STEM Blog

Future Mars Rover Engineers

St. Louis School kicked off our spring Cyber STEM After School session with a hands-on engineering exercise. Students were divided into teams and challenged to design a space lander using the engineering design process. The lander design had to keep two marshmallow "aliens" safe inside a cup as it was dropped from various heights. Prior to beginning the challenge, we reviewed the key science concepts of shock-absorption, drag forces, and stability and discussed NASA’s mission of landing a rover on Mars. Students used the four C’s (creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking) to design and implement a variety of clever structures, as you can see in these photographs. Our future NASA engineers came up with some clever designs and had a lot of fun while doing so. We look forward to a successful and enlightening session! #BeaKnight #SLSSTEM

Can you Design a Playground?

Ms. Frederick’s math class was tasked with building a backyard playground this week. They were given budget constraints, along with differing sale prices for materials and calls from the warehouse modifying their orders. The boss even called to move up their deadline! The students did a great job of collaborating under pressure to solve this real-world challenge! #SLSstem #BeaKnight #financialliteracyArchdiocese of Baltimore Catholic Schools

T minus 3, 2, 1...LEGO!

The countdown to this year’s FIRST LEGO League (FLL) competition has begun.

St. Louis School is proud to have four teams competing in this year’s
INTO ORBIT challenge. The teams have been working hard and are now ready
to compete in their upcoming state qualifier this month. Please join us
in supporting the Galactic Knights, the Galaxy Voyagers, the Nebula
Narwhals and the Space Nuggets as they blast into space!

Take a look at this video of their progress: https://youtu.be/Bya8_Sp6D6E


Each year the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) releases a challenge based on a
real-world scientific topic. The challenge consists of three parts: the
Robot Game, the Project, and Core Values.  FLL teams compete by
programming an autonomous robot to complete missions and score points,
developing a solution to a problem they have identified and
demonstrating FIRST Core Values.

The Gingerbread Man

1st grade STEM Challenge!
After reading the holiday classic “The Gingerbread Man”, our 1st graders took on the challenge of building a bridge to help him escape the jaws of the fox. Given 10 straws, 10 Popsicle sticks and as much tape as needed, they worked with their partners to build a structure that would support the weight of a gingerbread man without collapsing. Even very young students can collaborate and use their critical thinking skills and creativity to come up with “real-world” solutions to pressing problems! Great job Mrs. Vicendese and Mrs. Coyle keeping those kiddos focused and engaged! #scienceisfun

Christmas Slime Fun!

Mrs. Yuska's eighth-grade physical science class is beginning to explore states of Matter and the chemical and physical changes that affect Matter. In keeping with the spirit of the holidays, the students were challenged to create their own version of Christmas Slime! #scienceisfun

Christmas Engineering Challenge!

It’s almost Christmas Day and Santa needs a new sleigh. Mrs. Riggin’s Fifth Grade Math Class became elf engineers to save Christmas by working in teams to design a new sleigh, draw blueprints, build prototypes and test their new models. Students were given specific measurement guidelines for the size of the sleigh, required carrying capacity (modeled with a cup of pennies to represent the proportional weight of the presents) and its ability to fit Santa (modeled by Mrs. Riggin’s stuffed elf named Beaker).

The design and build session was filled with collaboration, critical thinking, learning, laughter, and fun as the sleighs were put to the test down a ramp. Kids don’t need to worry, these students have saved Christmas with their new designs!

What is it Like to Live and Work in Space?

The St. Louis School Galaxy Voyagers, one of our four First LEGO League (FLL) teams, had the opportunity to learn all about spaceflight during a private tour of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum last week. Team members had the opportunity to learn all about the design and development of the spacesuit, the impact of rockets and missiles on spaceflight, the construction and operation of the International Space Station (ISS) and, last but not least, how toilets work in zero gravity! The information the team learned on this field trip will be part of their research for this year’s FLL “Into Orbit” challenge. We look forward to cheering them on at the DeMatha Qualifier on January 19th!

Fall Cyber STEM After School Program

The Fall Session of our CyberSTEM After School program came to a close last week with a fun Python Christmas tree turtle drawing program. The students spent the session learning Python basics and completed some Python turtle drawings, programmed a guessing game, and a flash card matching set game.

The students received their certificates and folders with all the sample code projects used during the session and are encouraged to continue using Python at home.

We are looking forward to our CyberSTEM Spring Session, where we will develop additional coding skills and explore robotics using our VEX Robotics kits.

The Hour of Code!

As part of our commitment to STEM education, St. Louis School is proud to be participating in the global Hour of Code event again this year. The Hour of Code is celebrated during Computer Science Education Week (December 3 through 9) and takes place in more than 180 countries across 200,000 events. The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer operations, designed to demystify "code” and to show that anyone can learn the basics. Since then it has grown into a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science.

This past week students in Mrs. Phelps’ and Mrs. Whiteford’s Computer Classes (Grades K through 8) participated in age-appropriate coding activities. Students in Grades K - 4 were introduced to block coding, with an emphasis on sequencing and logical problem-solving. Older students who are more familiar with block coding explored the soon-to-be-released beta version of Scratch 3.0 with new features like text-to-speech and the ability to run on multiple devices. Students in the Cyber STEM after-school program explored different aspects of the Python programming language as an extension of what the have been working on this fall.

The students are encouraged to continue exploring the activities offered on the Hour of Code website (www.hourofcode.com) beyond what we are doing in the classroom. Thank you to Code.org for this remarkable opportunity!

 

Inspiration for Design and Building

We often look to geniuses for ideas and inspiration in our own lives. SLS Eighth Grade students are examining the life and work of Leonardo Da Vinci through a cross-curricular STEAM activity. On Friday, the students began designing and building complex machines in Ms. d’Epagnier’s and Mrs. Yuska's art and science classes using household materials, inspired by prototype machines found in Da Vinci’s famous notebooks. This cross-curricular art and science project challenged the students to design a machine that would lift a mass of 20 to 50 grams 20+ centimeters and include at least 2 simple machines. "Instrumental or mechanical science is the noblest and above all others, the most useful." 

— Leonardo da Vinci

3D Cookie Cutters?

Cookies are a Christmas tradition that is enjoyed by everyone. SLS students had the opportunity to design their own Christmas tree shaped cookie cutters using 3D design software this past week. We will be printing these designs just in time for the holiday cookie season in our brand new Dremel 3D printers. We can’t wait to see the results!

Preparing for Launch

The key to getting better at anything is practice! This morning our First LEGO League (FLL) team, the Nebula Narwhals, had an opportunity to practice their presentation and execution skills at the Fall Workshop and Scrimmage of the Catholic Robotics League (CRL). The CRL mission is to inspire, develop, support, and encourage competitive robotics teams within the Archdiocese of Baltimore school system.

The Narwhals participated in a series of workshops and scrimmages to prepare them for launch “Into Orbit” as part of this year’s FLL theme of space exploration. We were happy to see two Narwhal alumni, now both attending Mount de Sales Academy, serve as scrimmage referees today. In addition, Narwhals coach Anne Reed led one of the coach's workshops this morning.

We would like to thank the CAV-ineers, the Archbishop Spalding High School Robotics team, their head coach Amy Brunner, CRL Commissioner Bianca Giudicci, and Joe Oleszczuk, Archdiocese Director of Educational Technology, for the opportunity to collaborate with teams from other schools. We are now better prepared to launch “Into Orbit”. To learn more about FLL visit: https://www.firstinspires.org/

 

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