South Dakota History Adventures

Fort Pierre is 200 years old and we are celebrating with
South Dakota History Adventures
May 8-11.

Students in Grades 4 – 6 will have a day of hands-on learning fun, experiencing and exploring the history of the area with:

  • A river boat trip. Fort Pierre was a bustling steamboat town. Experience the community from the perspective of the river.
  • Lakota Star Show. The Lakota people were among the original settlers of Fort Pierre. Learn their star stories in this colorful planetarium show at the South Dakota Discovery Center.
  • Railroad Museum. Before we had cars and the internet, there were trains and Morse code. Learn how technology opened the West.

PLUS, each group gets to pick a 4th program option. Choose from:

  • National Guard Museum – Explore the daily life of a 19th century soldier by comparing your schedule with his.
  • Cultural Heritage Center – Get going in a search for various means of transportation in the museum exhibits.
  • Casey Tibbs Rodeo museum – Explore rodeo and Western way of life with an exhibit scavenger hunt.


  1. Cost is $9 per participant. A participant is a student, teacher or chaperone. An invoice will be sent for the number of participants noted on your registration. Please submit payment by April 30.
  2. Maximum group size per registration is 30 students. You may combine multiple classes in one registration as long as your group size consists of 30 or fewer total students. If the combined classes number more than 30, please divide into smaller groups and register each group individually.
  3. We require a ratio of one (1) adult chaperon for every ten (10) students with a minimum of two adults. Chaperons can include the classroom teacher, aides, parents or other adult 18 or older.
    1. 2 chaperons – Required minimum for groups of 20 or less, including groups of 10 or less.
    2. 3 chaperons – Required minimum for groups of 21 – 30.
    3. You are welcome to bring more!
  4. Please bring sack lunches. You are only given a half hour for lunch. Our experience is that this is not enough time to eat in a fast food restaurant. We will arrange indoor picnicking in case of inclement weather.
  5. Speaking of inclement weather, we roll rain or shine. Please ensure that your students are dressed appropriately,especially for the boat ride. It is often 10° – 15° colder on the water than on land. We suggest blankets and heavier coats for the boat if it is below 60°.
  6. Our programs are spread out at various locations. Being on time is important to ensure that your students maximize their time at each program. Below is a map with program locations. Please note that the boat location is tentative. It may change.

Register today!

Registration Open: Women in Science Conference

Women in Science is a conference for for middle and high school girls to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Girls who say they do not like science or math, should definitely attend!

Registration open March 2!

You can register online for the 2017 Central South Dakota Women in Science conference.

Sign up today!

Our Keynote Speaker will be Holly Hoffman!

Motivational speaker Holly Hoffman and former reality show Survivor contestant will inspire you with real life lessons about how to go for your big goals and overcome big challenges so they don’t overcome you!

Holly says:

As we survive life’s challenges, we come face to face with fear and uncertainty.  Challenges may allow us to step out of our comfort zone and push ourselves above and beyond our own self-limitations.

 It is how we choose to overcome challenges that make us who we are. It is our strength in times of difficulty that prove our character and self worth.  As I share my experience of being on a reality show, I encourage you to think about how you decide to survive on a daily basis.  I will encourage you to think about six words to develop your survival skills.

With my six simple words, you can take on any challenge you are faced with. Adversity is not so much contending with problems as it is learning more about who you really are and what is inside of you.  Join me and explore what your true survival skills are

We also have an exciting line up of hands-on breakout sessions with practicing women professionals. Choose from:

Female / Iron man
Join researchers at USD and explore the fascinating field of small, teeny, tiny particle science (nanotechnology), which behave in strange ways. Synthesize your own ferrofluid nanoparticles and investigate their behavior in the presence of magnetic fields.

Fish Management 101
What is fisheries management all about? See and explore fish species native to the Missouri River in the Game Fish and Parks touch tank. You will be allowed to handle the fish, and learn about the different adaptations each fish has to living life in the Missouri River.

Girls Play with Trucks, Too! 
Women in the fire service are becoming more prevalent today. How can you prepare yourself to become a firefighter? Join Pierre’s 1st Lieutenant in hands-on activities and explore bunker gear, face masks, air tanks, tools, a whole firetruck, and much more. Learn valuable fire safety information for you to share.

