Photo gallery Generations of learning at Grandparents University
What do you get when you combine the wonderment of childhood with the experience of a lifetime? Magic, and that’s what Grandparents University is all about.
For the first time since the pandemic began, grandparents and their grandchildren came together on the UW–Madison campus this summer for two days of fun, adventure and learning in the program sponsored by the Wisconsin Alumni Association. Each family chooses an academic discipline to focus on, with UW faculty and staff leading the way.
As one grandparent put it, they could see their grandchildren’s eyes light up with curiosity and surprise as they shared generational insights and learned together.
“Nobody listens to the grandkids with more intensity than their grandparents,” said Tom Zinnen, a state extension specialist with the Extension who was an instructor in the biotechnology lab.
At center, Evie Supple hands cut flowers to her grandma, Gloria Green, while Winnie Supple kneels nearby during the Grandparents University SciArt Garden Adventure class in Allen Centennial Garden. "It's just fun to see their eyes light up at certain things that they're seeing here and just to engage their curiosity and just inspire their love of learning," said Green, who came with three grandchildren.
Children create a colorful floating flower collage made of zinnias, marigolds, daisies, and lilies picked in Allen Centennial Garden.
At center, Ian Woods pulls a sample of wheat germ DNA into a test tube held by grandmother Sandy Gilmore, while at left UW student and GPU staff member Luvia Montoya looks on.
Jeanne Nye and her granddaughter Charlotte Nye admire a growing chain of test tubes whose colors of green, red, blue, and yellow represent the four nucleotide bases of DNA.
Jo Anne Graser holds a vial filled with DNA that she and her grandson extracted from wheat germ during a Grandparents University biotechnology class in the Genetics-Biotechnology Center Building.
Course instructor Yaxin Hu helps Owen Shepler and his grandmother Joan Gillman during a Grandparents University social robotics class in the Computer Sciences building. "That was exactly what I wanted him to do," Owen said after setting up the robot. "Absolutely. Perfection," Gillman said.
At left, Nancy Gardner and Weezy Eckstrom work together to code a racecourse using the programming language Scratch during a Grandparents University Computer Science class in the Computer Sciences building.
From left to right, Jabez Tupper and his grandmother Wendy Tupper examine an insect specimen that they are working together to pin and label during a Grandparents University entomology class.
Grandparents University participants are busy pinning bugs that they collected the previous day during an entomology class. "Now I like playing with dead bugs," said Will Hammes of Madison, who attended with his grandmother Jeannie Altmann of Plymouth, Minn.
Students reach out to feel a rock sample as they identify its type —igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic — during a Grandparents University geology class in the Weeks Hall for Geological Sciences.
Gabe Smiley and his grandmother Liz Frie identify insects by their illustrations for an bingo game during a Grandparents University entomology class in the Russell Laboratories building.