STEM Blog

Twenty One Elephants

Our students in Mrs. Birman’s third grade class had a blast today when presented with a cross-curricular STEM/reading project. They read a story called “Twenty One Elephants” as a part of a unit on bridges that they are working on in Reading. The story is about Barnum's circus elephants, and how the circus had the elephants cross the Brooklyn Bridge in 1884 to prove that the bridge was safe. Students were tasked with designing a bridge using classroom materials such as cups, popsicle sticks, straws, clay, rubber bands, etc. The design had to be able to hold twenty one "elephants," which they modeled with math counting cubes. The students worked together in teams and all made a successful bridge that could withstand the weight of the cubes. They did an amazing job! #STEMatSLS#3rdgraderocks

Cyber STEM Fun!

Today we kicked off the fall Cyber STEM session today with a collaborative balloon tower challenge where teams of students from a variety of grades worked together to create the tallest free-standing balloon structure in a limited amount of time. It was an opportunity for Cyber STEM students to meet each other, use their communication skills to plan a tower design and execute their plan. The sound of popping balloons was an added bonus!

We concluded the afternoon with an introduction to the Python programming language, beginning with the Python’s turtle drawing feature to create shapes of different colors. #STEMatSLS

“On your mark, get set, flow!”

Our First LEGO League (FLL) coaches kicked off the 2017 season by attending the annual Maryland FLL Kick Off at UMBC this past Saturday. We are particularly proud of Coach Anne Reed, who was invited to lead a session and share her knowledge and expertise with other coaches.

 

SLS is sponsoring three teams this year and we look forward to seeing their work in the area of hydrodynamics, this year’s current challenge. “What might become possible when we understand what happens to our water?”

 

To learn more about FLL, please visit www.firstinspires.org

 

The Early Bird Gets the STEM

Three St. Louis teachers, Ms. Frederick, Mrs. Riggin and Mrs. Whiteford, woke up before the crack of dawn to attend a day of STEM professional development at the United States Naval Academy. The theme for the day was Engineering Design and it included lessons on hydraulics, electrical circuits and fundamental mechanical machines. The program culminated with an engineering challenge to design and build a missile replacement mechanism for the NAVY. To learn more about the USNA STEM program visit: https://www.usna.edu/STEM/index.php

Peat Moss and Air Cannon Vortexes?

Did you know that peat moss reproduces using an air vortex cannon? Teachers at St. Louis School had the opportunity to learn about this and more during today's NPR's Science Friday professional development event. Watch the video about this phenomenon by visiting: https://www.sciencefriday.com/…/the-secretly-speedy-life-o…/

 

 

Learn to Code with Scratch

Scratch is a programming language developed at the MIT Media Lab and funded by several organizations including but not limited to the National Science Foundation (NSF), Microsoft, Intel Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Google, Iomega and MIT Media Lab research consortia. Scratch allows you to crate your own animated games, art and stories.

 

To learn more about Scratch, access the site and create an account visit:

https://scratch.mit.edu/

 

Below you will find a list of resources and tutorials that you may find helpful:

https://scratch.mit.edu/help/

 

Scratch reference cards: https://scratch.mit.edu/info/cards/

Scratch video tutorials: https://scratch.mit.edu/help/videos/

Scratch starter projects: https://scratch.mit.edu/starter_projects/

 

Scratch Lesson Plans:

http://wiki.classroom20.com/Scratch+Lesson+Plans

https://www.scribd.com/document/8028928/Scratch-Lessons

http://scratched.gse.harvard.edu/guide/

http://technologypainting.com/

 

Additional Coding Resources:

 

Code Websites
Hour of Code https://code.org/
 
Code Apps
Scratch Jr.
Hopscotch
Kodable
Daizy the Dinosaur
Move the Turtle
Run Marco
Cargo-Bot
 

Future Surgeons?

Dissection is a right of passage for middle school students at St. Louis School. Today in Science Class, Mrs. Yuska's Seventh Grade students had the opportunity to dissect a frog and learn about amphibian anatomy.

AquaKnights win Third Place!

Congratulation to the SLS AquaKnights, our aquatic engineers, who won third place for their robot execution under water at the Villanova University MATE competition today. This was the AquaKnights first year of competition and they are already looking forward to next year. A huge thank you to Mr. Chuck Kerechanin, Mrs. Angela Fatula and Mrs. Marie Gatti for their dedication and inspirational work with these students. Way to Go AquaKnights! with MATE ROV Competition

Aquaman's Sidekick

If Aquaman is looking for a mechanical sidekick, the St. Louis AquaKnights have the answer! Our underwater engineers have designed a clever remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and will represent St. Louis School at the MATE  (Marine Advanced Technology Education) competition at Villanova University next Saturday, April 15th. A huge Thank You to our superhero coaches Mr. Kerechanin, Mrs. Fatula and Mrs. Ghatti for giving this opportunity to our students. We are proud of the AquaKnights and wish them the best next weekend.  

Check out a video of the robot in action by visiting this link: http://tinyurl.com/jwjo764

 

LED Bugs and Spaghetti Towers?

Learning can take place at any time and some of the best lessons come from hands-on activities.

Middle School students at St. Louis had the opportunity to engage in the 4 C's of STEM after finishing a section of their standardized tests. The students used creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking to design and build free-standing towers using just uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows. After testing the results and determining successful designs, we moved on to building LED bugs from egg cartons, pipe cleaners, coin batteries and light-emitting diode (LED) lights.

The students had no written instructions for this activity, just their native engineering and problem-solving abilities. Take a look at the results. To learn more about the Spaghetti Tower Challenge visit: http://www.tomwujec.com/design-projects/marshmallow-challenge/

 

We Live in a Material World!

Have you ever stopped to think about the physical materials that make our modern world?

Today, students and teachers at St. Louis School had the privilege to learn from Dr. Angela Moran, a Materials Engineer at the U.S. Naval Academy. Dr. Moran shared her passion for engineering through a series of hands-on activities and made connections to many real-life examples drawn from her experiences in the Navy. She stressed the importance of seeing failures in a positive way, as learning experiences and a way to test out improvements. . Dr. Moran also impressed upon the students the importance of following your passions, working hard and doing your best at what you love.

After the presentation and a question-and-answer session, she met with a small group of students interested in the STEM fields where she shared anecdotes and answered questions one-on-one. We would like to thank Dr. Moran and the USA Science & Engineering Festival Nifty Fifty program for this memorable learning opportunity.

 

Cyber STEM Culmination

Today marked the successful conclusion of the Spring 2017 Cyber STEM After School program. Over the last eight weeks, participants had the opportunity to build and program LEGO Robots, Ozobots and MeBos.
Students in the Cyber STEM Senior group tried their hand at soldering, exploring Javascript and programming with Unity, a game engine development platform. We are very proud of their work and look forward to seeing what they accomplish in the future.

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