Gopher STEAM

(Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math)

Discovering and Inspiring though hands-on Learning

About us: 

 We are a small education and entertainment company located in Woodbury, Minnesota that specializes in STEAM activities and presentations. (STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math)

I have been involved in science education for nearly 30 years.   I started by startling unsuspecting high school students with hydrogen balloons with the chemistry outreach program run by Alpha Chi Sigma at Kansas State University and at the University of Minnesota.   After graduate school I decided to continue with science education and accepted a position as Operations Director and senior instructor at Mad Science of MN, a first class provider of STEM education and entertainment.  For the next 15 years I had a blast developing and presenting shows, workshops, activity booths, summer camps and even birthday parties.   In 2011 I finished my licensures in science and started teaching chemistry, physics and mentoring FIRST robotics at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis.  Currently I am having a blast teaching physics at Tartan High School in Oakdale and running Gopher STEAM so I can go out and have some science fun with your family or organization.

What we do:

Simply put, we bring STEAM education and entertainment to you!  We provide a variety of interactive science presentations and events where kids can experience the wonder of discovery first hand.  

Science shows:  

Our interactive shows are perfect for all ages and for groups of 20 to several hundred.  They are perfect for schools wanting to get their students excited for their STEM fair.  As a scout leader, Cub Scout Pack meetings are my favorite and we do provide a discount to ANY scouting organization.   An interactive show is ideal for library summer programs.  We currently offer two shows, Science is Magic and Crazy Colin's Air Show.  We have two more shows based on chemistry and physics in the works.  We also can customize shows to be flame free for libraries and other venues that require it.   If you want to extend the learning, add on one of our hands-on activity tables below.

Activity tables:  

Activity tables provide a short and fun hands-on STEAM experience.  Many of our tables involve kids making something that they take home to continue exploring and learning.  Add an activity table at the end of one of our interactive shows or schedule several for your STEM fair.  Activity tables include, slime, putty, catapults, parachutes, wind tube, robots, ultraviolet beads and more.

Science Nights & STEAM Saturdays:  

A science night or a STEAM Saturday is a comprehensive solution for when you need to STEAM up a crowd.  A combination of one or more interactive shows and four or more activity tables will allow you energize your school or organization at a discounted price.

Birthday Parties:  

With a couple tweaks our Science is Magic becomes a fantastic birthday party.    Birthday parties include a 30 to 40 minute presentation and every party person will get to take home a make-&-take activity.  

STEAM Classes: 

I have several hands on STEAM classes at the moment including, Build-a-Bot (LEGO robotics),  Rocket Launch, Big Bubbles, Dino Dig and Bug Me.  Many of our classes work at the preschool and elementary school age level.  The rocket and robot workshops are fun for middle school as well.   I have two classes designed to earn BSA merit badges, Robotics and Space Exploration.  I will soon be adding Astronomy, Signals and Codes, Chemistry and others.  I am always working on my next class so ask about what is new.

Summer Camps:  

This summer we are running a limited number of camps in Woodbury and Cottage Grove. 

Space Exploration!

In the Space Exploration camp we will focus on building a different model rocket each day. We will use Estes kits, my own 3D printed rocket, as well as designing, building and testing a scratch built rocket. We will learn how to safely launch our rockets following the National Association of Rocketry safety code. Each student will have multiple opportunities to prepare and launch during the camp. When we are not designing and building our rockets we will learn about the history of spaceflight, our solar system, stars, robotic exploration, telescopes and other interesting astronomical objects. The instructor for the camp is Colin Kilbane who has taught chemistry, physics, and robotics for nearly 20 years. He is a member of the Minnesota Astronomical Society, a scout leader / merit badge counselor, FIRST robotics mentor and a level 2 certified member of the Tripoli high power rocketry association.

The curricula of this camp will meet the requirements for the Space Exploration BSA merit badge as well as the recently retired Adventures in Science Webelos adventure. Many requirements for the Space Science badges, Think Like an Engineer Journey and the Mechanical Engineering badges for Girl Scouts may be met as well. 


I have three Space Exploration camps this summer that conveniently coincide with South Washington County summer school programs.

July 10th through the 13th at Cottage Grove Middle School, 1 - 4 pm

July 17th through the20th at Middleton Elementary 2- 4 pm

July 24th through the 27th at Hillside Elementary 2 - 4 pm

Here is the link to register!


Build-a-Bot!

In the Build-a-Bot camp you will explore the world of robotics by building your own teleoperated robotic arm. The best part is that you get to take home your robotic arm at the end of the camp. When you are not building your arm you will be exploring various robotic systems like sensors, mobility and manipulation by building and programming a LEGO Mindstorm robot. Your Mindstorm robot will face a series of challenges of increasing difficulty that mimic real world situations. We will explore robotic systems, careers, and how robots are used in industry and space exploration. You will need to use what you learned to invent, innovate and program your robot to meet these challenges. As a nine year veteran mentor for the FIRST FRC robotics competition your instructor will give you information on the FIRST programs available at your schools so you can continue your robotic explorations.

The curriculum in the camp meets the requirements for the BSA Robotics Merit Badge, the now retired Cub Scout Bears Robotics adventure and many requirements for the series of robotics badges for Girl Scouts.


My Build-a-Bot camp is taking place from June 26th through June 29th from 9am to noon at Lake Middle School.  

Click here to register.

To register click here for  South Washington County's Community Education registration website.  


Up and coming free Gopher STEAM events!

April 29th 4pm:  Come see Crazy Colin's Air Show see the stars with the Minnesota Astronomical Society at the Spring Astronomy Day, Eagle Lake Observatory, Baylor Regional Park just north of  Norwood Young America. 

June 15th, 4-8pm: Come find our table to make some serious slime at the Cottage Grove Strawberry Festival.

June 21, 2 pm:  Bring the family to discover the secret science behind some magic with our Science is Magic Show at the Central Park Amphitheatre in Woodbury.

June 24th 1-4pm:  Do you want to build a robot?  Free LEGO robotics workshop at the R.H. Stafford Library.  The registration link will be posted when available.  

June 12– August 11:  We will be bringing some science to District 833 Community Education Skoolie Nights at Armstrong, Newport, Pullman and Royal Oaks elementaries.   Times and dates TBD.

July 22: Tentatively 2 pm. Come camp out, gaze at the stars and start your own mini space program.  We will be hosting a free DYI Rocket build workshop and launch at the Minnesota Astronomical Society's annual Camping with the stars at Eagle Lake Observatory, Baylor Regional Park just north of  Norwood Young America. 


You can fill out our contact form below and we will get back to you.  

Contact me!

You can also choose to be added to our mailing list for updates on new programs, information about free events from Gopher STEAM and links to other STEM events in the area.

To bring some STEAM to your home, library or school please email me at colinkilbane@gophersteam.com.  

You can also call me at ‪(651) 300-9592‬.

 I am often out teaching STEAM stuff so if you don't get through please leave me a message and I'll call you back ASAP.