Charlottesville Branch

Who are we: Science Delivered Charlottesville brings engaging, hands-on Science Labs to classrooms in Charlottesville, VA and the surrounding counties. We are committed to making science fun and believe that ANYONE can be a scientist! 

Science Labs: We bring the lab straight to your classroom! Hands-on Science Labs for grades Pre-K through 5th grade are taught by expert instructors experienced in science education. We bring all the supplies with us and do the set up and clean up. Each Science Lab lasts approximately 1 hour. The descriptions of each lab are outlined below. We offer labs to Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Fluvanna County, Waynesboro, Staunton, and Augusta County School Systems. Want us to visit your classroom? Contact Taylor Welsh at

Science Communication Training: We are partnering with the University of Virginia and the Neuroscience Graduate Program to train scientists to be able to more effectively communicate their research with broader audiences and to get more involved with community science education and outreach. Our workshop series are debuting this fall and are generously funded by The Jefferson Trust. For more information, contact Taylor Welsh at

Donate: We offer many of our Science Labs at no cost to schools thanks to generous funding and donations! If you or your company are interested in donating to or supporting Science Delivered Charlottesville, please contact Kelly Barford at Science Delivered, Charlottesville is a 501c3 organization, and your contribution is tax deductible.

C'ville Science Labs

All About Air

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Students learn about air in this high energy class. Students watch cans get knocked over with a blast of air and watch a balloon fly around the room. They then get to knock down their own towers as they explore the power of air. After blowing up their own special scientist balloons (take-home), they make unique art using the power of air!


  • Watching cans get knocked over

  • The air blaster!

  • Scientist Balloons


  • That air is SOMETHING

  • That air takes up space

  • That wind is made of moving air

Colorful Science

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Students explore colors and mixing in this tons of fun class. We start with a crowd-pleasing demo as students watch hot and cold water mix in colorful swirls. They then explore skittles in water, watch a baking soda and vinegar rainbow explosion and mix their own colored baking soda and vinegar.


  • Colorful hot and cold water demo

  • Rainbow explosion

  • Mixing colored baking soda and vinegar


  • That exploration is science

  • That mixing two+ colors makes new colors

  • Some items have dye that comes off in water

Material Madness

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Students start thinking about material properties in this investigative class. We first do demonstrations and discuss materials that have unique properties. Students then conduct their own investigation to discover the properties of various “mystery” (and safe) chemicals and materials. Using ice cubes trays, students mix and match materials to see what happens! As they experiment, they must write a report with at least two of their findings. Finally, we reveal the identities of the mystery substances – if they didn’t figure them out already!


  • Doing their own investigation

  • Identifying mystery materials

  • Making bubbling fizzing mixtures!


  • That similar looking materials can have different properties

  • A process for investigating unknown materials

  • Preliminary data collection techniques

Perceiving is Believing: Neuroscience

Students learn how they perceive information about their environment through a series of experiments and demos. In addition to exploring the "traditional" senses, these demonstrations are designed to "trick" the brain as well! Students then have the chance to view REAL human brains, which were donated to science. Note: Students do NOT dissect the brains. Brains are bagged and fixed with a non-toxic substance.


  • Tricking their brains

  • Participating in demos

  • Looking a real human brain!


  • How signals propagate through their brains and bodies

  • Their perceptions can be different than reality

  • Basic brain structure

The Waves of Sound

Students learn about waves and energy transfer by focusing on sound waves in this fun and exciting class. We start with a fun activity designed to demonstrate how different materials create different sound waves. Students then perform their own experiments using salt on a balloon membrane and string and a coat hanger. By doing this, they learn about the scientific process and wave transmission. We end with a demo of “the clapper” to show how sound waves can be transferred into energy.


  • Making salt dance

  • Hearing amplified sounds

  • Conducting their own experiments


  • How sounds move through various materials

  • How sound waves interact with their ears to allow us to hear

  • How to conduct a scientific investigation


Chemistry: What's Your Reaction?

Students learn about chemical reactions and the invisible properties of many gases during a series of fun activities. First, we start with a magic trick that demonstrates how many materials have unique properties. Then, students perform a chemical reaction  to blow up balloons and learn about acids, bases and carbon dioxide. Students then perform another safe chemical reaction to see firsthand how chemistry can induce energy and temperature changes.


  • Being amazed by the magic trick

  • Blowing up balloons with gas

  • Feeling the citric acid/baking soda reaction get COLD


  • That there are various types of gases

  • That chemical reactions can produce gas

  • That chemical reactions use or generate heat

Light's Travels

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Students explore the world of optics. They start by investigating some amazing effects that can occur when you bend light just so. This includes observing the abilities of lenses and exploring the illusion generated by a mirascope (similar to a hologram). They then use mirrors and a light source in an “optics box” to determine the pathways by which light travels.


  • The amazing mirascope

  • Playing with lights

  • Playing with lenses


  • How light travels

  • How to bend light

  • How light and eyes interact to allow vision



Kelly Barford, PhD

Kelly received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech followed by her PhD in Neuroscience from University of Virginia in 2018. She developed and taught a Neuroscience class and a Microscopic World class for UVa's Saturday Enrichment Program. She has participated in the Society for Neuroscience’s Brain Awareness week, as well as in elementary school outreach as former president of UVa’s Women in Math and Science. She also volunteered at many science nights and science fairs around town to help make the science she loves accessible to the Charlottesville community. Currently, Kelly worked for the education biotech company Edvotek in Washington DC and serves as Director for the Charlotteville branch and a board member. 

Taylor Welsh, PhD

Taylor’s favorite part of teaching science is how the students react to experiments: the looks of surprise when something happens they didn’t expect, or the looks of triumph when they correctly predict the outcome. Taylor received a B.S. in Biology from Washington and Lee University, and earned her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Virginia in 2018. She has also created and presented all sorts of science programs as a Summer Programs Assistant at the Explore More Discovery Museum in Harrisonburg, VA and has training in learning theory from the University of Virginia’s Center for Teaching Excellence. She has volunteered with the Society for Neuroscience’s Brain Awareness Week, the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington DC, and many schools and programs in and around Charlottesville, VA. As a cofounder of Science Delivered Charlottesville, Taylor is excited to bring the joy of discovery to all of our programs.