Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Registration for Afterschool Expeditions has concluded for the school year. For K-8 programs during the summer, please visit our Summer Expeditions and Saturday Science pages. Afterschool Expeditions will resume in fall 2021.

Afterschool Expeditions is a free program for students in grades K-8 to explore, engage and discover science from UW–Madison and the Morgridge Institute for Research with structured hands-on activities. This program takes place during the fall and spring semesters.

TO REGISTER:  You pick your adventure! The registration page will have different activity options for each date. You may select only ONE activity per date. This lets us know which activity you will be participating in when you come. Pregistration is required as spots are limited.

Adult supervision is always required, with at least one adult (18 years or older) chaperone per 10 youth.

Afterschool Expeditions

330 N. Orchard St., Madison, WI 53715
The program takes place on select Monday afternoons during the school year from 3 to 4 p.m. and includes one 45-minute guided activity.

Selections vary from week to week. Each activity is led by a trained staff member or volunteer and includes interactive, hands-on activities.

Our activities cover a broad spectrum of scientific topics. In one activity, students may learn about:

  • Virus Investigation: How do viruses attach to and infect a cell? Participants will learn about the scale of a virus to a cell while exploring how temperature affects viral assembly and how this relates to specific immunological responses.
  • STEAMBots: Can we make art and do science? In this activity, participants will explore the principles of engineering and create a work of art that conveys a feeling or concept.
  • Physics Museum: Physics is everywhere! Explore phenomena that make the world work at the Ingersoll Physics Museum (a five-minute walk).
  • Science of Materials: What are materials? Work with materials science researchers on campus and experiment with all kinds of materials.
  • Snacks with Scientists: What’s on my plate? Slow Food UW is driven by the dedication of UW students volunteering to help promote “good, clean and fair food for all,” and depends on both the campus and Madison communities to create dialogues and bridge cultural differences by using food as a universal experience. Slow Food UW works hard to make local, community-conscious foods accessible and delicious!
  • Cargo Drop: How do astronauts travel in space and land safely? Build a model spaceship out of given supplies that is strong and aerodynamic enough to support a landing that would keep marshmallow “astronauts” and “cargo” safe during launch and landing.
  • Sounds of Music: How does sound behave? Make your own musical instruments and explore how hearing works by designing a model of medical devices.
  • Antibody Investigation: Soils are alive. Use scientific lab techniques to determine soil types and find the connections to what microorganisms might be living in the soil. Soils are the leading source for the discovery of new antibiotics. Antibiotics are often produced by bacteria and fungi living in the soil. Discover how WID’s Tiny Earth project hunts for new antibiotics in soils across the world.

When You Arrive

Activities will start promptly. Please consider arriving a few minutes early so you are prepared to begin on time.

Upon arrival, please check in at the information table across from the Discovery Building welcome desk. Once you are checked in, you will be directed to your activity. Participants are requested to stay at their activity for the full hour.

Participant Expectations

Participants are encouraged to listen and follow directions of Afterschool Expeditions staff, volunteers and/or group chaperones.

Chaperones and parents are expected to stay with their youth at all times. Additionally, chaperones and adults are encouraged to assist in activities, ask questions and assist with keeping youth engaged.

We encourage youth to view the interactive science displays at the Discovery Building and have fun, but please keep in mind that the Discovery Building is a research facility and professional workplace.

Transportation Reimbursement

Limited funds are available to reimburse all or part of the cost of transportation for qualifying groups to bring school-aged children to Afterschool Expeditions. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis for programs that support students eligible for free/reduced lunch. Groups can indicate their interest when they register for Afterschool Expeditions.

Transportation to the Discovery Building

Low-cost parking is available across University Avenue in lot 20. Low-cost parking is also available behind Engineering Hall in lot 17.

The Discovery Building is located near several city of Madison Metro Transit bus stops, including the Randall Avenue and Engineering Drive stop on Route 80, which is the free campus route. For questions about bus stops and services, contact Metro Transit at 608.266.4466.

UW–Madison offers a strong network of bicycle routes, including several near the Discovery Building, and is continuously adding new connections. Bicycle parking is available near the entrances to the building.


If you have general questions about the program, please contact Jerrod Buckner, 608.316.4675.


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Afterschool Expeditions is supported by the Morgridge Institute for ResearchUW–Madison and WARF.

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