Recently, my students got the chance to perform two labs using equipment in the Stony Brook University Earth and Space Center. Above is a picture of them using the stream table, a really cool piece of equipment that allows students to see rivers forming and changing on a small scale. They loved it! They got to get their hands dirty building a dam, examine how changes in slope changed the rivers that formed and watch a delta get destroyed by storm surge from a hurricane.
The second lab was on porosity and permeability - this one wasn't as good as the first one. For one thing, it wasn't explained as well, the kids were tired after a long day and weren't listening as well and it was also something that we could have easily done back at the classroom. If I go again, I think I would only do the stream tables lab and then perhaps take them on a full campus tour of the university.
We did get a mini tour, however, to the administration building where they have "Stony Brook's Dinosaur." The Majungasaurus crenatissimus is a 70-million year old carnivorous dinosaur discovered in Madagascar by a team of paleontologists from Stony Brook. The full skeleton is on display there and is pretty interesting, with its strange front limbs and long tail. If you do take a trip to Stony Brook, make sure not to miss this!
If you are interested in taking your own classes to the labs at Stony Brook, see the Center for Science and Mathematics Education (CESAME) website. They offer programs not just in Earth Science, but also Physics, Biotechnology and Chemistry. The programs are regularly $20 per student, but the fee is waived for Title I schools. I highly recommend the program!