Student Field Trips

Request

At Southern Research, students engage in laboratory experiments and STEM experiences with real-world applications.

The Southern Research STEM Education Outreach team invites you and your students to investigate and discover the exciting and interdisciplinary nature of STEM. We offer hands-on field trip experiences that provide the opportunity for students to explore and engage in critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration across a wide array of scientific and engineering concepts. Additionally, Southern Research field trips expose your students to various pathways that can lead to a career in STEM. Each field trip offered is aligned with the Alabama Course of Study as well as the cutting-edge work conducted by our scientists and engineers right here at Southern Research.

All field trip dates for the 2019-2020 school year have been booked! If you would like to be placed on our wait list, please submit a request form. 

Field Trip Experiences

High School Field Trips

Infectious Diseases: How to Track and Diagnose Viral Outbreaks (5 hours)

Students will learn the basic principles of immunology, including how the presence of foreign substances, known as antigens, can induce the formation of antibodies. They will participate in a simulated disease outbreak activity, investigate primary and secondary immune responses, and diagnose disease using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs).

This field trip includes lunch. Class size is limited to 40 students.

 

Infectious Diseases: Who’s Got the Bug? (3 hours)

Students will become disease detectives and be tasked with investigating who has contracted the infectious STEM bug! Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), students will learn about the relationships between antigens and antibodies and how they are utilized to diagnose disease.

Class size is limited to 40 students.

 

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria: Not Just a Phage! (5 hours)

Students will explore how strains of bacteria become resistant to antibiotics through a series of hands-on activities. Students will conduct a simulation to illustrate how misused antibiotics can generate selection pressures for some bacteria to flourish. Students will then utilize biotechnology like PCR and gel electrophoresis to investigate whether certain strains of bacteria have developed antibiotic resistance by amplifying the ampR gene.

This field trip includes lunch. Class size is limited to 40 students.

 

Green Engineering: Transforming Wind into Electricity (2.5 hours)

Students will jump right into the engineering design process in this engineering and environmental science activity. Students will gain experience with utilizing sustainable and efficient methods to generate energy through the use of natural, renewable resources, like wind. Students will learn about the basics of kinetic and potential energy, the conservation of energy, and the transfer of energy. They will collaborate in groups to design, build, and test a wind turbine. Students will assess the efficiency of their designs by mathematically calculating the amount of power generated and discuss ways in which their designs can be improved. You may combine any two Green Engineering activities for a full-day field trip experience.

Class size is limited to 44 students.

 

Green Engineering: Harnessing the Power of Hydroelectricity (2.5 hours)

Similar to our wind turbine activity, students will gain experience with utilizing sustainable and efficient methods to generate energy through the use of natural, renewable resources, but this time using water. Students will learn about the basics of kinetic and potential energy, the conservation of energy, and the transfer of energy. They will collaborate in groups to design, build, and test a water turbine. Students will assess the efficiency of their designs by mathematically calculating the amount of power generated and discuss ways in which their designs can be improved. You may combine any two Green Engineering activities for a full-day field trip experience.

Class size is limited to 44 students.

 

Green Engineering: Shedding Some Light on Photovoltaic Cells (2.5 hours)

Students will learn the basic function of photovoltaic cells and how they form together to make solar panels. Students will investigate how various factors like temperature, solar irradiance, and angle impact the performance of solar panels. Students will then take on the role of an engineer and develop the optimal solar panel array for a given geographic location. You may combine any two Green Engineering activities for a full-day field trip experience.

Class size is limited to 44 students.

 

High School Course of Study Alignment

Middle School Field Trips

Infectious Diseases: Are You Patient Zero? (2.5 hours)

Catch the STEM bug and go viral with Southern Research! Students will receive an introduction to basic immunology and how foreign substances, known as antigens, enter the body and induce an immune response. Students will be tasked with identifying who in their class is patient zero through an exciting, hands-on disease outbreak simulation. They will also investigate the role of antibodies in the primary and secondary immune responses.

Class size is limited to 40 students.

