The sweet days of summer are fleeting and we hope you have packed them with fun times with your family and friends. Summertime allows us to pursue our passions that we may not otherwise have the time for during the school year, and that is no exception for our teachers, as well. Mrs. Zulma Whiteford, one of our Technology teachers, took a week this summer to share her gifts with a group of middle school girls at the CyberSTEM Camp at the University of Maryland. One of the great things she was able to share is the game that our very own students created using SCRATCH in our afterschool CyberSTEM club. "One of my proudest moments during the week was to watch a St. Louis School student share her critical thinking, problem solving and coding skills with the rest of the students at the camp. I am so proud of her and the SLS X-STEM students who originally designed the game." said Mrs. Whiteford.
Way to go Mrs. Whiteford! Way to go kids...can't wait to see what you come up with this year!
St. Louis School strives to provide opportunities for students to find their passion. This past school year seven students in seventh grade found a common bond in game design and programming. Originally organized by Andrew, this group collectively desired on a goal, identified tasks, assigned individuals to perform those tasks and devoted free time during lunch to create an engage in a demonstration of programming skill. The team chose the scratch programming language, created at Massachusetts Institute if Technology to bring their ideas to life. Mark was the lead programmer who helped turned raw ideas into a reality on the computer screen. The concept of he game, Lone Survivor is to help guide a castaway through a series of challenges. The ending to the game remains unwritten; the team is seeking input from beta testers on satisfying ways to complete the game.
You can play the game by visiting http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/16803751/
And please fill out the Google Form below if you have a constructive idea on what should happen once the Lone survivor enters the cave. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1XQgKFtbuScGqSlJALcT5GXNT8rlKTtGGivYIsuaAaho/viewform?usp=send_form
On Thursday our Second Grade took part in a virtual field trip to Pearl Valley Egg Farm! Students watched and listened as the farm owners, Dave and Ben Thompson, gave a live tour of the farm. Cameras installed in various locations showed all of the different parts of the farm, everything from the feed to the chicks to the hens and even to the Coop Poop that is fertilizer made from the hen's waste - all aspects of the operation were shown and explained. Students also learned about many of the different jobs that are needed to keep a self-sustaining farm working. The tour was especially meaningful because Dave Thompson was a first grade teacher who became interested in egg farming after years of hatching chicks in his classroom. You can learn more about the owners at: http://www.pearlvalleyeggs.com/meet-the-thompsons.php The link below is a follow-up to the tour, a farm-to-table journey brought to you by The Education Station at Discovery Education. Enjoy! http://educationstation.discoveryeducation.com/wdgt/index.cfm
Teaching code to elementary and middle school students can be a key component in sparking curiosity and problem-solving skills, potentially leading to career choices in science and engineering that will help address the challenges facing our planet. After sixteen weeks of work across two academic sessions, the students in our after school program demonstrated their robot coding accomplishments by completing a number of increasingly difficult challenges. Visit our booth #1249 at the USA Science and Engineering Festival on Saturday, April 26th and Sunday, April 27th. It is difficult to convey the excitement and enthusiasm of the students, so we thought we would do it through a video compilation of clips. Enjoy and please feel free to "Share" on your wall for others to enjoy as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TtTsCwn4Fk&feature=youtu.be
This week Discovery Education visited our 6th grade science class to do a live broadcast! The educators used the Discovery Tech book to explore the planets and other objects in our solar system, live-streaming the event over the internet to hundreds of classrooms around the globe. The archived broadcast will be available soon and we will be sure to share the link. It was a wonderful experience for our students, not only from the science perspective, but also to see all of the behind-the-scenes preparations for a live broadcast. We are grateful to Discovery for choosing us for this exciting opportunity. Take a look at our article in the Catholic Review! http://www.catholicreview.org/article/life/catholic-education/clarksville-school-host-to-national-live-streaming-lesson
First grade engineers got creative with the Lego Wedo kits this spring. In Mrs. Coyle's science classes, our first grade students were put into groups and each group got to choose to build one of three animals. After successfully showing their engineering skills by building their animals, each group got to try their hand at programming the movements of their animals. They showed their technology competence by getting their animals to move. The students enjoyed this STEM activity. They were able to start a project, make decisions as a group, work together, and successfully see their project finished.
Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney is offering a Middle School Robotics Camp for students currently in fifth through eighth grade. The camp runs the week of June 24th through June 28th. To learn more about the camp and to register, visit www.olgchs.org/summer2
St. Louis School has been certified as an X-STEM School by the USA Science and Engineering Festival!
