Science Saturdays


For 5th to 8th graders
and their parents

Three Saturday Mornings

February 28, March 27, April 24

9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon


University of Wisconsin-Madison


Are you Ready for Fun?

Are you in grades five to eight--or the parent of a child in those grades--and are the two of you ready for three Saturdays of fun? Are you ready to build your own eco-chambers and scientific tools from recycled materials and then conduct all kinds of great experiments at home?  Then you need Science Saturday: Bottle Biology!


Build and Experiment

Each Saturday children and parents will do a different and challenging science project. For example, you will make complex hanging terrarium/aquarium “columns” from plastic bottles and observe what happens as you change their environments.

Because we have staged the sessions over a three-month period, there will be sufficient time for the life cycles of the organisms to fully progress and unfold. At the end of each session, you will take your plants and animals with you, in the containers you have built for them, and will nurture them and observe them carefully at home until the next session.                           


Learn New Skills

As you record your observations, you will also learn how to draw to scale and how to make your own special observation tools such as hand-made magnifiers. You will be doing real scienceraising questions, making observations, and conducting experiments to find the answers. You will be responsible for keeping good records in your own personal notebook so that you can share all your exciting findings with the group at the next session.


The Program Presenters

“Science Saturdays: Bottle Biology” is prepared and sponsored in part by the Wisconsin Fast Plants Program / Bottle Biology Project directed by Emeritus Prof. Paul H.Williams, Dr. Christine Pfund, and their collaborators. He and his staff make use of plastic soda bottles and other packaging materials to create a wonderful variety of functioning biological environments that can be manipulated in many exciting ways.

     Session One: “The Aquatic World in a Bottle.”   Make science tools and then construct an aquatic habitat filled with various critters and aquatic plants. Explore the organisms and their interactions.

    Session Two: “The Terrestrial World in a Bottle.”  You will build upon your bottle aquarium, adding a terrestrial habitat filled with soil, critters, and terrestrial plants. Explore the organisms and their interactions and how they compare to those in your aquatic habitat.

Session Three: “Ecosystems in a Bottle.”  You will build upon your TerrAqua column, adding additional habitats and a rain maker.  There also will be time to follow up on questions and experiences with your aquatic and terrestrial habitats.

Science Saturdays

This and other Science Saturday programs are brought to you by the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy (WISL). WISL is directed by Prof. Bassam Z. Shakhashiri of the UW-Madison Chemistry Dept, who is well known for his “Science is Fun” programs.

For Children and Their Parents

This program is for one child and one parent together. In fact, we require that the parent (or grandparent or guardian) make a firm commitment to attend all three sessions and fully participate in the hands-on activities.

Parents will be paired with their children in small teams aided by staff. Child and parent and will get more out of the session because the other is present.  



Cost for child and parent together is $30. This covers all materials and a snack at each session.


Parents should complete the form below and also write a brief statement about what your child and you hope to gain from the Saturday Sessions. Please include a check for $30 payable to the Wisconsin Initiative for Science LiteracyWe must receive your application for Bottle Biology by February 6th, 2004. You will be notified of selection and will receive directions to the program site.

Click here for Registration Application