Integrated Science – Friday: Ecosystem Changes & Student Presentations

Integrated Science

For our last day, students presented on different topics related to the environment. They looked at how ecosystems are changing and being disrupted, as well as potential solutions and ideas to help solve or reduce these problems in the future.  Students presented to one another and a few also presented at the closing parent meeting.

Integrated Science – Thursday: Ecosystems

Integrated Science – Thursday: Ecosystems

On Thursday, students will further examine how water and the environment are tied together in ecosystem interactions.  Students modeled how different organisms in an aquatic ecosystem interact with one another and are impacted by changes in their ecosystem, and then students tested this by designing an experiment using Daphnia magna, or tiny water fleas.

Integrated Science – Wednesday: Carbon Dioxide

Integrated Science – Wednesday: Carbon Dioxide

Today our integrated scientists examined  how carbon dioxide and water intersect in our bodies and in our environment by looking at pH and temperature change as related to water, as well as the sources of carbon dioxide in our local area for Illinois. Students examined the process of photosynthesis using spinach, a syringe to remove initial oxygen, different colored paper, and light. They also created an ecosystem board game that emphasized the critical role water plays in the planet’s hydrologic cycle.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Integrated Science – Tuesday: Water and Organisms

Integrated Science – Tuesday: Water and Organisms

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Today the group looked at water from a more biological standpoint, in terms of how it relates to cells and bodies’ function.  In the morning they did a lab focused on dialysis, something that has real world application in medicine, and in the afternoon they looked at the process of photosynthesis, which is essential to support all life on our planet.

Integrated Science Program

Integrated Science Program

This is an IMSA-created blended (on-line followed by an on-campus portion) program for students entering 9th grade. With continued support of funding from Abbvie this summer, IMSA is able to offer this program to 40 promising students from backgrounds that are under-represented in STEM fields.

Students will first complete a two-week, 40 hour on-line course followed with one week of face-to-face experience at IMSA’s Aurora campus. The course incorporates both a chemical and biological exploration of water, and students will be learning about everything from the very small (like how bonds form between molecules in water) to the very large (like how changes in our global environment impact the water cycle).

The over-arching goals of this course include helping students develop the skills necessary to be successful in science. These include critical reading and thinking, data analysis, and written communication, just to name a few.  The course will also provide students with a taste of the kind of work that we do with students here at IMSA during the regular school year.

We are happy to report that many of the students who successfully completed the pilot program in summer 2015 decided to apply to IMSA, and we’re looking forward to seeing the thirteen who were offered and accepted admission in our classrooms and residence halls beginning this fall!