To learn more about the program visit: http://www.usasciencefestival.org/schoolprograms/x-stem-extreme-stem-symposium/x-stem-schools/965-st-louis-school-knights-.html
The third grade class studied a Science unit on Rocks and Minerals. To wrap up the unit, each third grader was assigned a mineral to research during computer class. The children took their researched information to create and design a mineral trading card. The colorful cards consisted of a picture, the properties, and facts relating to their mineral. When the cards were finished sets were distributed to the class. When the children received their pack of trading cards you would have thought it was Christmas morning. The children were so excited not only to see their trading card, but their friends’ beautiful cards too.
The 3rd grade class read the book The Littles, by John Peterson in reading class. After reading the book the children were challenged to create an escape vehicle for the Littles. The children worked in groups and came up with a plan of what they wanted to use for their vehicle. Then they worked on designing a blue print for their vehicle. They used all kinds of items like boxes, Legos, toilet paper rolls, caps, Duck tape, etc. The vehicles not only had wheels to move, but some were meant to fly. One vehicle had Zhu-Zhu Pets as its wheels.
Next, the children were to create Littles puppets. The children were given white paper and they had to draw what they thought each Little looked like. They had to predict the size of the Little and use their math skills to measure the puppet to the exact inch, ¼ inch, ½ inch or ¾ inch. They turned out to look like little human/mice with long tails.
The appropriate and ethical use of technology is a foundational component of instruction at St. Louis. Our efforts were recognized today during the Maryland technology-focused Common Ground Conference when St. Louis, along with one other school in the state, was invited to share our award-winning program of community cyber awareness issues and how we provide effective and sustainable Cyber Safety, Cyber Ethics and Cyber Security education in the curricula, incorporating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), civic skills and cyber career pathways.
To learn more about the Common Ground Conference visit
After sixteen weeks of work across two academic sessions, on Wednesday, April 10th St. Louis CyberSTEM students demonstrated their accomplishments to Mrs. Weiss, Mrs. Ewachiw, moderators and parents.
During our first session the kids used a software program called Microworlds to animate virtual characters while learning about movement, direction, coordinates and how to break down a goal into individual components. The students concluded the session by creating their own games.
During the second session the kids applied the concepts from the first session to program LEGO robots, working diligently to assemble the hardware and learning to make the robots move, make sounds, and interact with the real world.
As part of the demonstration, the students were presented with medals and certificates of completion by Dr. Davina Pruitt-Mentle, Executive Director of ETPro (Educational Technology Policy, Research and Outreach), one of the CyberSTEM program sponsors.
We would like to thank the CyberSTEM moderators for their hard work and dedication in making the program such a positive and enjoyable learning experience for our students. We received overwhelming positive feedback from students and parents and look forward to more rewarding CyberSTEM sessions next year.
Three St Louis School Seventh Graders came home winners from the Academic Olympics hosted by Calvert Hall. Kael, Ethan and Matthew competed in four different events against more than 30 other teams on Saturday, March 23rd. Each event tested general knowledge, technology, teamwork, writing ability and critical thinking skills. The SLS team placed third and was awarded a bronze medal. Congratulations on a job well done!
Seventh Grade is beginning their cross-curricular reading of The Diary of Anne Frank. In Language Arts, they are reading the novel in peer reading groups, enjoying their encounters with British phrases like “W.C.”, and laughing at Anne’s vivid descriptions of her companions in hiding. They learned some of the background of the Holocaust, as well as watching the original black-and-white movie. In Computer class, the students used Google Earth to locate the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam. Then they took an online tour of the Secret Annex where the Frank family hid, and they used Sketch-up to make a computer model of the Annex. After that, the students, writing from the perspective of an object in the Annex, analyzed why the object was historically significant, and what the object revealed about the life of the Frank family. In Language Arts, the students sharpened their peer editing skills and polished their classmates’ writing from Computer Class. All of this hard work will be followed next year in Language Arts with the reading of Pulitzer Prize winner Elie Wiesel’s novel Night and a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.
Google Sketch Up design by Ginika Nwaba
Oceans are a key part of the global economy. Billions of dollars worth of merchandise travels on large container ships from ports around the world. These ships are typically staffed by highly trained sailors called Merchant Marines.
David McGowan graduated from St Louis School in 2007 and is now in his second year at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Long Island, New York. The four-year training program includes three trimesters of “hands on” at-sea training. David was assigned to train on container ship APL Singapore from November through March, sailing from California to Japan and stopping at many ports. He worked under the ship’s Captain and First Mate.
