Purdue Grandparents University Majors

Grandparents University offers a wide range of majors taught by Purdue faculty, staff, and graduate students from various disciplines. You and your grandchild will stay together in the same major for the entire two-day program. An adult must accompany each child at all times during the activities related to the major.

Please select majors based on your grandchild’s age, his/her physical activity level, and your physical activity level. Each major’s age range has been carefully determined based on the focus and scope of the activities.

Guide to Physical Activity Levels

Levels of physical activity vary among majors and field trips, so please read the descriptions carefully and choose what best suits your physical abilities:

  • Low: Most activities and tours take place indoors, with some walking required. Majors will have mostly seated activities.
  • Medium: Some movement and walking required between classrooms and venues, which may include stairs. Long periods of standing may be required, outdoor activity is possible.
  • High: Significant movement and physical activity, including walking or hiking outdoors.

Every attempt will be made to honor accessibility requests made in advance.

Confirmed Majors for 2019

Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering

Taught By: Sue Bayley
Age Group: All Ages
Physical Level: Low

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away — no, wait! Actually, this June at a university right here in Indiana! From the moon to Mars, from the stars to the great beyond — discover the intersections of engineering and creativity that make encountering space through capsules like the Apollo 11 a reality.

Examples of activities will be:

  • Construct a model rocket
  • Explore space

Animal Sciences

Taught By: Stacy Zuelly
Age Group: All Ages
Physical Level: Medium

We take the products at our local grocery stores for granted every day, but milk and eggs don’t just come from the back of a truck. Gain a better appreciation for animal agriculture by exploring the fundamentals of raising animals and proper animal management and welfare.

Examples of activities will be:

  • Make animal-based food products such as cheese, steak, and sausage
  • Understand the anatomy and diets of production animals
  • Learn how to ultrasound a pig

Biological Sciences

Taught by: Isidore Julien
Age Group: 11-14
Physical Level: Low

Delve into the nature of scientific inquiry through experiments and hands-on investigations conducted in a research laboratory. Discover the wonders of DNA, the tiny molecule that contains the genetic code for living things.

Examples of anticipated activities will be:

  • Extraction of DNA from strawberries
  • Egg embryo lab demonstration

Bringing Science to Life: Real-World Consumer Connections to STEM

Taught by: Humaira Gowher and Ryan Kornegay
Age Group: All ages
Physical Level: Low

Learn how STEM disciplines — science, technology, engineering, and math — make a huge impact in peoples’ lives! Engage in hands-on activities that demonstrate how STEM enhances our world through food, health, and genetics connections.

Clinical Diagnostic Detective

Taught by: Lisa Hilliard
Age Group: 11-14
Physical Level: Medium

Explore the inner workings of the body! Discover the amazing ways the body works to keep you healthy. First, learn all about the kidneys, one of the body’s main filtration organs. Then, tackle immune response and how cellular components work together to fight off infection.

Examples of anticipated activities will be:

  • Illustrate the permeability of the kidneys’ filtration mechanism — and how certain diseases alter how they work
  • Examine changes in blood viscosity connected to inflammation, the first step in immune defense

Early Childhood Education

Taught by: Elizabeth Schlesinger-Devlin
Age Group: 11-14
Physical Level: Medium

Step into the preschool classroom lab and learn how to think like a kid again! Develop observational skills to better communicate with young children and understand their behavior.

Examples of anticipated activities will be:

  • Directly apply your learning to understand how information can be used to help in educational and social service settings
  • Examine different observation methods and ways to organize information

Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences

Taught by: Steve Abston
Age Group: All Ages
Physical Level: Low

Investigate the science behind the weather! Discover how clouds form by taking observations of the clouds outside — and creating a cloud! Ever wonder why the wind blows or why the sky is blue? Find the answers, and learn how to become a weather data collector for NASA.

Examples of anticipated activities will be:

  • Learn to distinguish different types of clouds
  • Investigate changes in the atmosphere that cause tornados
  • Observe and collect weather data

Engineering Everywhere

Taught by: Sue Bayley
Age Group: All Ages
Physical Level: Low

Experience how engineers make a difference — and how you can make a difference, too! Your unique talents and interests can be incorporated into the design process that engineers use every day to solve real-world problems! Apply your imagination and creativity to hands-on projects. No engineering experience is necessary!

