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2019 AAAS Family Science Days


2019 AAAS Family Science Days Stage Schedule

Saturday, February 16   Sunday, February 17

 What bear hair can tell us about how black bears live among human development

Michael Evans

Conservation Data Scientist
Defenders of Wildlife


Time, Einstein, and the coolest stuff in the universe

Presented by:
Bill Phillips
Nobel laureate in Physics
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Monsters and microbes: The infectious nature of vampires, zombies, and werewolves

Joanna Verran

Emeritus Professor of Microbiology

Manchester Metropolitan University



Applying science to help people who are blind

Jason Grieves

Senior Program Manager




La Moni, Yola, and Dr. Ramírez: Who I am, how I got here, and why I do it!

Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta

Assistant professor

University of Arizona


What was the real "paleodiet"?

Briana Pobiner

Research Scientist & Museum Educator

Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History



Seeing the light: How a glowing squid helps us understand symbiosis

Sarah McAnulty

Ph.D. Candidate

University of Connecticut


Turning your interests and passion into a career in STEAMM

Sanna Gaspard





The real life of an engineer: Solving puzzles

Karen J.L. Burg

Dr. Mom/Professor & Harbor Lights Chair in Biomedical Research

College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia


Follow your dreams, trust your heart

Florence Lu

Senior Solution Architect

IBM Research



Exploring the invisible world: How DC families are using science to act on climate change

Presented by: Mobile Climate Science Labs


Students communicating latest climate science research

Presented by: Lowell School, Washington DC


Was that an earthquake?

Wendy Bohon

Geologist & Science Communication Specialist

Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology


Family Science Days Exhibitors

Family Science Days exhibitors are bringing their favorite hands-on science activities and shows to share with all attendees.

Welcome to AAAS Family Science Days
Get a quick orientation to the event and ask any questions you might have, while collecting your AAAS activity book and pencil case!

American Chemical Society
Discover the secret science of self-inflating balloons! An activity with atomic tokens will help you figure out what is in these balloons and what happens as they inflate. Experience the chemical reaction inside the balloon and take it home with you. This cool chemistry is bound to expand your world!

American Physical Therapy Association
Stop by the American Physical Therapy Association's booth to learn how physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) use technology and games to treat patients every day. Take a turn playing games on the Wii U system as you learn how video games can be a great way to stay active and improve movement. You'll also have the ability help put together a life-size puzzle of the human skeletal and muscular system!

American Society for Microbiology
Explore our tiniest inhabitants and how we interact with them with activities for the whole family! We humans have a complicated relationship with microbes - that is, organisms (as well as viruses and prions, which aren't really alive) that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Some microbes are friendly, like the bacteria that make yogurt. Some are definitely NOT friendly, like the virus that causes the flu. Most are somewhere in between. Get to know more about our unseen frienemies by playing games like Pathogen Plinko and Grocery Store Microbiology and get an up-close look at microbes you might find around your house.

American Society of Naval Engineers
Design your own ship! We will have a hands-on boat-building area, challenging students to build the tallest boat with the supplies given. Students can also use our free video game to design their own 1,000,000-pound boat and test it for Search-and-Rescue missions. You can download this free video game at any time at

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Human communication entails speaking, listening, reading, writing, as well as processing sign language and nonverbal channels of communication such as facial expression and body language. Through interactive, problem-based activities, learn more about effective communication including how the brain prepares messages, controls more than 100 muscles just to speak a single word, and manages to comprehend all forms of language at an incredibly fast pace, often in noisy and distracting environments. Also learn about disorders that make effective communication challenging and how speech-language pathologists and audiologists can help.

American University
American University presents “Science in the Kitchen.” Visitors will extract DNA from strawberries, make ice cream, and see the ublecht effect in action.

Carnegie Institution for Science
Come make your own handheld spectrograph and pocket solar system!

Catlilli Games
Spice up your family game night with science! Designed by scientists/engineers-turned-teachers, our line of fun STEM tabletop games sneak in learning without kids realizing it. Roll the dice to see what kind of DNA your will inherit in our genetics game, Crazy Cats (ages 4+), or out-program your opponent to win Tic-Tac-Toe in our coding game Tacto (ages 6+). Come demo our games with us!

Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology, The George Washington University
This exhibit is all about you! Move through several stations to learn what makes us human and how our bones, brains and tools differ from other animals. Visitors can also go ape talking about everything primate-related with researchers from the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology.