St Louis School Second Grade students used the website www.marinetraffic.com to track the location of the Singapore, learning map skills, the geography of the Pacific Basin, commercial shipping ports of call, and the Global Positioning System (GPS).
SLS student Ethan A. had the idea to build a model of the Singapore using Legos. Students accessed the ship’s webpage at www.apl.com/singapore to discover basic facts and statistics about the vessel. Each student worked on the ship, building the hull to the proper scale and adding the “house” which includes the living space, engine rooms and bridge. Containers were added to the model to show how cargo is transported.
Upon his return, David McGowan visited St Louis School and shared with the class his photographs, videos and experiences of life aboard the Singapore.
Often our perception of the world depends on our point of view. St Louis School Second Graders learned this concept through a series of lessons.
First, they read the story The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse retold by author Judy Nayer and then listened to a “Read Aloud” version of the story by Jan Brett. Using a visual tool called a Venn Diagram, students compared the two versions of the story to identify key elements and whether they are common to both or appear in only one version or the other. Students then discussed the different elements of the story and why the same story, when retold, can be a little different each time.
After developing an understanding of story elements, each student made a puppet of either the Town Mouse or Country Mouse in Art Class. The students then worked in groups of 3 to 5 to express or retell the story in many different ways. One group made postcards using the Postpad Lite app and performed a Reader's Theatre. Two groups illustrated the story and retold it in their own words using the video capability of an iPad. Two groups of students wrote and put on puppet shows retelling the story. Finally, two groups wrote a version retelling the story from the cat's point of view. They also performed their version in a puppet show.
It’s Conga Line Time!
Our Middle School Cyber STEM students applied their engineering skills to program their robots to dance.
To view our first dance video click on the link below:
Mrs. McGowan’s second grade students joined students from all around the country on a virtual field trip to an egg farm courtesy of Discovery Education. As part of this virtual event, participants had the opportunity to submit questions in advance. We were thrilled when one of our student’s question was chosen to be read live. To see the presentation click here and go to 7:02 to hear our question:
Watch Farm-To-Table Virtual Field Trip on @livestream: http://new.livestream.com/DEN/events/1865432/videos/13709668
To learn more about the Good Egg Project visit: http://educationstation.discoveryeducation.com/
Discovery Education's digital content allows students to experience foreign countries and different cultures. Today in Spanish class, second grade students learned about arts and crafts in Mexico and watched a Discovery Education video clip demonstrating the work of Mexican artisans. The students concluded the lesson by weaving their own colorful paper Mexican rugs. ¡Qué vivan los artesanos!
How can rain shape the land? Does the shape of a bird’s beak affect what he eats? How are different living things affected by sound? These are some of the questions that were answered by our St. Louis scientists during this year’s Science Fair. Students in Fourth, Sixth and Eight Grade followed the Scientific Method to ask a question, conduct research, develop a hypothesis, test it, analyze and report the results under the guidance of Ms. Fries, Mrs. Rose and Mrs. Markert. Congratulations to everyone on a job well done. These scientists have bright futures ahead!
Have you ever considered how we incorporate STEM into our PE classes? Well, last week, our awesome PE teacher took a stab at it by groaning a STEM activity called "Building and Running Bobsleds". The classes were divided into groups, and each group was given 1 large mat and 4 scooters to design a "bobsled" that would support 2 riders. The groups had to determine the distribution of weight of their riders, as well as the strength of the bobsled pushers to make the "sleds" more efficient and faster. As you can imagine -- it was a fun activity and proved to the students that science can be FUN!
Sixth Grade students in Mrs. Whiteford’s computer class began using a software program called Google Sketchup that allows them to draw and manipulate virtual structures. Students learned to use the interactive tool to design a house and expect to extend those skills to other projects.
Join us on this after-school encore presentation sure to capture your imagination and bring learning into your home. Grab a warm cup of hot chocolate and gather your family around your computer to tune into this live web broadcast of the evening sky. With exclusive access and control of the Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT), Director Jeffrey Hall and DCT Commissioning Scientist Stephen Levine will be navigating the telescope to the top-voted areas from the daytime broadcast. Images will be surreal. Pajamas are optional.
Click here to register and learn more.
For those fans of the classic animated characters Gumby and Pokey, students in Ms. d’Epagnier’d Sixth Grade Art class are following in the footsteps of their creator Art Clokey. The students have been working diligently to create sets and poseable figures and are using a technique called stop motion clay animation to create an animated story. Once photography is completed they will use JellyCam software in Computer class to create a final version of their story. Please be sure to check back to view the results!
