Tech Kid U

Saturdays, March 11, 18, and 25, 2017
Morning and Afternoon Sessions


Kingsbury Hall @ Durham Campus
Cost: $175 per 3-week project

Register Here

Carmela Amato-Wierda, Faculty Director,
Rebecca Potter, Assistant,


Tech Kid U is a new initiative sponsored by the UNH College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. Middle school students will have the opportunity to explore the world of science and engineering. The program will run for three consecutive Saturdays and features hands-on projects and problem solving in various topics related to science and engineering. Small class size and in-depth format encourage extensive student-project leader interaction and allow students to immerse themselves in a topic and the problem-solving process.


Grades 7 & 8, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Outside the Box

Grades 5-8, 1-4 p.m.

Not So Simple Machines

Grades 5 & 6, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Beautiful Math

Grades 5-8, 1-4 p.m.

Nanotechnology:  What’s the Big Deal about Small Stuff? 

Nano means “one-billionth” and nanotechnology is about the science and engineering of making things only billionths of a meter large.  During this hands-on and interactive project, students will investigate:

  • How do the properties of matter change with size and surface area? Students will explore properties of matter, such as solubility, water absorption, and chemical reactivity with polymers made from different particle sizes.
  • How do we make nano-stuff?  Students will model a nano-patterning process.
  • How do we see nano-stuff? Students will build a model of an atomic force microscope, a tool that images atoms.
  • What’s all the excitement about nano-stuff?  Students will learn about the current applications of nanotechnology and discuss science and engineering careers that make nanotechnology.

Not So Simple Machines

When you hear the word “machine” what do you think of? Computers? Phones? Complex mechanical contraptions? Well, it may be time to think...simple. What are simple machines? How do they make our everyday lives easier? We will explore those questions and more in this hands-on session. Participants will explore, design, and build their way through the following challenges:

  • Mousetrap Car Challenge: Can you design a self-propelled car that will travel the longest distance? The basics of simple machines, as well as potential and kinetic energy, will be highlighted in this challenge.
  • The Movers Dilemma: Engineers build and design machines to make our lives easier. In this challenge, participants will work to design the most efficient way to move various heavy objects in a relay-like race. The concepts of doing work and mechanical advantage will be highlighted here.
  • Game Design Challenge: Complex machines are made up of multiple simple machines. In this challenge, participants will invent their own games using a limited number of materials. Using creativity and cooperation, this challenge will highlight the use of the engineering design process in creating new products.

Outside the Box

Can you think creatively under pressure? Can you communicate and collaborate with others? Do you enjoy solving puzzles? If so, we need you on our team. Imagine being thrown into a sticky situation that will require you to connect clues to puzzles that will eventually lead your team to victory. By thinking outside the box you can eventually get inside the box. Based on the popular Escape Room Adventures, you will learn how to solve a variety of logic, math and word puzzles such as Sudoku, SET, Quiddler, Bloxorz, 3-Dimensional puzzles, brain teasers, and many more. The solutions to the puzzles will lead you to discover the combinations to unlock word locks, number locks, and key locks. The timer has started. Can you break out in time? Once your team has mastered our challenging scenario, you will then write your own situation of crisis and create puzzles and games to challenge one another to crack the codes and open the locks to save the day. Will we be saving the world from Zombies? Helping a super-hero defeat an evil villain? Your creativity and imagination will determine the direction of each adventure.

What Makes It Beautiful? Math!

How can each snowflake be beautiful? Why do natural objects have certain patterns? Why is the human face thought to be pretty? Beauty is found throughout our world, and all of it is connected by a common theme: math. We will be creating Koch snowflakes, tessellations, and looking for patterns in art and math. We will also be creating our own mathematical music that students will score themselves and finding the sequences in Fibonacci and Pascal's triangle. Come explore our world through a mathematical lens and learn some cool math while you are at it! Then take the time to create things that you find beautiful and use your math knowledge too!