Examples of anticipated activities will be:

  • Build a roller coaster prototype with creative materials
  • Design a roller coaster using simulated designs
  • Design and build a helmet

Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE)

Taught by: Sarah Nern and Steven Smith
Age Group: 11-14
Physical Level: Medium

Learn about the world around you by exploring the environment through GLOBE, a NASA-sponsored citizen science program. Learn how scientists classify clouds and the effect of dust, soot, and other particles on the air we breathe.

Examples of anticipated activities will be:

  • Gather atmospheric data
  • Compare relative humidity and temperature readings
  • Study clouds with the GLOBE Observer app

Health and Kinesiology: Healthy Ideas Across the Lifespan

Taught by: Cassie Ledman and Lane Yahiro
Age Group: All Ages
Physical Level: Medium

What does it mean to be healthy at different points in your life? Explore different aspects of health, wellness, and movement through the clinical application of kinesiology — the study of how the body moves.

Examples of anticipated activities will be:

  • Gain insight on balance, strength and conditioning, and cardiovascular fitness
  • Discuss concepts from exercise and nutrition to injury and fall prevention
  • Participate in a health and fitness assessment

Hospitality Business

Taught by: Bruce Goad, Aileen Fan, and AnnMarie Nicely
Age Group: 11-14
Physical Level: Medium

Practice working in one of the world’s biggest industries — hospitality! We all need to eat, and we all need to sleep, so it’s no surprise that two of hospitality’s major subsectors are hotels and restaurants. How do you stay profitable? How do you pull off the perfect service for your clients? Plan and execute a simple event to examine these questions and more.

Examples of anticipated activities will be:

  • Set the tone for your event through table arrangements and place settings
  • Develop a menu and learn how to source your ingredients
  • Roleplay different aspects of restaurant service

Lights, Camera, Action!

Taught by: Bobby Chastain
Age Group: All Ages
Physical Level: High

Produce your own one-minute movie. Call the shots as the director learning basic filmmaking techniques. Use state-of-the-art video equipment to capture footage on location and use basic movie making techniques to format your final cut.

Examples of anticipated activities will be:

  • Use storyboarding to develop your film’s narrative
  • Operate camera equipment to gather footage
  • Edit your movie in the video production studio

Myths and Legends

Taught by: Manushang (Nush) Powell
Age Group: 11-14
Physical Level: Low

Find out how stories of legendary monsters, heroes, and villains help us define the boundaries of what it means to be human. Uncover how language itself constitutes a kind of magic — and how no model of heroism, charisma, and power comes without its complications.

Examples of anticipated activities will be:

  • Mete out Anglo-Saxon justice — can you use the ancient practice of restitution (weregild) to stop the cycle of blood feud?
  • Learn what to do in a riddle game, and why you should never tell a dragon your true name
  • Develop your own “pirate code”

Nanotechnology

Taught by: Ron Reger
Age Group: All Ages
Physical Level: Medium

Imagine, discover, and explore a world that’s too small to see! Learn about nanoscale science and engineering and their impact on society. Engage with engineers and scientists to discover the promising development of revolutionary materials and technologies.

Examples of anticipated activities will be:

  • Manipulate liquid crystals, thin films, magnet racers, and gummy capsules
  • View a nano ice cream demonstration
  • Tour the nanotechnology center’s mock cleanroom

Theatre

Taught by: Anne Fliotsos, Richard Dionne, and Joel Ebarb
Age Group: 11-14
Physical Level: Medium

Go behind the scenes at two performance spaces and put yourself in the shoes of actors, directors, and designers! Participate in acting exercises and experiment with cutting-edge wearable technology! Construct your own puppet and learn how to maneuver it.

Examples of anticipated activities will be:

  • Tour backstage at two types of theatres
  • Practice acting warmups and rehearse short “open scenes”
  • Create and manipulate your own puppets

Urban Agriculture

Taught by: Alex Pettigrew
Age Group: All Ages
Physical Level: Medium

Ready to get your hands dirty? Learn how to care for urban livestock such as bees, chickens — and even goats! Dig into how to grow your own food in an urban area using hydroponics and aquaponics.

Examples of anticipated activities will be:

  • Indoor herb garden
  • Aquaponics kit
  • Bee-keeping

Wildlife and Aquatic Sciences

Taught by: Megan L. Gunn and Jarred Brooke
Age Group: 11-14
Physical Level: Medium

Find out how scientists discover what critters live in different places. When you head home, you’ll have the tools to find out what kinds of wildlife are living in your own backyard. You might be surprised!

Examples of anticipated activities will be:

  • Electrofishing: discover what aquatic organisms are living in the water
  • Scent stations: identify track marks or footprints
  • Dart gun: collect data from larger animals

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