The Little Shop of Physics visits many schools throughout Colorado and neighboring states each year. Our program is suitable for all ages from Pre-K to Grey! We have also worked with community groups, universities, and anyone else who would benefit from what we offer. When we visit, we like to see as many students as the time and scheduling allows. All of our projects are made with the express purpose of being investigated by children as young as preschoolers but still of interest to those with a more mature scientific mind. Our projects are divided into two categories, those made for the daylight and those that are best seen in the dark—so we typically set up shop in two different rooms or areas.
Hosting a Little Shop of Physics Visit
The most important thing we need to coordinate a school visit is an enthusiastic contact willing to host us at your school. This person is typically a teacher or administrator, though we have had members of the PTO act as a contact. The important thing is to have someone at the school to arrange for rooms, scheduling, tables, lunches, and all of the other things we need for a visit.
Little Shop of Physics Visit Details
Once we have a visit scheduled, we can coordinate with you. But our needs are pretty simple, really. To make it all go, we need:
A Contact Person or Persons
Someone at the school who invites us to present and coordinates all of these logistical details.
Generally we set up two different rooms, a “Dark Room” and a “Light Room”. The type of room is flexible; we have used classrooms, labs, gyms and other spaces. However, there must be access to electrical outlets. Additionally the Dark Room needs to be made dark for experiments that require low light levels (for instance holograms and glow-in-the-dark experiments). The Light Room can be lit as it is normally used.
Tables or Desks
We need surfaces to set up our experiments. Many different configurations will work: rectangular tables, student desks, round tables or even lab counters. We typically use the equivalent of approximately 12 tables per room (24 tables total) for all of our experiments.
The schedule should include times, the grade level and the number of students that will be visiting Little Shop. We typically see groups of students for 45 minutes to and hour at a time, depending on the age level. Typically we see groups of up to about 100 students at one time, but can see more depending on the size of the rooms and the amount of supervision you are able to provide. Large groups are often split in two, one starting in each room and switching half way through the period.
We ask that you provide the crew (approximately 5-8 people) with lunch and a lunch break in the schedule. We are more than happy to eat with the kids in the school cafeteria if that works best for you.
We ask that teachers remain with their classes to help supervise. For large classes it may also be useful to have parent volunteers assist with supervision.
School Visit Overview Video
This video provides a good feel for what is involved in a Little Shop of Physics visit. It is a few years old, and some of the details are not the same. For instance, we can accommodate large groups of over 100 students at a time if the rooms are large enough and you can provide adequate adult supervision.
What Does It Cost?
Little Shop of Physics is based out of Colorado State University and is funded through grants and donations. There is no formal charge for our program. However, donations are always appreciated. It costs approximately $1,000 for us to visit a school. Please see our How to Help page for more information on making a donation.
Request a Visit to Your School
To request a visit from the Little Shop of Physics, please fill out this form. Please note that we get more requests per year than we are able to accommodate, and we cannot guarantee that we will be able to visit your school. Typically we schedule visits in May for the following school year.
We are more likely to visit schools where we can impact a higher number of students, especially if the students are largely from a low socioeconomic background or an underrepresented minority. Small schools will sometimes partner with other nearby schools or groups to host a visit, and increase the number of students we can see. For instance, in rural areas we will sometimes set up at a school, and see groups of students from the local elementary, middle and high schools.