Field Trips

In cooperation with researchers and other partners at UW–Madison, students from kindergarten through 12th grade can visit campus for hands-on science experiences designed to ignite curiosity in STEM. All our field trip topics are co-developed with campus researchers, and offerings are refreshed regularly.

We also partner with other STEM engagement professionals at UW–Madison so you can pair your Morgridge visit with additional field trip experiences on campus. 

Equitable access to our field trip program is also a priority for us, and we provide partial reimbursement of transportation costs to school groups. Subject to funding availability, we will reimburse your school’s transportation costs at a percentage equal to your school’s economic disadvantaged percentage as reported by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. 

We also have virtual field trip options available!

Request an in-person or virtual field trip option for your school >

The current in-person and virtual field trip offerings from the Morgridge Institute are summarized below. You can also explore the full list of in-person and virtual trip options from our campus partners.

In-Person Field Trips at the Morgridge Institute

Grade Level Field Trip Experience

Fossil Excavation and Geology Exploration

Dig into the world of paleontology while exploring the formation and study of fossils. Students will excavate a fossil, make their own impressions and explore the fossils set in the limestone floor of the Town Center.

Hibernation: 13-Lined Ground Squirrel Metabolism

When animals hibernate, it doesn’t mean that they’re just sleeping for the winter! There are many changes that happen to an animal’s physiology and metabolism when hibernation begins, and students will spend this field trip exploring those changes. Examine hands-on models of a ground squirrel to determine what changes when the animals hibernate, explore the delicate energy balances required to keep an animal alive when food becomes scarce, and learn about how bacteria in the animal’s gut may play a role in surviving the winter.

Stem Cells: Directed Differentiation and Cryopreservation

Pluripotent stem cells have the remarkable ability to become any type of cell found in the human body. Through hands-on lab activities, students will conduct an experiment to learn how scientists turn pluripotent stem cells into specialized cells and store them in low temperatures using cryopreservation. Note: Students must be wearing closed-toe shoes and long pants to fully participate in the activities.

Exploring Engineering Solutions for Energy Sustainability

The U.S. uses 99,578,000,000,000,000 BTU of energy each year, but less than 10% of that energy comes from renewable sources. In this lab experience, students will explore energy usage and production by conducting a mock energy audit to model home and school energy use, and by optimizing a windmill energy production system. Students will be introduced to the research goals of researchers on UW–Madison campus and their efforts to transition towards new, clean energy systems and solutions.

Robotics, Automation, and Plant Research

Learn about techniques used by the UW–Madison Botany Labs (Spalding Lab & Gilroy Lab) that combine robotics, supercomputers, and engineering for their research on plants, crop systems, and growing plants in space. Activities will focus on interdisciplinary (a mix of botany, computer science, engineering, math, etc.) applications to study plants. Small group activities that combine ideas of robotics, automation, and plant research will be part of the experience.

Virtual Field Trips from the Morgridge Institute

Grade Level Field Trip Experience

Science Explorers

Scientists who study nature often explore connections between living things like mosquitos, ticks and humans. In this field trip experience, you’ll get to explore nature with scientists and learn how to use science to explore the world around you.

Meet the Lab: Data Decoders: Superpowered by Computers

The Solis-Lemus lab develops math models to answer biological questions. The lab deals with modern big data in living systems and uses math to better understand life.

Meet the Lab: Nervous System Engineers Superpowered by Stem Cells

The Stem Cell Bioprocessing and Regenerative Biomaterials Lab bioengineers neural tissue to study the nervous system. Brains, spines, nerves, oh my!

Meet the Lab: Cancer Detectives Superpowered by Laser Microscopes

The Optical Microscopy in Medicine Lab uses high-powered laser microscopes to research cancer cell growth!

Meet the Lab: Antibiotic Hunters Superpowered by Students

The Tiny Earth Network discovers new antibiotics through the soil; and students do the hunting!

My Story in STEM So Far: From Voices Underrepresented in STEM

Join Graduate Research Scholars (GRS) for an engaging and interactive discussion with scientists and researchers who are underrepresented in science, engineering, technology and math careers. Engage with UW–Madison students and learn about their journey in STEM. How might your journey be similar or different from theirs?

To learn more about this program Contact Us

Val Blair

Val Blair

Education and Outreach Manager
(608) 316-4691