Request a Field Trip

The Education and Outreach program at the Sanford Underground Research Facility offers field trip opportunities to K-12 classrooms to expose students to the cutting-edge science and engineering taking place at the lab.

 

2017 Spring field trip dates

April 12, 19, 21, 25, 27

May 1, 10, 12, 15, 17, 18, 24

 

Groups wishing to visit will need to complete the “Request a Visit” form. Please keep in mind that opportunities to visit the lab are limited. All available dates/times will be listed in the request form once you have chosen the grade level and topic of interest. As you plan for your visit, please pay careful attention to the dates requested, as you must complete a new request for each topic/activity.

Note: Although underground tours are not available, tours of the hoistroom and the wastewater treatment plant provide an experience unique to Sanford Lab.

 

The following activities and tours are available:

Early Elementary (Grades K-2)

An Introduction to Sanford Underground Research Facility (~30 min)

This activity will include a short, engaging, and active introduction to the Sanford Underground Research Facility.  Students will view a few slides and get a taste of the daily operations of a science lab one mile under the earth’s surface. 

 

Upper Elementary (Grades 3-5)

Geology of the Open Cut (~1 hour)

A brief synopsis of the mining history of the Open Cut and the Homestake Mine is discussed and then transitions into a review of the spectacular geology visible in the Open Cut. Rock samples of the various units will be available for students to examine including a gold ore sample. The transformation from a world-class gold mine to a state-of-the-art underground physics lab will also be discussed.  This presentation takes place at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center (not at the Sanford Lab).

Hoist Engineering Challenge (~1 hour)

The engineering design process is explained and then put to the test as students are assigned the task of lifting a load (weight) up a pvc tube (shaft) using any or all of the materials provided.  Students report out their results and collaborate to make improvements to the designs.

Hoistroom Tour (~1 hour)

Students are lead through an “underground” tunnel from the education building wearing hard hats and emerge across campus at the historic hoistroom.  The impressive drums of cable and their precise operation will amaze everyone! *Sturdy shoes required. No sandals or open-toed shoes will be allowed.

Rutherford Scattering / Properties of Light (~1 hour)

Scientists use indirect evidence to explore things that are too small to see or too far away to reach. In this series of hands-on activities, students will explore how scientists have learned about matter, antimatter and dark matter using indirect evidence.

 

Middle school (Grades 6-8)

Geology of the Open Cut (~1 hour)

A brief synopsis of the mining history of the Open Cut and the Homestake Mine is discussed and then transitions into a review of the spectacular geology visible in the Open Cut. Rock samples of the various units will be available for students to examine including a gold ore sample. The transformation from a world-class gold mine to a state-of-the-art underground physics lab will also be discussed.  This presentation takes place at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center (not at the Sanford Lab).

Hoistroom Tour (~1 hour)

Students are lead through an “underground” tunnel from the education building wearing hard hats and emerge across campus at the historic hoistroom.  The impressive drums of cable and their precise operation will amaze everyone! *Sturdy shoes required. No sandals or open-toed shoes will be allowed.

Magnets and Electromagnets (~1 hour)

The basic relationship between electricity and magnetism is explored through several activities including constructing a straw compass and using a magnet to induce motion making it spin.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Tour (~1 hour)

This is not your ordinary water treatment plant tour.  There are many stories that accompany this facility; from the unique temperature challenges to the shut down, flooding, and reactivation of the plant.  Determined plant operators and scientists made advancements in the field to tackle these issues, setting the bar for treatment across the country. *Sturdy shoes required. No sandals or open-toed shoes will be allowed.

Water Filtration Engineering Challenge (~1 hour)

Students will work in teams to design and construct a basic filter using media from the water treatment plant and everyday materials, test the resulting system, evaluate the effectiveness of their filters (and those of other teams), and present their findings to the class.

 

High School (Grades 9-12)

Atomic Spectroscopy (~1 hour)

Students will explore the electromagnetic spectrum and how astronomers use light at multiple wavelengths to understand the universe. This workshop will use a combination of hands-on activities and analysis of NASA data to expand student awareness from the world around them to the unknown universe. This workshop is appropriate for physics, physical science or astronomy classes.

Cloud Chambers / Cosmic Rays (~1 hour)

We are constantly being bombarded by radiation from space called cosmic rays, and scientists at Sanford Lab are going a mile underground to get away from them. In this workshop, students will explore the properties of cosmic rays using a variety of detectors, including a cloud chamber. This workshop is appropriate for physics, physical science or environmental classes.

Hoistroom Tour (~1 hour)

Students are lead through an “underground” tunnel from the education building wearing hard hats and emerge across campus at the historic hoistroom.  The impressive drums of cable and their precise operation will amaze everyone! *Sturdy shoes required. No sandals or open-toed shoes will be allowed.

Wastewater Treatment Plant (~1 hour)

This is not your ordinary water treatment plant tour.  There are many stories that accompany this facility; from the unique temperature challenges to the shut down, flooding, and reactivation of the plant.  Determined plant operators and scientists made advancements in the field to tackle these issues, setting the bar for treatment across the country. *Sturdy shoes required. No sandals or open-toed shoes will be allowed.

 

 To complete the Request Form- click here