Families Learning Science Together


A hands-on science program for children and their parents or caregivers, Families Learning Science Together (FLST) is co-sponsored with the Tompkins County Public Library (TCPL) in downtown Ithaca, NY.

The FLST hands-on workshops encourage children and their parents to explore how materials interact with each other. Faculty, post doctoral associates, graduate and undergraduate students from Cornell University present hands-on science modules on a variety of materials science topics. The FLST programs are aimed at children ages 5-13, though all ages are welcome.

The program runs during the school year monthly on select Saturdays from 2pm - 3pm in the Thaler/Howell program room of the Tompkins County Public Library. All FLST programs are free to the public, but space is limited. Please reserve your spot by contacting us by email at ccmr_outreach@cornell.edu or by phone at (607) 255-1486. Drop-ins welcome if space allows.

Schedule of 2012-13 workshops and topics:

  • October 6, 2012: Launch Tube: Families will investigate how far a ball launches when sent down different ramps. Then they'll use what they learn by trying to hit a target!
  • November 10, 2012: Density: Investigate what causes things to float or sink in water and other liquids. Families will build their own Cartesian diver which works on the same principle as submarines.
  • December 1, 2012: Bridge Building: Families will learn about structural engineering and what engineers have to consider when designing bridges. They will see how stresses are concentrated in materials and then try to build a drinking straw bridge to certain specifications
  • February 2, 2013: Classification: In order to identify various objects or animals easily, scientists often divide them into categories based on their differences. In this workshop families will investigate what characteristics are used to identify things like rocks, beans and “aliens”, to name just a few.
  • March 2, 2013: Catapults: Families will build and optimize a small catapult while learning basic principles of physics and the scientific process.
  • April 27, 2013: States of Matter: Investigate how temperature affects states of matter in this delicious demonstration of liquid nitrogen ice cream!