Math: The super-secret language the universe uses to talk to itself
It took us 1,700 years to figure out something bees instinctively know: hexagons are excellent. The ancient Greeks listened to their cryptic oracles, but these days we use statistics to predict the future. Math isn’t something you may or may not use at some indeterminate future time – it’s a language that describes everything that is happening, inside us and all around us, right now. Let’s eavesdrop! Explore mathematical hands-on theories, such as game theory, payoff matrices, and the decoder ring to learn ways to encrypts secret messages.

Minerals and Rocks in Body Care Products
Did you know volcanic ash is used in pumice scrub? Explore a variety of natural raw materials and end products made from those minerals and rocks. Make your own powder blush and lip gloss.

Science on the Wing (Bird Banding Demonstration)
Why do wildlife biologists band birds and how do they do it? Come outdoors to set up nets, take birds out of nets, band birds (placing aluminum anklet with a unique ID number), and record scientific data and learn everything about migratory songbird banding.

Surface Water Quality
Explore how the surface water quality in South Dakota impacts all of us and what the Department of Environment and Natural Resources does to help protect the surface waters of our state. Join a natural resource engineer in hands-on activities around the protection of surface water quality.

The Real CSI
Explore the science of Forensics and discover how much of real forensic science exists in television shows. Join a forensic scientist in hands-on activities such as processing items for fingerprints. Learn how to collect, preserve, and compare fingerprints.

The Science of Caring
Join a critical care registered nurse on a day in the Emergency Room and learn what it takes to save lives: explore CPR, measuring intakes and outputs, taking vital signs, Doppler pulses, and basic medication calculations.

Transportation Logistics
Most products we see, eat or wear will arrive via the trucking industry. Climb into a truck and explore autonomous (self-driving trucks) and the technology used to develop communications. Come on a journey of opportunities ranging from the engineering of a truck to the delivery of products.

Unlocking the Mysteries of Sanford Lab
Join the Sanford Lab scientists in the search for Dark Matter, deep in an underground lab, one mile below the surface in Black Hills, South Dakota. Solve puzzles and search for clues to unlock the secret combinations in a Sanford Lab Breakout game! Along the way, we’ll learn about careers at Sanford Lab and a little bit about the internationally renowned science experiments happening here.


Recent Webinars List

Just a reminder: we offer CEUs for webinars. You can meet your professional development requirements through these high quality, useful webinars. Find out more at!

STEM Education Webinars From
NASA Educator Professional Development

The NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative (EPDC) at Texas State University is presenting a series of free webinars open to all educators. Join NASA education specialists to learn about activities, lesson plans, educator guides and resources that bring NASA into your classroom. Registration is required to participate. To register, simply click on the link provided beneath the webinar description.

Technology Enables Exploration: Explore With NASA Apps (Grades K-12)

February 22, 2017, at 4:00 p.m. ET:  — NASA has over 50 FREE Apps for educational use. Learn how to use and integrate some of the applications functionality in the classroom setting. Virtual reality, 3-D exploration and NASA missions come alive with the use of these apps. Engage students in topics such as Earth science, solar system exploration, robotics and International Space Station research through the usage of technology apps. Register online to participate.

Picking Up STEAM: Using Models and Data to Understand Clouds (Grades 4-10)

February 23, 2017, at 8:00 p.m. ET:  — Practice STEAM through the use of inquiry-based science activities from the NASA curriculum guides. The activities and NASA educational websites introduced will provide the educators new curriculum ideas to assist in meeting the Next Generation Science Standards and CORE learning outcomes standards.This STEAM webinar will guide participants through inquiry-based learning activities related to clouds, phase change, light, water cycle, weather and climate. Register online to participate.

Technology Enables Exploration: Designing Satellites and Rovers in the Classroom (Grades K-8)

February 27, 2017, at 4:00 p.m. ET:  — Learn how to complete a NASA Engineering Design Challenge using the “Ask, Imagine and Plan” engineering design process. Participants will review the teacher guides available online and no cost at The guides are designed for grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8. Each guide includes activities, material lists, instructional strategies, protocols, tutorials, assessments and cross-curricular implementation. Register online to participate.