 

Green Engineering: Transforming Wind into Electricity (2.5 hours)

Students will jump right into the engineering design process in this engineering and environmental science activity. Students will gain experience with utilizing sustainable and efficient methods to generate energy through the use of natural, renewable resources, like wind. Students will learn about the basics of kinetic and potential energy, the conservation of energy, and the transfer of energy. They will collaborate in groups to design, build, and test a wind turbine. Students will assess the efficiency of their designs by mathematically calculating the amount of power generated and discuss ways in which their designs can be improved. You may combine any two Green Engineering activities for a full-day field trip experience.

Class size is limited to 44 students.

 

Green Engineering: Harnessing the Power of Hydroelectricity (2.5 hours)

Similar to our wind turbine activity, students will gain experience with utilizing sustainable and efficient methods to generate energy through the use of natural, renewable resources, but this time using water. Students will learn about the basics of kinetic and potential energy, the conservation of energy, and the transfer of energy. They will collaborate in groups to design, build, and test a water turbine. Students will assess the efficiency of their designs by mathematically calculating the amount of power generated and discuss ways in which their designs can be improved. You may combine any two Green Engineering activities for a full-day field trip experience.

Class size is limited to 44 students.

 

Green Engineering: Shedding Some Light on Photovoltaic Cells (2.5 hours)

Students will learn the basic function of photovoltaic cells and how they form together to make solar panels. Students will investigate how various factors like temperature, solar irradiance, and angle impact the performance of solar panels. Students will then take on the role of an engineer and develop the optimal solar panel array for a given geographic location. You may combine any two Green Engineering activities for a full-day field trip experience.

Class size is limited to 44 students.

 

The Three Seas: Cabbage, Chemistry, and CO2 (3 hours)

Students will make their very own pH indicator using natural ingredients to investigate the acidic and basic properties of a variety of household items. This provides the conceptual framework for students to then participate in an inquiry-driven activity exploring ocean acidification – from the chemistry underlying the process to the effects it has on marine life.

Class size is limited to 44 students.

 

Middle School Course of Study Alignment

Elementary School Outreach

The STEM Education Outreach team at Southern Research loves any opportunity to share the wonder and excitement of STEM with K-5 students. We participate in STEM-themed outreach events, Career Days, STEM/STEAM Days, and more. If you would like us to visit your school, please contact us at stem@southernresearch.org.

Preparing For My Visit

Thank you for choosing Southern Research as a field trip experience for you and your students. We are thrilled to meet your group, and we look forward to a fun-filled day of STEM! Please review the following information to help prepare you for a field trip at Southern Research:

 

Laboratory Safety

For your safety, we require all visitors to wear proper laboratory clothing, which includes pants and closed-toe shoes. Individuals with long hair should have a way to secure it away from the face so as not to interfere with any experiment.

All students will be provided with a lab coat, goggles, and gloves as needed. Our laboratory and maker’s space is equipped with proper safety equipment. Please let us know if any visitor has any allergies or needs accommodations.

No food, drink, or chewing gum is permitted in the laboratory.

 

Parking and Arrival Instructions

Click here for a STEM Center Parking map.

For groups arriving by school bus:

Please parallel park the bus along 9th Avenue South, in the space designated by parking cones. A Southern Research team member will meet you outside the Martin Library to escort you into the building.

For groups arriving by car or van:

Please park in the visitor’s parking lot, located directly across the street from the main entrance. A Southern Research team member will meet you outside the Martin Library to escort you into the building.

 

Behavior

We want your students to have the BEST day ever while visiting Southern Research. While in the lab, we encourage students to ask questions, collaborate with each other, and actively participate in class discussions. Please remind students that Southern Research is a place of business, so they must walk, not run, through public areas quietly. The usage of cell phones for taking photos while on the field trip is at the discretion of the teacher.

 

Student Visitor Agreement Form

All students under the age of 19 visiting the STEM Education Outreach center must have a parent or guardian sign our Student Visitor Agreement Form. This form includes a media release, which allows for students to be featured in Southern Research marketing, publications, and/or social media.

