Mini-workshops

Mini-workshops organised within the exhibition space are 20-minute workshops led by our explainers in different parts of the Copernicus Science Centre. During the workshops, which focus on over a dozen different topics, in a relaxed atmosphere and in small groups participants can perform many interesting experiments. You don’t need to book a place in advance – just visit us and enjoy the workshop!

Dactyloscopy techniques

the Experimental Zone, 1st floor
wtorek, czwartek 16:00-19:00

Papillary lines have three basic features: they can’t be changed, they can’t be removed and finally, they’re one of a kind. Because of that, forensic techniques using fingerprints analysis can help find the criminal.

Before visiting our „Trail of a crime” cluster at our Humans And The Environment gallery, be sure to visit our mini-workshop dedicated to various dactyloscopy techniques. You will learn some basic ways of acquiring fingerprints and also how to make them visible and transfer them from various objects, using a special powder. As a souvenir, you will get a dactyloscopic card with your papillary lines and your fingerprint made using a dactyloscopic foil.

How many legs?

the Experimental Zone, 1st floor
środa, niedziela 13:00-16:00
piątek 16:00-19:00

As it turns out 6 legs is not that many. The European crayfish has 38 legs, including 10 walking legs. What do insects, arachnids, crustaceans and myriapoda have in common? They are all arthropods!

During our workshop we will learn how to distinguish all of them.

3D glasses

the Experimental Zone, 1st floor
środa 10:00-13:00
sobota 13:00-19:00

How is it possible that our brain can see spatially even though each of our eyes only registers 2D image? How can you create the 3D illusion, for example, in the cinema?

During the mini-workshops in the Light zone you will discover humans’ vision mechanism and the tricks graphic designers, filmmakers and game designers use to create 3D images (instead of flat ones). You’ll see that our brain is very prone to different optical illusions which can be used in the process of creating glasses for 3D images. You’ll also make your own pair of 3D glasses of generally accessible materials and take it home with you!

120 over 80

the Experimental Zone, 1st floor
środa, sobota 16:00-19:00
piątek 13:00-16:00

This is a perfect blood tension measurement result for a human adult. What is the condition of your heart? You will have a great opportunity to check it.

During the workshop, we will be measuring blood pressure, we’ll learn about the structure of the heart and listen to it. We will see that slamming the door sounds exactly like the sound of heart valves closing inside the heart. We will also look at the evolution of the stethoscope. The youngest visitors will make their own stethoscope using a funnel and a tube.

Where to with this power – the future of the power industry

the Experimental Zone, 1st floor
środa, piątek 16:00-19:00
sobota 13:00-16:00

Would you like to know why the Swedish submarines are powered by a Stirling engine? Or what can a piezoelectric membrane attached to the sole of a shoe do? During the mini-workshop we will show you new technologies of processing energy.

Today, renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly popular. However, we still make use of the energy that comes from burning coal, oil or natural gas. It turns out that the old technology of generating energy is gaining a whole new character, and the inventions from the previous era are often used in the automotive industry and cosmonautics. Jean Charles Athanase Peltier was not a physicist, nor did he study it until his retirement. However, this did not prevent him from conducting studies on electricity and discovering the effect, which was later called by his name in 1834. Today, the Peltier cells are used in space probes Voyager 1 and 2, and Galileo.

We’ll show you how modern science uses seemingly outdated technology in modern equipment and vehicles. When searching for alternative energy sources we can turn to the future by using the principles of physics in a completely unique way. In the experiments we will use a photovoltaic cell, light emitting diode, the gamma Stirling engine, the nitinal engine, the Peltier cell and a piezoelectric membrane.

Light

the Experimental Zone, 1st floor
wtorek, czwartek, niedziela 13:00-16:00
piątek 10:00-16:00

Some sources claim that as much as 99% of the world’s data is not transmitted via satellites above our heads but deep under the seas and oceans. Right there, in almost total darkness, through lines of glass fibres – also called optical fibres – the light runs from continent to continent, carrying all information required by mobile phones and Internet users.

Why are optical fibres used so commonly? What more can they be used for? How do they work? What do they have in common with a completely different device used on submarines already 100 years ago? During our mini-workshop you will find the answers to these questions.

Chasing particles

the Experimental Zone, 1st floor
wtorek, sobota 13:00-16:00
czwartek 16:00-19:00

As we want to understand the world that surrounds us, we are looking at its ever smaller components. Sometimes we do it with a magnifying glass, other times – with a microscope. But how to examine things so tiny that they are impossible to see even under the best microscope?

This is the challenge faced by scientists examining elementary particles and… all of you who wish to participate in our “Chasing particles” mini-workshop. We’ll show you how to set a trap for ionising particles and how to trace them. You’ll see a model of an accelerator in which high voltage makes it possible to propel particles, and find out more about superconductors – amazing materials, which are able to conduct electric current with practically zero resistance… as long as we cool them with, for instance, liquid nitrogen.