Climate and Urban Systems Partnership (CUSP)
Climate and Urban Systems Partnership (CUSP) invites your family to explore solutions to climate change impacts to your community. Apply your ingenuity to activities about public transit, green infrastructure and air quality improvement. What solutions will make the biggest difference in your community?

Department of Forensic Sciences
Department of Forensic Sciences will highlight the public health, crime scene sciences and forensic science laboratories featuring hands on experiences with latent finger prints, crime scene science equipment and mosquito surveillance.

Howard University Engineering Ambassadors
Earthquake Engineering: This activity introduces children to the world of earthquake engineering. Participants can build their own earthquake-resilient buildings and test them on our very own shake table.
Wind Tunnel: This activity introduces children to the different forces that act on an airplane. Participants can build and test their very own airplanes against wind speeds in our wind tunnel.

IRIS Consortium
Create an Earthquake and Explore Seismology!
Be a seismic detective and answer these questions: 1) Did any earthquakes happen around the world today? 2) Where do most earthquakes occur? 3) Where do you think the next earthquake will occur?
Excited about physics, math and earth science? Come explore real-time earthquake locations and learn about the dynamic nature of the Earth. You can also see how scientists use seismic waves to image the Earth's interior – from the shallow subsurface to the core. Be sure to ask about everything seismologists do – from probing the Earth for fuel sources to studying earthquake hazards.

Joint Quantum Institute
See levitating superconductors, cooled by liquid nitrogen, zoom along a magnetic track. Visitors to our booth can talk to scientists about quantum mechanics -- the physics revolution of the last 100 years -- and learn about quantum computers and other future applications of quantum science.

KID Museum
KID Museum Arcade
Design and play your own version of our customizable pinball games made from wood, dowels and 3D printed parts, employing STEM principles and skill along the way!

Light the Future
Share the light you bring to the world. Learn to build a circuit with batteries, wires, and an LED, then add your light to a community sculpture that will Light up the Future!

Language Science for Everyone
Even though you use language all the time, you probably don't know much about how it really works. How do human ears and brains turn sound waves into consonants, vowels and words? How can we write down the 800 different sounds used in the 7,000 languages spoken on Earth? What's the difference between a language and a dialect? Which part of the brain handles language? Meet scientists who study these questions and try out activities to learn more.

Letters to a Pre-Scientist
The media often portrays "scientists" quite narrowly, and, as a result, many young people have a limited understanding of their options if they want to "become a scientist when they grow up." At the Letters to a Pre-Scientist booth, children have a chance to draw a scientist, and discuss potential stereotypes and misconceptions about what scientists look like and what they do in their jobs. Then, they'll have the opportunity to meet and talk to real scientists from different STEM fields and occupations to broaden their awareness of the many career options in science.

Lowell School
Featuring students and professors in Howard University’s NCAS-M, Atmospheric Sciences, and Chemistry Programs. Make your own discoveries with our carbon dioxide monitoring station. Join middle school and university students as they lead several labs that compare the atmospheres of different planets and use 3D models of greenhouse gases. Choose where to start your new job as a satellite design engineer and mission scientist: NOAA Silver Spring or NASA Goddard.

Curious about how electricity flows through a circuit? Want to find out how resistors work? Curious about microcontrollers like Arduino and Raspberry Pi and want to see them in action? Check out MakeCrate’s circuit building activity. You’ll use step-by-step instructions to make LEDs blink and buzzers buzz while building your engineering knowledge and skills.

Math Matters to Me

Math Matters to Me explores the math happening all around us every second of every day. Electricity flows throughout our bodies and the space we live in. Rubbing socks on a rug, taking warm dry clothes out of a dryer and even the unexpected zap exchanged in a handshake shows math happening. Experience positive and negative charges through the hair-raising and shocking wonderment of static electricity in a Van de Graaff generator. Visit the Math Matters to Me booth for a truly awesome experience.

Mobile Climate Science Labs

Explore the invisible world all around us! It’s here that global warming takes place. Make discoveries with cameras in two different bands of infrared. These are powerful tools for taking positive and innovation action in response to climate change in such fields as energy conservation and sustainability. Participants will be doing both fun and very serious science that affects all of us.

National Human Genome Research Institute

Learn about DNA and the human genome! Use a micropipette to make your own bioart design, and contribute to a larger 'pipette by numbers' design (then come back later to see how the design comes along). Then explore your genetic traits with the Genetic Trait Tree: look at a set of inherited physical traits, such as dimples, and follow the guide to identify which 'group' you are in based on your combination of traits.

