STEM Blog

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!

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