During the „Chasing particles” mini-workshop we’ll also tell you what scientists do in places such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva and what tricks they use to examine the smallest components of our reality.

Positive vibrations

the Experimental Zone, 1st floor
środa, piątek, niedziela 13:00-16:00

While observing the world around him, Heraclitus of Ephesus came to the conclusion that everything changes, “everything flows”. A lot of these changes can be described as vibrations, including waves on the river that Heraclitus must have looked at while contemplating life.

During the Positive Vibrations workshop you will have the chance to see what connects a clock pendulum with a guitar string, and explore the topic of vibrations in physics through music and musical instruments. You will learn that there are longitudinal and perpendicular waves and find out which group of waves does sound and light belong to. We will also look at the phenomenon of resonance which in circumstances less controlled than a workshop can break glass and destroy bridges.

After such an introduction to the world of vibrations you will easily notice vibrations in the world surrounding you and, paraphrasing Heraclitus’ famous statement, say that indeed: everything… vibrates.

Making fire

ground floor
wtorek, czwartek, sobota 13:00-16:00

How did homo sapiens deal with winter in the Palaeolithic era? How did they care for their house warmth, both literally and figuratively? Well, first of all they learnt how to make fire. Today a match or a lighter is all we need to do so but earlier in human history things weren’t that simple!

In the history of civilisation, from prehistoric times, through all successive eras until today, fire has played a very important role being the source of light and warmth. Our predecessors first learned how to prevent fire from extinguishing and then how to make it. This helped them use it in everyday activities, such as preparing meals and scaring off wild animals.

During our mini-workshops you will learn about the old methods of starting fire – much more time-consuming than contemporary ones. We’ll show you how to use a bow drill, fire steel and flint.

Writing Systems

ground floor
środa, piątek 13:00-16:00
niedziela 10:00-13:00

Why did Europeans find it so difficult do decipher hieroglyphics? What were the differences between the literate and non-literate cultures and why did people attach magical powers to writing? What did people write on and about? How did using a burin and a clay tablet start a dynamic civilisation evolution? You will get the answers to these and many more questions during our Writing Systems mini-workshop at the Roots of Civilization gallery. You’ll have a chance to decipher ancient scripts, write down your name using hieroglyphics, face the power of runes and ancient cuneiform. You will see different kinds of media for the written word, such as ostrakon, bone, birch bark, clay tablets, wax tablets and papyri.

Navigation

the Experimental Zone, 1st floor
wtorek, sobota 10:00-13:00
czwartek 13:00-16:00

How do we know which way to direct our boat? Which traffic signs should we be looking for on the open sea? How did people deal with such problems before the era of satellites? Why is the Bermuda Triangle so infamous? Come to our Navigation mini-workshop and find out.

All participants will have a chance to learn how people have been handling sailing from the ancient times right up till now. We will also build our own navigation tools, which work like analogue tools invented by the Vikings, the Arabs, the Chinese and sailors from many other cultures. Equipped with the whole arsenal of different compasses and other devices, you will discover that marine navigation is not as hard as it may seem!

Knots

ground floor
środa, piątek, niedziela 13:00-16:00

Sailing knots are used primarily to organise ropes. They are also used for mooring, coiling sails and attaching fenders on a side of the boat.
During our mini-workshop, we will learn what makes a rope different from a strand and how to effectively join two ropes of different thicknesses. We will learn about a reef knot, a sheet bend, a bowline and other knots. We will also find knots that are used in everyday life: in the garden, in the garage or even when tying shoes.


 
Miniworkshops in the Buzzz! exhibition

Following the animals’ footsteps

Buzzz! exhibition, ground floor
wtorek, czwartek, niedziela 13:00-16:00
sobota 10:00-13:00

During this workshop children learn about different animal species living in Poland, such as badgers, roe deer, cranes, foxes, wolves, moose and pheasants. We will analyse the animals’ tracks and try to find out why they are so different from one another. We will also make some animal sounds and try to move like them, make our own paw prints and then guess what animal they belong to. This workshop encourages everyone not only to listen but also actively participate and make one’s own research of the tracks of different animals in the Buzzz! exhibition. We’re also counting on parents and we hope they will participate in the workshop and join their children in discovering the world of animals!

Water: What will drown and what will float?

Buzzz! exhibition, ground floor
wtorek, czwartek, niedziela 10:00-13:00
piątek 16:00-19:00

Water has always fascinated both scholars and philosophers. However, it takes the curiosity and craftiness of a child, to let oneself be drawn into such a stream of thoughts.

It’s well illustrated by the famous "Heureka!" uttered by Archimedes while having a bath or sketches by Leonardo Da Vinci, describing some amazing properties of river currents and sea storms.