The St. Louis School CyberSTEM team conitnue to make progress with their robots as they take the first step towards a golfing robot. St. Louis students in the afterschool CyberSTEM activity have been diligently programming their robots to operate in the real world.
Our Spring CyberSTEM Robotics session is underway. Students (Grades 4 through 8) are building their robots and looking forward to begin programming them. Check back to see our progress
Using the simple materials of a battery, foil and a small light bulb, our 5th grade students tried their hand at building an electrical circuit. After several attempts and variations on their configurations, all the teams were able to illuminate the bulb -- conducting electricity through the foil and into the filament. Very exciting! 5th grade science is fun!
Kindergarten students participated in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) workshop on Thursday, January 31st. They began by reading and viewing the online story A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon. Afterward they divided into groups and rotated through five different workshop centers, reinforcing classroom skills in Art, Science, Engineering, Math and Writing. Each center included a challenge, including creating and coloring a new Camilla, writing a description of what happened to her, decorating the student-created “greenhouse”, completing a paper describing the plant life cycle, and creating and using a graph.
To view the online story visit: http://www.storylineonline.net/stripes/story.swf
On Tuesday Jan. 29th students took part in a unique opportunity to experience educational – and highly entertaining – demonstrations of STEM subjects during our first annual STEM Family Fun Night. Over 100 students and their families packed the gym for hands-on science aimed at sparking their interest in the STEM subjects. Featured guest Eric Energy introduced the group to frozen carbon dioxide, the power of static electricity, and had parents and students on their feet experimenting with electronic voice alteration software. Mr. Scott Suko, St. Louis parent and world renowned domino toppler shared the Engineering and Math techniques behind the age-old sport while amazing us with a room-wide demonstration. Marbles the Brain Store challenged student’s thinking skills by introducing brain bending puzzles that called on student’s top-notch problem solving skills. St Louis administrator Michelle Kemp hosted a Rube Goldberg themed video session with Lego building activities for K-1st grade students in the Library.
Today, the St. Louis CyberSTEM teachers participated in a full day of training to learn how to design, build and program their robots as they gear up for the second half of the afterschool program.
Our St. Louis School Sixth Grade Scratch developers continue to improve their design and programming skills by incorporating concepts from physics and mathematics, making their projects more dynamic and engaging. These students are in the process of enhancing their custom video games to make them more exciting and realistic. Please check out the students’ work and feel free to play the games.
Mrs. Coyle’s First Grade engineers spent time learning how build robotic LEGO models using the school’s LEGO® Education WeDo Robotics Construction Sets. They worked to program their designs using the WeDo Robotics Software and the use of working motors and sensors. So far they have not figured out how to get the robots to do their homework but they may program them to bring cookies from the kitchen!
As part of our Catholic Schools Week celebration, parents and students are invited to attend the first St. Louis School Family STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Night. Come visit us in the Gym on Tuesday, January 29th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, participate in several demonstrations and learn more about the STEM program now underway. The event is open to all school families and will consist of a one-hour presentation by Eric Energy followed by rotating breakout sessions from Marbles the Brain Store and Domino-toppling demonstrations by SLS parent Mr. Scott Suko. We encourage you to attend and look forward to seeing you there. For more information visit our STEM blog at stem.stlouisparish.org.
Today in Health class, our Fifth Graders used Math and Science to reveal secrets about two popular soft drinks. Using a float tank and an understanding of density, we determined that a can of Diet Coke was more buoyant than a can of regular Coke. We hypothesized that the high fructose syrup content in regular Coke is either more dense or is present in higher quantity than the corresponding artificial sweetener in Diet Coke. We recognized that neither soda is desirable to drink; we prefer water.
After reading a story called The Gingerbread Boy, SLS First Graders were challenged by Mrs. Aumiller to come up with a solution that would allow a gingerbread boy to play in the water without dissolving. They have reviewed the engineering design process, received their partner assignments, and have $10 dough dollars to purchase materials from the school store. Stay tuned to see what they come up with!
Tape, wax paper, rubber bands? Stay tuned to find out what Mrs. Aumiller’s First Grade engineers are up to now!