North American Sundial Society
Find out how ancient astronomers told time and discover that you can make one of the world's oldest clocks, a sundial. Choose your own sundial design that you can cut out and assemble and learn how to tell time using a heliodon- a set of lights that mimic the sun. Take a close look at our giant sundial and get to know more about the famous Pythagorean theorem. See why Thomas Jefferson always carried a set of mathematical tables in his pocket.

Persnickety Press, an imprint of WunderMill, Inc.

In the “Scientists Get Dressed” Glove Challenge activity, visitors of any age get a hands-on feel for scientists’ work. Wearing the right gloves is critical for scientists whether in the lab or in the field. On a glacier, gloves keep scientists' hands from freezing. On a volcano, gloves keep scientists' hands from burning. In a lab or operating room, gloves keep scientists' hands from touching germs or chemicals, and prevent their own germs from contaminating whatever they’re working on. But how do gloves create extra challenges for scientists -- on land, in water and even in space? Inspired by the forthcoming book Scientists Get Dressed, by AAAS/Subaru SB&F prize winning author Deborah Lee Rose, this activity lets visitors try on different scientists' gloves to do hands-on tasks. Visitors can also explore how a diversity of scientists suit up, gown up, gear up, or even dress up in costume to make new discoveries, save lives and save the planet.

Science Storytellers

Get to know some of the scientists at the AAAS Annual Meeting with Science Storytellers! Pull up a chair and have a one-on-one conversation with a scientist, then share what you learned with us (we’ll provide tips on telling stories about science from professional science journalists). You'll leave with your own reporter's notebook, filled with new ideas, questions, and maybe some new discoveries, too.

Science, Naturally!
How can you tell if an egg has been cooked without breaking it open? How do elephants protect their knees and elbows? Why do cats have scratchy tongues? How do whales stay warm in freezing Antarctic waters? Find the answers with Science, Naturally! Stop by our booth to try a number of activities for all ages that help kids find the answers to the questions above and so much more. All activities are drawn from our award-winning STEM trade books.

Society for American Archaeology
Touch the past with the Society for American Archaeology! Visitors can talk with archaeologists, while examining real artifacts and 3D-printed plastic replicas. Learn how they work in the field through an excavation display and a model of soil layers that participants can touch to understand the differences in textures and contents. These layers and objects help archaeologists create a timeline of history. An archaeologist will use a tabletop 3D scanner to create digital models of artifacts at the booth to show the process of creating plastic replicas. Other archaeologists will lead visitors through identifying and measuring artifacts.

Society for Neuroscience

Do you want to learn more about the brain and nervous system? Visit the booth to participate in hands-on activities about optical illusions, heavy cognitive load, and interactions between taste and smell. Check out the website for many more activities to learn about the most complex biological structure known in the universe.

United States Botanic Garden

Hotdogs? No, they do not eat hotdogs, but they do 'eat' bugs. Come learn all about carnivorous plants -- from the well-loved Venus fly trap to a pitcher plant that shrews use as a toilet! Participants will be able to explore the many soils plants grow in (or not) and make a garden for your pocket (pollinator seed balls)!

United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps

Movement is power! Participants will learn how movement and exercise can generate power. To demonstrate this concept, participants will have the opportunity to generate electricity by pedaling a bicycle to power a lightbulb. Learn about the importance of physical activity to power healthy lives, and test your knowledge in an interactive game.

Young Women in Bio
Do you want to learn more about human anatomy? Visit the Young Women in Bio booth to participate in hands-on activities featuring the organ systems of the human body. Grab a chair and engage in a fun activity by taking apart the organs and putting them back with the appropriate system within the allotted time. Looking for more fun things to do? Traverse through different organ systems and learn about the roles they serve within the body using a 3-D setup. Come and join us for a fun-filled day!


Analog Devices, Inc.

Visit Analog Devices' booth to see how we are enabling our customers to interpret the world around us by intelligently bridging the physical and digital with unmatched technologies that sense, measure and connect.

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Visitors will create their own double helix out of gummy treats, learning about the shape of DNA along the way. Remember, don’t eat the science!



Subaru Loves Learning Reading Lounge with 2019 Science Book & Film Award Winners
Subaru created a space for you to chill out and check out this year’s top K-12 science books. You will be one of the first to experience these award-winning science books! Meet the authors and scientists, then stay for book readings in the comfort of this space designed especially for you.
After each reading session, you will receive a reusable, cinch sak backpack to help collect all those amazing goodies given out during Family Science Days (while supplies last!).

Related Focus Areas

Related Scientific Disciplines