STEMvironment 7/20: Pond Water!
Today, in STEMvironment, the students analyzed samples of water from a local pond to look for insect nymphs which can be seen with the naked eye. Students learned the importance of a healthy ecosystem and that in aquatic ecosystems, the more diverse the organisms in a body of water, the more vibrant and healthy it is. Using this knowledge, students could analyze the health of the ecosystem from which the water sample was gathered.
Ask your student: What is a macroinvertebrate? (A small animal without a backbone that can be seen without a stereoscope or microscope)
MicroSTEM 7-20: Magnifying Microscopes
Today, the investigation of different kinds of magnifying devices continued. Students got the chance to go outside and collect various samples of their choice. After collection, the samples were brought inside to be analyzed with a compound light microscope. Students also reviewed the various parts of a compound microscope, and the importance of each part in the function of the microscope as a whole.
Ask your student: What similarities and differences did you notice when you were using the different tools for magnification (MicroPhone lens, hand lens, compound light microscope, and stereoscope)?
Integrated Science – Thursday, 7-20
In the morning, the students learned about water-based ecosystems. They focused specifically on the effect that keystone microorganisms have on the ecosystem and the health of the keystone microorganism Daphnia, which can reflect the health of the whole ecosystem. They designed experiments to observe the heart rate of Daphnia in various pollutants, compared to water. Then, in the afternoon, they performed their experiment. The students also had ample time to complete their project work. They finished up their posters in the morning and practiced in the afternoon. They will be presenting their work tomorrow for parents and family!
MicroSTEM 7-19: Ionic Compounds
Today, in MicroSTEM, the students built upon their knowledge of atoms and ions as they used their own bodies to represent atoms and ions that bond to form ionic compounds. The students played a game where they were challenged to find a partner “match” to create an ionic compound with a net charge of zero. Also, today in MicroSTEM, the students built simple ionic compounds and then created crystalline structures with the whole class.
Ask your students: To create a neutral ionic compound with a Sodium ion (+1 charge), what charge would the other ion have to be? (-1 charge)
Integrated Science – Wednesday, 7-19
In the morning, students performed a Red Cross dialysis simulation lab using osmosis principles. They tested 12 mystery solutions to see which would be the best cleaning solution and the best dialysate solution. After they got their results, they made posters to compare with others. Visitors from Northern Illinois University who are doing research on exemplary STEM enrichment programs filmed the lab and interviewed teachers and students about their experience at IMSA this week. After lunch and free time, the students learned about photosynthesis and created their own experiments to demonstrate their knowledge. They were allowed to test several variables and their goal was to induce photosynthesis in a piece of spinach.
STEMvironment 7/19: Solar Power!
In class today, students learned how to apply the principles of solar energy, and how to run good tests of their solar device. Students created a solar oven that harnessed the power of the sun’s light to heat and cook marshmallows! By collecting data of their ovens’ temperature and then graphing it, students were able to compare their ovens, and discover some of the principles behind solar heating.
Ask your student: What happened to the temperature inside the oven? (It increased) What part of the oven kept the heat in? (The black paper) What part reflected the heat inside of the oven? (The foil, which acted as a mirror)
STEMvironment 7-18: Eco House
Continuing with our theme to create energy efficient homes, the students commenced the building phase of their project, taking into account what they had planned the day before and implementing it. They created real estates, adding windows and functioning doors to their homes. Later, the students were faced with the challenge, “What materials will most efficiently insulate your home?” Brainstorming, they used their knowledge of insulators and conductors to create a hypothesis and experiment to test for the following day.
Ask you student: What is the difference between an insulator and conductor? (Conductors allow energy/heat to pass through them while insulators do not) What materials do you predict will best insolate your home? (Opinion, answers will vary)
Fun Fact: “Well-planned landscaping isn’t just for aesthetics — properly placed trees around the house can save between $100 and $250 annually”
MicroSTEM 7-18: Thermodynamics Part 2
Students continued their exploration in thermodynamics today with another heating experiment. Yesterday, students started with a beaker of ice, which they heated until the water boiled. They created a time versus temperature graph of their collected data in order to observe how phase changes affect temperature. Today, students performed the same experiment with a twist: they added salt to the water. They created another graph, and compared how the salt affected the time vs. temperature curve.
Ask your student: How did adding salt change the way your graph looked? (boiling point increased, reduced the time it took to melt) What do the plateaus on the graph represent? (phase changes)
Integrated Science 7-18
This morning, the students created graphs and examined trends on two data sets. For the first data set, they recorded their reach and their reach when they jumped. Then, the students recorded what temperature and at what time ice turned to water and then to steam when heated up. Afterwards, they observed the effect of adding salt to the water. The students created a class data set and made their own graphs to reach a conclusion for each activity. After lunch, the students had a tour of IN2, IMSA’s innovation center. In the afternoon, they applied their knowledge about how salt changes the temperature of ice and made ice cream! They also continued to work with their groups on their ecosystem projects.
STEMvironment 7/17: “Renew-a-Bean”
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” This week our environmental scientists are exploring the concepts of renewable and nonrenewable energy with help from Dr. Suess’ The Lorax. Today students discovered how quickly nonrenewable energy is used up by playing “Renew-A-Bean.”
Ask your student: What is an example of a renewable resource? What is an example of nonrenewable resource? (Renewabe resource: hydropower, solar power, wind power; Nonrenewable resource: coal, minerals, fossil fuels)