Technology Enables Exploration: NASA Spinoffs (Grades K-12)

February 27, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. ET: — NASA has a long history of transferring technologies from their original mission applications to secondary uses. This is the 40th anniversary of the NASA Spinoff publication that has highlighted over 2,000 different ways that NASA spinoff technology is impacting our daily lives. Register online to participate.

Technology Enables Exploration: Robotics on a Budget (Grades 4-8)

February 28, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. ET:  — Robots are a part of our everyday lives. We use them in ways we don’t always realize. What are robots? How are they used in our lives? How are they used at NASA? These are some of the questions investigated in this webinar. Explore how to use robotics inexpensively in your classroom by integrating NASA STEM robotic missions, curriculum and online resources to help your students understand STEM. Register online to participate.

Earth Right Now: Understanding the A-Train

March 01, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. ET: (Grades 6-12) — This webinar gives an overview of the Earth-observing satellites known as the A-Train and of related education resources. Discussion will include modifications of activities and accommodations. The webinar addresses the Next Generation Science Standards ESS2 and ESS3. Register online to participate.

Integrating Engineering Into Your Science Classroom (Grades 5-12)

March 02, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. ET:  — This webinar will give an overview of resources in engineering design and allow participants to discuss methods for integrating engineering design into a science curriculum at multiple levels from 5th through 12th grade. The webinar addresses the Next Generation Science Standard ETS1. Register online to participate.

We want to share just a bit of the exciting education activities offered through the SD Discover Center in 2016.

Every patron, volunteer, donor or supporter should feel proud of what they helped contribute to!

You can (continue to) be part of this in 2017. We have exciting plans including:

  • Maker activities and computer coding camps for our future engineers and entrereneurs.
  • Ag nutrition and gardening programs through our new greenhouse.
  • Science clubs, a Women in Science conference, robitics teams and internships to inspire teen interest in STEM careers.

Your donation is POWERFUL. You can help grow South Dakota’s next generation of scientists and innovators.

We invite you to contribute today!

Mark your calendars: Special February Happenings

Pop-up special hours, this week! We will be open on Thursday 2/9 and  Friday 2/10 from 9 am – 5 pm. The Pierre School District is out for parent teacher conferences those days (K-5: Th & F,  6-12: F only)  and we are pleased to offer extended morning hours.

This Saturday, Feb 11, is Starry Saturdays with free star shows in our portable planetarium, 12 pm – 2 pm (no extra charge). If you haven’t see our planetarium show yet, come in for this colorful look at the night sky in the middle of the afternoon.

Looking ahead, we are open Presidents’ Day, Feb 20 from 1 – 5 pm.  We also will have the always popular Engineers Day on Saturday Feb 25. This free day is sponsored by the central chapter of the South Dakota Engineering Society with  hands-on engineering activities for your future engineers.




Feb 11: International Girls and Women in Science Day

Saturday, Feb 11 is International Girls and Women in Science Day.

TEACHERS, involve your students by participating in an online video session with cool women scientists. All your students will love the adventure and exploration and your girls will see a role model for themselves.

Join Marine Biologist Mariana Fuentes in this National Geographic Education video conference on Feb 6.

On Friday, Feb 10,  Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants offers a full day of Google Hangouts with women scientists from a wide range of sciences. Pick one to watch live or go back and watch later when it fits into your schedule.

There are many hangouts to choose from on this day long event, including one with South Dakota’s own Stephanie Arne.

Also, the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative will offer a webinar on how to use the story of Katherine Johnson, profiled in the book and movie Hidden Figures, in your classroom.  The SD Discovery Center will provide CEUs for the webinar. Find out more about webinar CEUS.

PARENTS, what better way to observe than to bring your kids to the SD Discovery Center? We will have all our great hands-on exhibits PLUS it’s starry Saturday with free star shows 12-2 on the half hour.

Applications for Teen Internship Positions Now Opened

Gardening Teen Experts Internship

The South Dakota Discovery Center is looking for youth age 15-18 to apply for the Gardening Teen Experts Internship, a program sponsored by Wellmark.