Miniworkshops are suited for the youngest visitors of the Buzzz! Gallery. At the course, the kids learn about some interesting properties of water, see how different objects will act once submerged in water (like a mandarin, playdough, wood, pith, a baloon, or a bottle) and try to explain, why do some objects float, while others drown. By experimenting for themselves, kids will learn to observe and deduce facts.

Hello, can you hear me?

Buzzz! exhibition, ground floor
środa, piątek 13:00-16:00
sobota 16:00-19:00

What is sound? It seems that we all know the answer but can we explain it to our children? During the „Hello, can you hear me?” workshop we’ll try to explain what sound is by making a cup and string phone and other experiments. We’ll also talk about music, what makes sounds, about our own voices, oscillations and bass and treble. All workshops organised in the Bzzz! gallery encourage children to draw conclusions based on observed phenomena and ask all questions that come to their minds.

Where is the air hiding?

Buzzz! exhibition, ground floor
środa, piątek 10:00-13:00
sobota 13:00-16:00

During the mini-workshop kids l;earn, how to observe certain phenomena and deduce things upon them. They will find out that the world is more, than meets the eye. They lure the air into a trap and then examine it’s properties. By experimenting, they find out, what is air needed for.


 
Miniworkshops in the RE: generation exhibition

Reactable

RE: generation exhibition, ground floor
wtorek-niedziela 13:00-16:00

Reactable looks like a table illuminated with colourful lights, with dice on its surface. This fascinating instrument is used for creating electronic music and gives us great editing possibilities. Because it is so easy to use, it makes a perfect educational tool. Reactable made a musical career in 2007, when it was taken on a tour by the famous Icelandic musician, Björk. During the mini-workshop you will learn how Reactable works. By moving and linking dice – sound generators, loopers, oscilators, pitch effects, harmonizer and feedback, you will be able to try your best at composing, but also sampling and editing the music you created.

Mnemonics

RE: generation exhibition, ground floor
wtorek, piątek 13:00-16:00
sobota 10:00-13:00

Ancient Greeks loved philosophical disputes. A good orator had to memorise various elements of his predecessor’s speech in order to refer to them later. To be able to do so he used various memory enhancing techniques, which today are known as „mnemonics” (from the name of a Greek goddess Mnemosyna). Human memory is not always reliable. The more information we have to remember, the harder it is to find it in our head when we need it. Research shows that we are able to remember less than half of the information we receive. Association, imagining, location – these are the basic mnemonics techniques which enable people to memorise things faster and better. And this helps us learn and work more effectively.

Haunting melodies

RE: generation exhibition, ground floor
środa 13:00-16:00
piątek, niedziela 10:00-13:00

How does music affect our mood? What makes a song catchy? Have you ever heard a melody persistently "played in your head" and you could not get rid of it? This phenomenon is called “earworm” and it is such haunting melodies that we will be talking about and even creating during our workshops.
Participants will take a short quiz about jingles and melodies from commercials. They will learn the mechanisms responsible for memorising songs and creating hits. We will tell you why we like music but do not like its each and every type, and we will discuss what role music plays in culture. We will also consider what kind of music is played in public and commercial spaces and the media, and how it is meant to affect us.

Forest in a jar

RE: generation exhibition, ground floor
czwartek, sobota, niedziela 13:00-16:00

Grow your own forest in a jar – a bed, a bit of soil and a couple of plants is everything you need to create your miniature ecosystem. At first, looking after it requires some effort, but later the forest grows on its own, adjusting itself to the jar shape and the amount of light it receives.

We will take a closer look at a very up-to-date topic of air composition and smog. Does carbon dioxide emission caused by humans impact the quality of air? What can we personally do about it? Why are global temperatures rising? How can we protect the atmosphere? We will also look at some myths concerning global warming and learn some verified facts.

Inhale-exhale

Temporary exhibition Air – is not just nothing, ground floor
wtorek, sobota 13:00-16:00
czwartek 10:00-13:00

Nose, throat and larynx are all parts of human respiratory system. They transfer oxygen – which is necessary to sustain life – to lungs. Our lives are measured from the first to the last breath, but we don’t actually think a lot about the breathing process itself. How many times do we breathe in a day? What is the capacity of our lungs? How many litres of air passes daily through our respiratory system? Should we inhale with nose or mouth?

Come to our Inhale-exhale miniworkshop to find out the answers to the above questions, learn more about the structure and function of the lungs, and build a simple model of the respiratory system.

Aerodynamics

Temporary exhibition Air – is not just nothing, ground floor
wtorek 16:00-19:00
czwartek, niedziela 13:00-16:00

Make a paper plane model or paper wing profile and test it inside a wind tunnel with the help of our explainer. Find out why planes fly, how a wing behaves in an airstream, what a breaking of stream is, and what is the difference between a laminar and turbulent flow.

Don’t limit yourself to aviation – during the workshop you will also have a chance to compare car models and assess their aerodynamic resistance and its impact on road grip – just like designers of bodywork for passenger cars and Formula 1 cars do it!