Vital Signs @ Springfield – Friday: Animatronic Extremity

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Friday: Animatronic Extremity

Throughout the week, students have been exploring the realm of artificial prosthetics through the use of their own engineering creativity. Our bold inventors have created their own artificial hands, improving them day by day, and testing them with games and activities. Experiments involved carrying ping-pong balls, and even sign language!

Students have become experts at analyzing design solutions and repeatedly testing them in order to determine the best way to improve the product.

Ask your student:

What is electromyography, and how do modern prosthetics take advantage of it? (voluntary signals that contract muscles, prosthetics can be controlled using remaining nerve endings)

Ask them to show some of the sign language they learned this week!

BioSleuths @ Springfield – Friday: Forensic Entomology

BioSleuths @ Springfield – Friday: Forensic Entomology

Today, students continued their study of forensic entomology: the use of knowledge of insects to help solve criminal investigations. Our junior investigators learned how forensic entomologists use the life cycle of maggot-laying flies in order to determine the exact time of death of a victim. In order to observe the life cycle in action, students examined their canned chicken samples from Monday.

In addition, the biosleuths used the knowledge they had gained about forensic entomology to solve crime scene situations!

Ask your student:

What exactly are maggots? (fly larva)

How can forensic scientists use maggots to estimate time of death? (life stages of a fly take a known amount of time)

C.S.IMSA – Friday: Drops to DNA Part 2

C.S.IMSA  – Friday: Drops to DNA Part 2

The case has been cracked! Our junior forensic scientists worked in the lab today in order to extract DNA from the pieces of a broken vase that were found at the crime scene. After analyzing the evidence and comparing it to the DNA samples from several key suspects, the CSI team has identified the culprit!

Students concluded the week with a successfully cracked case, and experience with real CSI science!

Ask your student:

Were your suspicions from earlier in the week correct? If not, what evidence changed them?

BioSleuths @ Springfield – Thursday: Grasshopper Dissection – External

BioSleuths @ Springfield – Thursday: Grasshopper Dissection – External

Today, our young anatomy investigators set their sights on grasshoppers! Students mainly focused on the grasshopper’s appendages and other features that were easily visible, observing how the structure of each part might enable it to function most efficiently. Our biosleuths even got the chance to identify some correct or incorrect features on famous cartoon insects like Jiminy Cricket!

Students will continue their grasshopper dissections tomorrow by exploring the internal features of the same insects they worked on today.

Ask your student:

What are the three body segments of the grasshopper called? (head, thorax, and abdomen)

Why are the grasshopper’s back legs different from its front legs? (they need to be bigger for jumping)

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Thursday: The Blood Part 1

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Thursday: The Blood Part 1

Today, our scientists delved into the study of blood type and the genetics that help determine it. Students first discovered the physical basis behind the ABO blood type group, analyzing different antigens. In the lab, they attempted to determine the blood type of different samples by creating antibody reactions.

The analysts-in-training also learned the basics of Mendelian genetics, discovering how blood type traits are inherited and why some are dominant over others.

Ask your student:

How many total possibilities are there for blood type? (there are 8 including both genes: A+/-, B+/-, AB+/-, and O+/-)

What is one method to predict the blood type of the offspring when you know that of the parents? (use a Punnett square)

C.S.IMSA @ Springfield – Thursday: Drops to DNA Part 1

C.S.IMSA @ Springfield – Thursday: Drops to DNA Part 1

Today our CSI technicians began what will be a two day process to extract DNA from a broken vase found at the crime scene. In order to prepare themselves to discover what should be the most convincing piece of evidence, students learned about the extraction process by using their own DNA!

After their training, investigators are ready to process the last piece of evidence tomorrow!

Ask your student:

What was one substance you used in the extraction of your own DNA? (Gatorade, soap, meat tenderizer, alcohol)

Biosleuths @ Springfield – Wednesday: Beak Design Challenge

Biosleuths @ Springfield – Wednesday: Beak Design Challenge

Have you ever thought about why birds’ have such different beaks? Your student can help you answer that question! One of the areas that they learned about today was different bird beaks and how they are designed. Using different tools or “beaks” students tried to “eat” a certain food item and move it to a bowl, or the “stomach” of the bird. Students had to figure out which beak worked best for each food item. Students then used logic and creativity to design their own beak that would allow them to eat a food of their choosing.

Ask your student:

What beak function might be best for eating seeds? (cracking).

What sort of food might a probing beak be well-suited for? (insects, worms, crustaceans).

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C.S.IMSA @ Sprinfield – Wednesday: Tie Dyes

C.S.IMSA @ Sprinfield – Wednesday: Tie Dyes

The crime scene team began analyzing a promising new lead today by testing oil samples found on the driveway at the crime scene and comparing them with oil samples from suspects’ driveways. Students discovered the uses for the science of chromatography by watching how different colors separate, and using that information to match the crime scene oil with a likely culprit.

Our forensic scientists are developing a clearer picture of the case, and feel close to a breakthrough!

Ask your student:

What is chromatography used for? (separating materials)

What new information did you learn from your evidence analysis today?

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Wednesday: Banana Sutures

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Wednesday: Banana Sutures

Today, our junior medical practitioners performed their first procedure! Students practiced sutures (or “stitches”) the same way that real doctors practice: on banana peels. They primarily investigated the layered nature of the skin, and how it relates to its main function: protection. Some students were surprised to learn that our skin is actually the largest organ in our bodies!

Our fledgling scientists will continue to use their rapidly developing medical skills in the days to come!

 

Ask your student:

What are the names of the three layers of the skin? (epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis)

What layer of the skin is the thickest? (hypodermis – 26 mm)