STEM Blog

Constructing the Past

Posted October 11, 2019

Have you ever wondered about the history and significance of cultural landmarks around the world? Ms. Fries Fifth Grade Spanish class had the opportunity to explore ancient structures and megaliths in spanish speaking countries across the globe, from the temples of Chichen Itza to the Stone statues of Easter Island. To help them understand how they were constructed, students used LEGOS to build scale models and researched the origins of these landmarks using Chromebooks.

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Future Engineers

Posted October 10, 2019

St. Louis School kicked off our fall Cyber STEM After School session with a hands-on engineering exercise. Students were divided into teams and challenged to design a tower that would hold an apple with the materials provided using the engineering design process. Prior to beginning the challenge, we reviewed the constraints and guidelines for their design. 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 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

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A "Carnival" like no other!

Posted August 15, 2019

SLS Biomedical STEM Camp was all about discovery, learning, AND fun! During the week, the campers enjoyed two rounds of Biomedical Jeopardy to demonstrate what they learned during the camp and to engage in healthy competition against other teams. Who was John Snow? What is the epidemiologic triangle? These were just a few of the winning questions during SLS Biomedical Jeopardy competition!

On Friday, the campers had more fun and competed for Giant Microbe prizes at the 1st Annual Infectious Disease Carnival! They learned about the opportunities for and obstacles to vaccination for measles (easy), influenza (medium to difficult), and MRSA (extremely difficult, as no vaccine currently exists). They also putted for a viral pandemic, where they tried to overcome the “hazards” of sanitation, hygiene, and vaccination in order to hit a pandemic target. Lastly, they simulated the jumping of viruses from animals to humans. All in all, it was a great way to incorporate learning in a carnival atmosphere!

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Physicians on the Frontline

Posted August 15, 2019

We wrapped up the inaugural year of our BIomedical STEM Camp last week and have lots to share.

Aside from some great interactive experiments and challenges, the Biomedical Campers were visited by two guest speakers who gave them unique perspectives on the roles of physicians in maintaining the health of patients and populations. On Thursday, CDR Matt Bradley, a trauma/critical care surgeon in the US Navy and a St. Louis School parent, kicked off the day with an informative description of his work in the operating room of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, as well as on some very special humanitarian missions of the US military to South America and Puerto Rico. Two lucky students got a feel for what it's like for a surgeon to get dressed for work every day!

On Friday, the students were visited by CAPT Paul Reed, a former US Navy physician and current US Public Health Service Officer, who shared his experiences and perspectives on a deployment to West Africa in 2014-2015 to help contain the Ebola outbreak.

We are deeply grateful for our guests this week who provided the campers with many insights to the opportunities for careers in science and medicine.

 

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A Challenge Gone Viral!

Posted July 25, 2019

Today our Biomedical Campers participated in a Build-A-Virus Workshop and an exciting Vaccine vs. Virus Showdown! The students learned how vaccines are created in response to viruses and why it is so difficult to get them exactly right. In this challenge they created both disease and virus molecules that contained both the H and N proteins using Skittles, M&M’s and Gobstoppers to illustrate the various elements (apologies to all of our dental Sponsors!). In the end, Team Virus won-out, but these scientists and doctors-to-be are well-equipped to solve any viral challenge thrown their way.

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Tools for Testing

Posted July 24, 2019

The study and practice of STEM encourages the testing of hypotheses through experimentation. But where do you find the proper materials for testing?

In the case of human cellular activity, doctors and scientists can use “HeLa” cells, named after Henrietta Lacks. Mrs. Lacks came to Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s for cancer treatment and her cells showed a remarkable “immortal” capability to live on while similar cells from other patients quickly died. These cells have been used to develop the polio vaccine, test the effects of poisons, study how viruses work and learn more about the human genome.

St. Louis School camp attendees learned about HeLa cells and how their legacy has improved the lives of medical patients from Dr. James Potter, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University. The campers then had a hands-on opportunity to learn how to stain cells and look at them under a microscope.

The St. Louis community would like to thank Dr. Potter for sharing his time and expertise with our students. We would also like to thank Dr. Millar, Dr. Zachos and Mrs. Lewis for their continued gift of time, talent and inspiration to benefit our kids. #STEMatSLS

 

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BioMedical STEM Camp

Posted July 24, 2019

Last week the World Health Organization declared the current Ebola
outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo a public health emergency. More than 1,600 people have died since August in the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.

What is Ebola? How does it spread? What about vaccines? Are they all effective?