We strongly encourage teachers and chaperones to take photos and video with their own devices while in the STEM Education Outreach Center. If you share your photos and/or video on social media, be sure to tag Southern Research!

FAQ

Who is eligible to attend field trips offered at Southern Research?

We provide field trip experiences for 6th – 12th grade students here at Southern Research. Unfortunately, we cannot host K-5 students at our facility due to safety concerns. But, we love engaging with eager, young future scientists and engineers! To see what we offer for K-5 students, check out our Elementary School tab for more information.

 

How do I request a field trip to Southern Research?

Please fill out the request form and you will receive a confirmation email from our STEM team within 24 hours. Please note this form is a request for that date and field trip experience, and it does not lock in your reservation until you receive official confirmation from our STEM team.

 

What dates are available for field trips?

Please take a look at our calendar under Field Trip Experiences. The calendar lists all open and available dates for field trips.

 

Where are the field trips hosted?

We host field trips at Southern Research in our STEM Education Outreach Center, located at 2000 9th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35205.

 

What is the cost of a field trip?

All Southern Research field trips are free! Field trip opportunities are made possible through support from the State of Alabama.

 

Do you provide funding for substitute teacher fees and bus transportation costs?

We offer reimbursement to cover the cost of up to two substitute teachers and one district school bus for Alabama public schools. Please have someone from your finance department send an invoice to stem@southernresearch.org.

 

How many students can attend?

Our lab can accommodate a minimum of 10 students and a maximum of 44 students. Class size is dependent on the field trip experience.

 

What time does the field trip start and end?

Generally speaking, all field trips begin between 8:30 – 9:00 AM depending on travel time. Full-day field trips end between 1:45 – 2:15 PM and half-day field trips end between 11:30 AM – 12:00 PM. We understand bus restrictions and travel time can sometimes be an issue. Please let us know if you need to adjust your arrival and/or departure time, and we will try our best to accommodate your needs.

 

Do we need to bring anything with us on the day of the field trip?

Each student must bring a signed copy of our Student Visitor Agreement form, which you receive in your confirmation email. You can also download a copy.

 

Is lunch provided?

We provide lunch for all attendees (students, teachers, and chaperones) of full-day (5-6 hour) field trips. Prior to your visit, you will be asked to provide any dietary restrictions or allergies of your group so that we can meet the needs of your students and chaperones.

 

Can student groups bring lunches?

Yes, student groups can bring their own lunches, but there is no refrigeration or microwave usage available.

 

Where do we eat lunch?

Southern Research has a collaboration space within the STEM Education Outreach Center where students, teachers, and chaperones may eat.

 

What is the dress code for the field trip?

All students are required to follow general laboratory safety guidelines, which calls for students to wear pants and closed-toe shoes.

 

Are we allowed to take photographs?

Yes! We strongly encourage you to take photos and video in the permitted areas, which includes inside the STEM Education Outreach Center as well as by our Southern Research sign in front of our building.

 

What is the cancellation policy?

In the event you must cancel your field trip, please contact us no later than 48 hours prior to your trip. Please contact stem@southernresearch.org to cancel your field trip, with the subject line: Field Trip Cancellation.

 

What is the weather cancellation policy?

In the event of severe weather, our top priority is the safety of you and your students. Please let us know as soon as possible the need to cancel due to severe weather. We will do our best to reschedule your field trip, pending availability. Please contact stem@southernresearch.org to cancel your field trip, with the subject line: Field Trip Cancellation.

 

Are the field trips aligned to the Alabama Course of Study?

Yes; please see our Field Trip Course of Study Alignment for high school and middle school under Field Trip Experiences.

 

Who leads the field trips?

Our field trips are led by the experienced members of our STEM Education Outreach team, Dr. Kathryn Lanier, Dr. Liz Johnson, and Mr. Justin Sanders.

 

How can I prepare my students and chaperones for our visit?

Please see Preparing for My Visit for more detailed information.

 

Have a question that is not answered here? Please contact our STEM Education Outreach team at stem@southernresearch.org.