Teens that are selected for the internship will lead youth gardening and nutrition programs at local sites.

Two internship cohorts are available: Spring (March – May) and Summer (June – August).

Interns will be required to attend training, co-teach gardening programs, and model and encourage healthy eating and lifestyle choices.

The internship will provide teens an opportunity to explore a career in education and horticulture as well as enhance their resumes and college applications. Teens will receive a $10 per hour stipend.

Applications are due February 13 for the spring cohort and May 1 for the summer cohort.

The application is available via download. (pdf, Word) You may also pick up a copy by stopping into the South Dakota Discovery Center.

Please contact Danette with questions or call 605-224-8295.

Junk Drawer and Lego Robotics

Does your child in Grade 5-8 like to tinker? Register him or her for Junk Drawer Lego Robotics today! This opportunity is free thanks to the Verizon Foundation.

In Junk Drawer and Lego Robotics your child will explore the world of engineering (a fancy way of saying using science and technology to solve problems). Engineers build, think, and explore!

We’ll meet every other Tuesday February through mid March at Georgia Morse Middle School. Students from all schools (Stanley County, ABO, Home School) are welcome!

Sign up today!

Sci Girls

The South Dakota Discovery Center is proud to be a Sci Girls partner. This fun, dynamic program is targeted at  young girls to encourage them to be STEM-tastic!

We are offering a Sci Girls after school opportunity this winter, this time for girls in grades 3-4.

Registration is open at:

We recognize that parents and other important grown ups have a role in fostering girls (and boys!) interest in STEM.

These tips to encourage your daughter in STEM are courtesy PBS Parents. Joining and becoming involved in the SD Discovery Center is a good way to cover a lot of these. Don’t let lack of funds stop you. Your family may qualify for a free or reduced price membership. Contact us for more information about that.

Invite Questions

Encourage your girl’s natural curiosity about the world. Scientists and engineers are professional question askers and problem solvers. Let your girl know that it’s perfectly acceptable not to have all the answers, and encourage her to explore and discover! Celebrate all attempts at trying new things. Even if you aren’t comfortable with STEM, be positive.

Encourage her to Pursue STEM in School

Expect girls to do well in STEM and communicate your expectations clearly. With the growing importance of science and technological literacy, it is important to spark and strengthen girls’ engagement, interest, and confidence in STEM subjects in elementary and middle school. Once in high school, your girl will make choices that will either open or close doors to STEM studies and career choices. Having a strong knowledge base in STEM topics will give your girl the opportunity to access any career path she chooses, with confidence. Help her see the connections between STEM classes and future career options. Start early!

Help Access STEM Opportunities

Great STEM learning opportunities can be found outside the classroom. Learning opportunities for kids can be found at science museums, zoos, scouting organizations, and STEM clubs during after-school hours, weekends, and summer breaks. These programs often provide girls with introductions to working female mentors who can help girls navigate the course of becoming a scientist or engineer.

Connect her to a Role Model/Mentor

Seeing women who have succeeded in STEM helps inspire and motivate girls, especially when they can relate to these role models as people with lives outside of work. Role models and mentors not only broaden girls’ views of who does science, but expand girls’ vision of what’s possible in their own lives. You can share role models with your girl by reading biographies, looking at video and text profiles online and watching tv shows (fictional and documentary) that feature female STEM role models. Talk with family, neighbors, friends and community members that work in STEM fields and ask them questions about what they do and how they got there.


Pre School Science!

We have a great series of classes lined up for the littlest scientists in the first part of 2017. Children age 4 – 6 (age 3 1/2 with parent or adult in attendance) will love these opportunities to explore the world around them.

Each month from January to April we’ll learn about a different topic. This year we’ll learn about snow (when you’re little it’s still a frozen wonder), owls, eggs and spring!

For your convenience, we offer two opportunities each month, Wednesday afternoon and Friday mornings. The topic repeats.

We now take registrations online using Eventbrite. You can sign up for  just one or all!

Some families may qualify for United Way funding. If you think that may be you, contact Kristie (email or call 605-224-8295).

For all the details regarding pre-school classes, go to: