STEM Blog

Seventh Grade Engineers

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

 

Have fun!

Digital Storytelling

Everyone loves a good story. Second graders learned how to be good storytellers by selecting a story, illustrating it and narrating it using the Pixntell EDU App. Their audience were wide eyed first graders who enjoyed the digital storytelling time.

Frog dissections

Seventh Graders finished out the year learning about aquatic anatomy.

Volcanoes in the Classroom?

Sixth graders learned about volcanoes, magma, the mechanism of eruptions how lava flows to form new land. They worked I teams to research volcanoes around the world created a model and simulated eruption using common household products. Each research group presented their findings to the class and discussed the dangers of living near active volcanoes.

Sixth Grade Students Under Pressure

St. Louis School students participated in an experiment designed by the Mount Saint Joseph High School Physics Department to demonstrate the scientific principles of the Thermodynamic Gas Law. Students used Alka Seltzer tablets as a gas generator for small rockets and observed behavior at various temperatures. For a few moments this afternoon there were gas rockets flying all over the St. Louis Science Lab! We would like to thank Mount Saint Joseph High School for providing a wonderful educational and enjoyable experience for our students.

St. Louis at the USA Science and Engineering Festival

So proud of our students as they explained and demonstrated projects that they had worked on for many months. The festival provided a venue for them to meet their peers and many adults who showed an interest in their work. A big thank you to the parents who volunteered to staff the booth and to the parents who brought their children to the festival to see and experience the many opportunities the festival provides. We will be back again tomorrow from 9:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center Hall "A" Booth #1249. Hope to see you there!

Second Grade Visits a Sustainable Egg Farm

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

Robotics at St. Louis School

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

X-STEM Symposium

Our X-STEM student ambassadors spent the day listening and learning from experts and professionals in the fields of science, engineering and mathematics today. St. Louis students are now preparing to serve as hosts at our booth this weekend where they will showcase some of their coding and LEGO robotics work. Join us at the USA Science and Engineering Festival and stop by booth #1249. To learn more about the festival visit: http://www.usasciencefestival.org/

PreK Science Exploration Day

Getting our students excited about science is important at St. Louis School and our youngest students are no exception! Today was our Pre-K Science Exploration Day and it was AWESOME! Our students had a blast watching chemical reactions at our "Oh No Volcano" station, created “Cloud Jars” to watch homemade rain fall, and made their very own Slime to take home! There were lots of other hands-on experiments to pique their interests and get them excited about science. Thanks to our wonderful Pre-K team of Ms. Zupkus, Ms. McCarthy, Mrs. Tyler and Mrs. Oliver for planning this engaging morning and for our parent volunteers for helping out. We couldn't do it without you! Take a look at all of the FUN.

Measuring Matter in Second Grade

Students in Mrs. Yuska’s Second Grade class were joined by Principal Weiss as they used the iPad Minis to enhance a lesson on the properties of matter. Through this Discovery Education exploration they were able to learn how different types of matter have different properties, including mass and strength. The exploration allowed the students to measure and compare the mass of three balls made of different materials using a balance as well as create bookshelves out of three different materials to see which would be strong enough to support books. This lesson provided each child with an opportunity for a "hands-on" experience that they wouldn't normally experience.

Calvert Hall STEM Academic Olympics

Congratulations to our 7th grade boys who recently participated in the Calvert Hall Academic Olympics. They spent Saturday morning working together as teams on technology, writing, general knowledge and STEM activities. St. Louis Blue was comprised of Aidan Czyryca, Joey Ghirardelli, and Luke Musselman, and St. Louis White included Mark Helminiak, Kurt Lawrence, and Lucas Tudor. St. Louis Blue was successful in bringing home the Bronze medal! We are very proud of all of the boys and congratulate them for a job well done!

Science Livestream

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

iPads in the Classroom!

Technology is an increasingly common part of daily life. St. Louis School is working to integrate technology into classroom instruction in a planned, thoughtful, purposeful manner. Several months ago St. Louis School received a grant from the Knott Foundation, allowing the purchase of 110 Apple iPads. These iPads were loaded with a number of highly rated, educator reviewed applications geared to develop specific student skills. During this period, St. Louis School teachers began weekly training, learning how to use the iPads effectively and developing instructional strategies tailored to each classroom. Teachers are now busy creating digital lessons and incorporating material from such sources as Discovery Education and Khan Academy. So far students have welcomed the iPads with enthusiasm and are looking forward to further digital instruction.

Building our boards with Board Builder

As part of Science instruction at St. Louis School, students make oral presentations to their classmates on a regular basis. This year students have been taking their presentations to a higher level by using a computer tool called Board Builder from Discovery Education. It allows students to create a comprehensive visual aide with text, photographs, audio, video and animated content to assist in conveying concepts. The board can be shared electronically with teachers and are accessible to students anytime, anywhere through their school’s Discovery Education subscription. It is designed for flexibility, differentiation and provides an opportunity to work at the student’s pace. So far, students are enjoying this new tool and finding it engaging, easy to use and fun!

Student iPads have arrived!

Today we were thrilled to roll out our iPad initiative and celebrate Digital Learning Day! Through a grant from the Marion I. & Henry J. Knott Foundation, St. Louis has been able to purchase 110 iPads for use by our students as an additional educational resource to make learning more engaging and dynamic. Our first grade students used the devices in their Language Arts class and were introduced to long vowel sounds and letter combinations, even creating their own silly sentences as they thought “outside of the box”! Our 7th grade students utilized the devices in Science class with their personal Discovery Education accounts to access their techbooks and interactive labs. The students helped each other navigate through their genetics assignment and gave us feedback on their first classroom use of the devices. St. Louis is thrilled to be able to offer our students this innovative tool and we are grateful to the Knott Foundation for supporting this important initiative!

Digital Learning Day!

Today is Digital Learning Day. a nationwide celebration of digital learning in America’s schools that supports teachers, improves learning, and provides options for students to achieve at their highest potential. We are excited to celebrate this day and are committed to providing our students with the tools necessary to seamlessly integrate technology into classroom learning.

Creating with Scratch

St. Louis students are taking their STEM education to a new level by learning to program using the LOGO-based Scratch platform. Scratch was created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with funding from the National Science Foundation, Microsoft, Intel Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Google, Iomega, and the MIT Media Lab Research Consortia. To learn more about Scratch, please visit http://scratch.mit.edu/. Please feel free to browse through some of our students' showcased work and visit back often for new projects. http://stem.stlouisparish.org/scratch

STEM Family Fun Night

Our STEM Family Fun Night was a great success! More than 135 students and their parents braved the cold Tuesday night to join us for this fun evening including fun science experiments by Eric Energy, Lego Robotics presentations by US Open Robotics, aerodynamic activities for the younger students, catapult construction, and a spaghetti tower building contest. Thank you to Mrs. Whiteford for coordinating this exceptional event. We would also like to thank Discovery Education and USA Science & Engineering Festival for sponsoring our event. Last but not least, thank you also to our parent volunteers, student volunteers, and faculty/staff members who helped to make the evening successful. It was a blast!

Cyber STEM Spring session begins!

Today we started several of our extra-curricular clubs for the new year, including CyberSTEM. Club members began building robots and started the planning process for programming and animating their actions. We look forward to seeing what our creative and capable engineers produce!

STEM Family Night

This Tuesday night we are hosting our second STEM Family Night from 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM in the school gymnasium. Come out and see new presentations by Eric Energy, and US Open Robotics, and enjoy some hands-on activities for all ages. This night is open to ALL of our school families and is free of charge! A big thank you to our event sponsors: Eric Energy, USOpen Robotics, Discovery Education, Science Channel and the USA Science and Engineering Festival.

Hour of Code

Today’s interconnected technological world is built on computer software. Next week, during Computer Science Education Week, Code.org is sponsoring an Hour of Code where students will gain a basic understanding of the underlying software that drives our modern world. As part of the St. Louis School technology curriculum, students are preparing to participate in this global event by viewing the introductory videos and exploring the building blocks of software construction. These preparations are in addition to the existing classroom instruction and our after school CyberSTEM program. To learn more visit: http://csedweek.org/

Run, Run, Run as fast as you can!

This week our Pre-K students read the Gingerbread Man, using this fun children's book to learn math, language arts, and STEM lessons along the way. The kids are having so much fun! They rolled-out, “baked” and decorated gingerbread cookies on the iPad, acted out the story with masks in dramatic play, and even learned the song “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes” in Spanish, introducing them to the color "café". The students decided what part of a Gingerbread cookie they would eat first and then graphed the results in Math, laced their own Gingerbread Man to exercise their fine motor skills, and made a Gingerbread Jail -- because apparently the Gingerbread men are trying to escape! Today the students made Gingerbread traps in their STEM lesson, brainstorming and collaborating in groups to keep the Gingerbread men in the classroom overnight and suggesting that the teacher sleep at school to stand guard! Stay tuned...

USA Science and Engineering Festival Nifty Fifty Speaker

What a fantastic afternoon we had as Dr. Dana Perkins visited and spoke to our students about her career as a microbiologist and advisor to the UN Security Council. From an early age, Dr. Perkins was fascinated with infectious diseases and persued her interest with a passion! Her message to the children was to keep learning and to love what you do. The students asked what inspired her and she gave them something to think about: Star Trek! ... "Go bodly to where no one has gone before". In her work with the UN, Dr. Perkins advises on the containment of chemical and biological agents, with the first priority of saving lives. She is proud of her work and rightly so! We were thrilled to have her speak to our students and thank her for sharing her time with us!

Cyber STEM Fall Session

The fall Cyber STEM session 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 Microworlds and Scratch! A special thank you to our Faculty Cyber STEM Gurus: Ms. Fries, Mrs. Rose, Mrs. Vicendese and Mrs. Whiteford for making this program a continued success.

Where will your daughter be in ten years?

Today Sixth Grade girls from St. Louis participated in the Cool Careers for Girls Symposium at the University of Maryland in College Park. Students met women professionals in cyber security, learned about possible career paths and participated in hands-on activities covering cryptography, computer forensics, programming, systems engineering and computer security. St. Louis is committed to providing these types of opportunities for students; to spark interests, discover talents, and show options for each child’s future. The event was made possible through a partnership between the Educational Technology Policy, Research and Outreach (ETPRO), the National CyberWatch Center, the University of Maryland and Lockheed-Martin. Cool Careers for Girls is intended to help young women explore careers in STEM fields by introducing them to small group presentations and hands-on projects with women professionals. View the Lockheed Martin press release: http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/press-releases/2013/november/isgs-cybercareers-111213.html

Cyber STEM students improve their computer coding skills!

St. Louis CyberSTEM students continue to improve their computer coding skills and are working hard to develop animated stories and games using an engaging, interactive software tool called Microworlds. Through our partnerships with Educational Technology Policy Research and Outreach (ETPRO, which originated at the University of Maryland) and Cyberwatch K-12, CyberSTEM students gain a hands-on understanding of the tools of tomorrow, with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Dia de los Muertos

Traditional Spanish culture honors ancestors and family history. In Mexico, families observe "Dia de los Muertos" (Day of the Dead) at the beginning of November. During this commemoration of life and love, families gather together to celebrate the life of deceased family members and friends. It is a happy, colorful and cheerful time when families build decorated "altars" honoring the deceased. These altars are decorated with food, photographs, bright colorful paper "papel picado" and skulls made of sugar. Students in the Third Grade Spanish class painted and created skull masks to celebrate this cultural tradition.

Communicating with Art

Deaf people in the United States communicate with American Sign Language (ASL). Ms.d'Epagnier Seventh Grade Art students practiced their observational drawing skills with these ASL hands. They drew first and last name initials. Can you tell who created each one?

Technology brings us together in Prayer.

Catholic Schools are a worldwide community of faith. Today St. Stephens School in Grand Rapids, Michigan became part of our local community as we shared the sights and sounds of our classroom with them. Using a technology tool called Skype, the second graders enjoyed teaching Mrs. Harju’s students the Spanish version of the Hail Mary and were proud to see them do such a great job. We shared some of our interests and finished our session by playing our Las Formas (Shapes) card game together. We look forward to another virtual visit with them again real soon! Take a look at Mrs. Harju’s blog to learn more about their eperience. http://harju.edublogs.org/2013/10/22/skype-chat-with-friends-in-maryland/

Nurturing the Spirit and Mind so we can all Rejoice!

Not all learning happens in the classroom, and not all of the FUN happens there, either! At St. Louis School we provide our students with extracurricular activities that nurture their “ Sprit & Mind” ~ so that they Rejoice! Last week we held our first meeting of our fall Club offerings. Design & Build, CyberSTEM, and Chess Club intrigues our deep thinkers and future engineers, and Art Club, Chorus and Band nurture our more creative thinkers.

Using Technology to Teach Spanish Across the Country

Our 2nd grade students had a wonderful opportunity to meet other 2nd graders and teach Spanish across the country. After learning vocabulary words for parts of the body, our students Skyped with students in Mrs. Lykowski's 2nd grade class at Monroe Road Elementary School in Michigan. The students talked about where their schools are, what the weather was like, and their school mascots. Then they got down to the real FUN! Substituting Spanish for English, our students sang "Head, and Shoulders, Knees and Toes" or "Cabeza, Hombros, Rodilla y Pie"! The giggles took over for a time, but we think it was a wonderful experience and we are looking forward to doing it again!

Young Meteorologist Program

We recently had a very exciting and early morning at SLS as WBAL's Ava Marie joined Mrs. Mary Fairbanks and Katie Collins Garrett, NOAA meteorologist sand Owlie Skywarn to teach our students about weather preparedness. This is an especially important cause to St. Louis, as it is the 12th anniversary of the College Park tornado that tragically took the lives of two of our beloved students. We can all use reminders how prepare for and to safely anticipate dangerous weather conditions, and we were thrilled to have this opportunity to spread the word. You too, can become a weather expert by participating in the Young Meteorologist Program, a free computer game that educates children in grades K-8 about the importance of severe weather preparedness. Go to http://www.youngmeteorologist.org/ for more information. Thank you to all of our guests, and to our students and parents for making this such a valuable experience!

DC Metro Area Maker Faire

Calling all the St. Louis Creative Minds! “Robots, electric go-karts, interactive art, flying machines, and so much more to see and do –KID Museum is hosting the Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire on Sunday, September 29th at Veteran’s Plaza and Great Hall in Silver Spring, from 12:00-5:00p.m. The Maker Faire features free family activities, two performance stages, and innovative projects created by inventors, hackers, crafters, artists, and do-it-yourselfers of all kinds. The festival highlights creative and unusual projects, and invites people of all ages to explore their own curiosity while making something new.” For more information visit http://makerfairesilverspring.com/

Frog and Fish dissection in Seventh Grade Science Class

Assisted by our Seminarian Matt, Seventh Graders finished out the year learning about aquatic anatomy.

Creating simple machines

One of the goals of STEM education is to provide students with an understanding of the underlying principles behind everyday experiences. In Mrs. Vicendese’s Third Grade Science class, our budding engineers gained a hands-on understanding of simple machines using Lego WeDo Robotic kits. Students worked in groups of four to build and program their design for a simple machine. Each design incorporated a repeating motion and a sound effect appropriate to the observable motion. The exercise culminates with a Language Arts assignment in which each group writes a story involving their design and presents it to the rest of the class. The creative designs included a drumming monkey, a hungry alligator, dancing birds, an airplane rescue, a sailboat in a storm and a roaring lion.

First Grade Lego Engineers

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.

Robotics Camp at Our Lady of Good Counsel

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

 

 

X-STEM School certification

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

 

 

Third Grade Rocks!

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 Littles Escape!

          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.      

Cyber Safety, Cyber Ethics and Cyber Security

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
www.msetonline.org/schedule.html

Meet Our Robots!

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.

Academic Olympics

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!

Hiding in the Attic

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

Second Graders Sail the World

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.

Town Mouse or Country Mouse?

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.

 

Listen to our story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bBuH1BDjZQ

 

 

It's Robot Conga Line Time!

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:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBEGj4Fn2Kk&feature=youtu.be

Are you a Good Egg?

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/

Artesanos de Méjico

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!

Does the shape of a bird's beak affect what he eats?

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!

STEM in PE? Why Not?

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!

Drafting pencils give way to mouse and keyboard

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.

Gazing the Nighttime Sky through the Discovery Channel Telescope

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.

http://www.siemensstemacademy.com/index.cfm?event=showResource&resourceId=cf6af9e2%2D1321%2D0c71%2D3cb0%2D02f0fb1e919b

Claymation Studio

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!

Golfing Robots?

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.

Robots Rule CyberSTEM!

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

5th Grade electrical engineers

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!

A Bad Case of Stripes

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

STEM Family Fun Night

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.

Claymation!

How did the electric eel get his electricity? Why do camels have humps? These important questions will soon be answered by the 6th Grade at St. Louis!
 
6th grade has recently begun a project that truly reflects how art can be a starting point for incorporating STEM into the classroom. Our Claymation projects involve writing skills and technology as well as using our creative minds to design sets and characters. Each group of 6th graders will write a "Why Story," a type of folktale that explains how a certain trait or characteristic came to be. They will then use modeling clay and animation techniques to create a short stop-motion film.
 
Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead!

The Robots are Here!

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.

Scratch students learn the software development cycle.

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.

http://stem.stlouisparish.org/scratch

First Grade Robotics!

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!

STEM Family Fun Night

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.

Hidden secrets of soda

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.

First Grade Problem Solving

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!

First Grade Engineers

Tape, wax paper, rubber bands? Stay tuned to find out what Mrs. Aumiller’s First Grade engineers are up to now!

Designing and Animating with Scratch

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/

Design and Build Lego Club

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 Lady of Good Counsel Math Competition

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.

Cyber STEM

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.

PreK Spanish Centers

In Spanish class, Pre K children are reviewing their primary colors and numbers in Spanish by rotating through three centers. The focus is on the primary colors in Spanish and the numbers, only one to three at this introductory level. Not only are they learning Spanish by rotating through the three centers, but they are developing a variety of additional skills in each center. An added benefit is that they stay busy and engaged while rotating from one Center to the next. By playing a Color lotto game, they are developing their sorting, counting, color recognition and beginning word recognition skills in Spanish.

Second Grade Zooms!

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!

Outsmarting the Big Bad Wolf with a little help from STEM

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.

Cool Careers for Girls Symposium

Our sixth grade girls recently attended the annual Cool Careers in Cyber Security Summit at University of Maryland. The purpose of the event was to introduce Middle School girls to potential careers in cyber security, information assurance,...
and other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) career paths. From digital forensics to computer assembly, our students learned all about cyber security from the professionals and female role models.

To view the television footage of the event, click on the link below:
http://tinyurl.com/cftqjcs

 

Fifth Grade Weaving Project

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 ...

geometric designs of the Zapotec as inspiration,
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!

Space Academy

 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