sign up?
For further details, or to set up a visit, please contact:

Brian Jones
Physics Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(970) 491-5131

Email is the best way to get in touch. Our schedule tends to fill up quickly; it helps if you can plan well in advance. We look forward to working with you!