As part of our continuing commitment to STEM education, St Louis School is running a Biomedical STEM Camp this week for students in grades 5 through 8. Attendees are participating in presentations, challenges and hands-on activities to learn how to identify, treat and prevent infectious diseases. Called “From Lab Bench to Bedside…and Beyond,” the five-day camp is led by parent professionals in the biomedical field.

A huge thank you to our camp sponsors Dr. Mary Anne Baysac, Benavent Dental, McCarl Dental, Chesapeake Pediatric Dental, Calvert Hall Colle High School and Kaiser Permanente, we truly appreciate your support.

 

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Surgery in Progress!

Posted June 18, 2019

Mrs. Johnson’s 2nd-grade class spent the afternoon in the Operating room doing a little “contraction surgery”. After donning their surgical masks, gowns and gloves, the students cut out the letters not needed and sutured in the correct punctuation, applying bandages along the way. Such a great activity for all of our little Doogie Howsers! Great job Mrs. (Dr.) Johnson!

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Creative Innovation and Problem Solving

Posted June 18, 2019

As part of our continued commitment to STEM education, we held a school-wide activity last week to engage our students in critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication. This school-wide event was focused on creative innovation and problem solving. Challenge activities included Ozobot challenges, spaghetti marshmallow towers, marble mazes, paper chain races, pentominoes, bottle rockets, HotWheels cars and tracks, archery challenges, plastic sorting, Three Little Pig house construction and more. Each teacher was encouraged to complete the process by providing feedback about their activity and how their students responded. You can get a sense of how the day progressed in the photographs below. Students and faculty had a fun-filled, inquiry-based educational experience and we look forward to many more. #STEMatSLS #BeaKnight #RiseAbove

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Ready to Launch!

Posted June 18, 2019

Last week St Louis School held a STEM Challenge Morning, where each classroom took part in a hands-on exercise to encourage critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication.

Mrs. Yuska’s homeroom was challenged to design a launch pad that would be effective for the launch of chemically-powered rockets made from empty two-liter soda bottles.

Teams of Seventh Grade rocket engineers used the school’s field as a launch area and tested various designs to experimentally determine the best one. Mrs. Yuska and Mrs. Whiteford culminated the event with the launch of an unmodified “control” rocket that actually achieved the highest altitude.

The bottle rockets were powered by combining baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3) and vinegar (acetic acid, CH3COOH), forming an energetic acid/base reaction. This results in carbonic acid, which quickly breaks down into water and carbon dioxide (CO2), along with sodium acetate. The buildup of CO2 creates pressure inside the bottle and eventually pushes the cork out of the bottle top.

Students learned the practical application of Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. After the cork is ejected, the CO2 accelerates out of the bottom of the rocket, pushing the rocket upwards with great speed! #BeaKnight#STEMatSLS Archdiocese of Baltimore Catholic Schools

 





Whoo...was for dinner?

Posted June 18, 2019

Mrs. Riggin’s Fifth Grade ecologists have been busy learning about ecosystems, food webs and food chains. Today in Science Lab they investigated what owls eat by dissecting owl pellets. They learned that owls swallow their prey whole, absorbing the nutrients but not the inedible components including bones, feathers, fur, etc. Owl stomachs produce these pellets of indigestible parts, which are then regurgitated. Students dissected the pellets and matched the bones to a chart of various small animal bones. Some students even found entire skulls in their pellets!

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Printing from the Heart

Posted June 18, 2019

3D printing continues to positively impact the world, helping to create affordable prosthetics and advanced designs in manufacturing, promoting coral reef growth, preserving archeological artifacts and much more. As part of our continuing STEM curriculum, Mrs. Phelp’s First Grade Computer Class was challenged to design and 3D print a Mother’s Day charm. The students were introduced to 3D printing technology and had the opportunity to examine a real-life example of a replacement part printed for a camera tripod. Mrs. Phelps discussed the use of 3D printing by the Arkansas Archeological Survey, which is part of the University of Arkansas system. The students had the opportunity to touch and hold one of the 3D printed artifacts from a file sent to us from the Arkansas Archeological Survey. We would like to thank the @ArkansasArcheologicalSurvey for sharing their work with our students to inspire their curiosity and learning. To learn more about the Arkansas Archeological Survey, visit https://archeology.uark.edu/3d/ The students designed their charms with pencil and paper then proceeded to recreate their designs on the computer using a software program called Pixie. The resulting files were processed through Dremel 3D slicer software, printed and proudly worn by the students to demonstrate their gift to their moms.

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