Workshop Options

Below are the workshop options for MST@MSU (grades 7-8). Students will participate in 1 of the workshop options listed below during the MST program. During the application process, we ask students to rank all workshops in the order of what they are most interested in taking to what they are least interested in taking. We do our best to place students into their top choice, although limited space and high demand for certain workshops may affect our ability to do that. You will be notified about your workshop placement after the final application deadline of May 2nd, but before the program begins. 


Did you know that the bow was invented roughly 10,000 years ago? In the 1400s, the tales of Robin Hood kept readers riveted as he took to the streets of Nottingham with his trusty bow. In 2008, Suzanne Collins revitalized those similar themes in her Hunger Games trilogy.

Today, there is a resurgence of interest in archery. The varieties of bows range from longbows, crossbows, and pyramid bows, to recurve bows and reflex and decurve bows.

In this on-site, hands-on workshop, students will have the opportunity to learn the essentials of archery. The foundation for each class will teach archers fundamentals and drills to strengthen the archer’s confidence and increase proficiency. Each class will build on the previous class. Students will be introduced to the recurve bow, compound bow, and crossbow. Whether you are a beginner or skilled shooter, this class has something to offer everyone. (Please note: All necessary equipment will be provided.)


From our neighbors in the solar system to clusters of galaxies and beyond, the field of astronomy studies all things in the cosmos. In this course, students will discover the universe on all its scales. Students will begin by exploring our solar system, and learn the different life cycles of stars and their effects on our whole galaxy. Together they will examine the largest structures in our universe, and use light as a time machine to explore the signals we get from the beginning of the universe itself.

The course will not only review insightful information about our universe, but teach students how to be effective scientists as well. Both communication and collaboration amongst groups will be highlighted as the students (AKA our scientific community) embark on a journey to return rockets from the Moon back to earth and to create the largest structure in the universe— the cosmic web. Additional class experiences will include:

  • Use computer simulation to model the Earth, Sun, and Moon in orbit
  • Follow your own star from birth to death
  • Perform your own “galaxy census” of the universe

Composing Electronic Music

Even if you can’t read music and have never played an instrument, you can use technology to write electronic music. In this class, you will learn how to make recordings and transform them into music and sound art through the use of a digital audio workstation. You will learn the language of music and delve into the surprising ways math and science assist us in pondering and creating sound.

In this workshop, students will explore multiple methods of creating sound with the help of technology: computers, iPads, and phones synthesizers, sound editors, keyboards, controller pads, and so on. No previous musical experience is required; however, all forms of previous musical experience are welcome! Students will:

  • Learn how sound is represented on computers and how to manipulate sound
  • Use musical software to record and transform samples, and synthesize unique sound timbres
  • Compose various short musical pieces using a variety of technological approaches

Creative Writing: The Mysteries of Plotting

What does Hogwarts have in common with forensic science? What do zombie apocalypses have to do with doppelgangers or time travel? Why is mystery mysterious? These kinds of stories are fun to read, watch, and write, but how do writers make the stories feel real?

This workshop explores storytelling and creative writing, through the lens of mystery. In this space, we’ll create, share, and perform the mysterious stories that we imagine, using characters and worlds that we build and create to bring our ideas to life. Our instructors will show students how varied interests including those in science and technology can help them to realize realistic characters and create compelling mysteries.

In this workshop, we will look for inspiration particularly in science and technology to create something new and exciting in the arts. We’ll map out richly imagined worlds and universes, and design heroes and monsters to fill them. Once we’ve invented our settings and characters, we’ll write and share flash fiction and short stories about them.


Debate allows students to become more proficient in speaking as well as research, comprehension, writing, and reasoning skills. Fact-filled and passionate debates provide the incentive for students of all academic and socioeconomic levels to express their opinions assertively in a respectful manner on a relevant issue or topic. Using the high school policy debate topic, students will be introduced to skills fundamental to understanding argumentation, debate, and public speaking. Debate has been shown to facilitate a number of beneficial skills, including promoting rigorous and critical thinking, more effective communication skills, and improving academic, occupational, and civic achievement.

MST’s Debate workshop will cover more complex debate theories such as debate mechanics, reasoning, clash, research, and presentation. Students will also learn about flowing and evidence credibility as well as the Toulmin Model of Argument (data, claim, warrants, qualifiers, rebuttals, and backing). Experiences will include:

  • Debate preparation and practice on 2-person teams
  • Debate “games”
  • Participating in judged debates

Visual Arts

This workshop is specifically designed for students who would like to create something beautiful but don’t know where to start. The end result will be several unique, creative, and fun pieces of art that you can be proud of. Talent and experience are not a prerequisite for this workshop - success on these projects will depend on your ability to follow directions, work hard, and use your imagination. Students can expect to try something new and to draw in a way unlike the ways they may have tried before.

We will explore a variety of mediums and complete as many projects as time allows. We will get a little messy, especially on the days we do clay (so don't wear your best clothes). We will also work outside a little, weather permitting. We hope to introduce each of you to new ways of thinking about and looking at the world around you and equipping you with the materials and skills to act on your inspirations through art.