A core component of STEM education is allowing the students to exercise creativity while problem solving. Fourth Grade students at St. Louis School are using Scratch, a visual programming language designed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to explore the relationship between logical thinking, problem solving and creativity. In the most recent exercise, students are designing and animating a clown fish using the tools built into Scratch. To learn more about Scratch visit: http://scratch.mit.edu/
St. Louis School offers a "Design and Build" club for students in First through Fourth Grade. The students work independently or in groups to express their engineering creativity and natural desire to build. A variety of Lego kits provide an opportunity for our future engineers toengage in critical thinking, collaboration, team work, and problem-solving as they assemble their designs.
Our 8th grade Math Team placed first out of 14 local schools in the Annual Good Counsel High School Mathematics Competition! Our team members competed against 84 other students, and three of our students finished in the top 10! Congratulations to all of our team members and a special thanks and congratulations to Mrs. Eileen Markert for doing such a great job of preparing our students and leading the way.
The fall session of our Cyber STEM program culminated with a presentation of the student’s work to parents and to Dr. Davina Pruitt-Mentle, a leading academic in STEM education from the University of Maryland. Each student was presented with a certificate recognizing his or her completion of the semester. We look forward to the Spring Cyber STEM session. In the meantime, keep programming with Scratch! A special thank you to our Faculty Cyber STEM Gurus: Ms. Fries, Mrs. Markert, Mrs. McGowan, Mrs. Rose, Mrs. Vicendese and Mrs. Whiteford for making the program a success.
Grade 2A started a new reading unit in the Middle of November. It is called Zoom In. They “zoomed in” on pond life over 3 different class periods. First they made a KWL chart on Mimio of what they knew about ponds and what they might like to find out. Next, Mrs. Goudreau read a Big Book Around the Pond: Who’s Been Here? by Lindsay Barret George. The class finished the KWL chart to include what they had learned about pond life. Finally, the class then made a chart of all the animals that would be found in a pond.
The next day, the class watched another pond story on Discovery Streaming called In the Small, Small, Pond. We added a few more pond animals to our list. The class then divided up into groups of two with randomly assigned partners. Each partner group chose an animal from the list. Mrs. Goudreau had made a mural out of white chart paper, and had put a blue pond and a blue sky on it. Each group make their own animals out of construction paper. They then wrote a sentence about the animal. Mrs. Smith assisted students at the student computers to look at pictures of their animals. Mrs. Goudreau had a web site on the Mimio board and lots of books from the school library. She assisted students in obtaining information about their animal. They then pasted their animals on the mural.
One group read a scholastic Mini- Printable book Who lives in the Pond? They cut out different animals from that book, colored them and pasted them to the mural.
On the final day, the class made a list of all the trees, plants and other animal life that should be included in the mural. In small groups, during Reading time, each student made one more thing to complete the mural. We had fun learning about pond life. It was truly a group effort!
Students in Mrs. Aumiller's class participated in a transdisciplinary unit of study where they incorporated a wide variety of content areas and stressed the relevance of one subject to the next. They used Language Arts (fairy tales) to learn about engineering basics. The unit placed emphasis on some of the basic elements of the engineering method:brainstorming, planning, creating, modifying and team problem solving.
In this unit, the students designed and tested a model house for the Fourth Little Piggie, cousin to the three little piggies of The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf.
To view the television footage of the event, click on the link below:
n Art class, Fifth Graders continued to work on their weaving project, which began by looking at traditional examples from the Zapotec tribe of Mexico. Using the ...
students created a symmetrical design for their own weavings. They drew their designs on graph paper to ensure that the patterns were symmetrical. Just like a math test or a science experiment, the weaving process requires a lot of concentration and creative problem solving.
As they work, the Fifth Graders use critical thinking skills to identify problems and come up with solutions. We look forward to seeing the finished products!
St. Louis School CyberSTEM (Grades 5-8) students attended Space Academy, an educational partnership between Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (APL) and Discovery Education. We spent the day learning about the Radiation Belt Storm Probe (RBSP) and the Van Allen radiation belts that surround our planet. Our day began with a press conference held by several of the aerospace engineers and scientists who worked on the RBSP project. Students had an opportunity to listen to a panel presentation and ask questions about the project, outer space, and careers in science. We enjoyed a pizza lunch sponsored by Discovery Education and had the opportunity to continue our conversations with the presenters at our lunch tables. After lunch, we all dressed in our clean room suits and had the opportunity to tour the test facility for RBSP. We learned about the spacecraft assembly process, subassembly checkout and testing, and what it takes to put a spacecraft into orbit. We closed the day by thanking the presenters and were excited to discover we could take home our clean room suits! We are grateful to APL and Discovery Education for making possible such an interesting and educational day for our students