STEM Blog

Nepture Knights

St. Louis School is proud to sponsor three FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams this year. The Neptune Knights are the first St. Louis School FLL team to compete in a qualifier this season. Join us in wishing them well and consider coming out to cheer them on tomorrow afternoon at Hammond High School. A special thanks to our coaches, Mrs. Beth Simon and Mrs. Muditha Allen, for providing our students with this rewarding opportunity. Go Knights!

Take a look at their progress: https://youtu.be/oUY7AKrzfJ0

 

How Do You Say ‘Sink or Float’ in Mandarin?

Learning the fundamentals of STEM is basically the same in any language. On Monday, Mrs. Riggin’s Fifth Grade Science Class shared a lesson on the fundamentals of matter with a Chinese delegation from Shanghai. The delegation is working in partnership with Discovery Education (DE) to learn more about how STEM education is implemented in the United States.

 

After the lesson, which incorporated material from the DE digital Techbook running on Google Chromebooks, the students engaged in a hands-on exercise to deepen their understanding of the characteristics of matter.

 

St. Louis School Eighth Grade STEM Ambassadors then shared their current work in Virtual Reality (VR) using an Oculus Rift device and the software development tool Unity.

 

The delegation also participated in two Second Grade STEM challenges led by Mrs. Anacker and Mrs. Johnson. The students were tasked with designing and building a parachute for Santa Claus and a shelf for the Elf.

 

At the conclusion of the visit the delegation expressed their appreciation and Lauren Conn, Director of Global Initiatives, stated, “Your teachers are fabulous and it is obvious that students are joyfully learning at school and after school.”

 

We would like to thank Discovery Education and the Chinese delegation for visiting St. Louis School, asking good questions and providing an attentive audience for our students. We would also like to thank Mrs. Riggin, Mrs. Anacker and Mrs. Johnson for welcoming our guests and providing engaging STEM lesson opportunities.

 

We look forward to continuing our communication and collaboration with our new Chinese friends. 

How Does Disease Spread?

How de we really get sick? If someone next to you gets sick will you also get sick? How is disease transmitted from one person to another? On Friday, Mrs. Yuska’s Seventh Grade Science Class learned the answers to these questions and more from Dr. Gene Millar. Dr. Millar, Director of Clinical Research Operations, is an epidemiologist working on researching diseases related to the military overseas. Dr. Millar explained how diseases spread, how they are affected by environment proximity and genetics. Students engaged in a hands-on exercise to illustrate how the infection process works. We want to thank Dr. Millar for taking the time to visit us and look forward to hosting him again soon. St. Louis School is committed to bringing outside experts to connect academic stem topics with real world applications.

Final Fall Cyber STEM Challenge

The Fall Session of our CyberSTEM After School program came to a close this week with an engaging and fun cup-stacking challenge held in the Science Lab. Each student was randomly assigned to a group and instructed to work collaboratively to design and build the tallest free-standing tower in 20 minutes or less using 100 Solo cups. Lots of cheering and cup crashing sounds ultimately led to a tie between two teams, each with a tower measuring 92 inches in height.

During the course of our Fall Session, the 50 CyberSTEM participants were introduced to the Python programming language, turtle drawing features, math formulas, cryptology and hexadecimal notation. They also took a field trip to the National Electronics Museum (NEM) in Linthicum where they learned about the history of electronics and its application to communications and national defense.

We are looking forward to our CyberSTEM Spring Session, where we will develop additional coding skills and explore robotics.

Help the Gingerbread Man Escape!

After reading the classic fairy tale of the Gingerbread Man, Mrs. Vicendese and Mrs. Coyle challenged their students to create an escape route for the Gingerbread Man so that he would not suffer his fate at the jaws of the fox. The students were given basic materials to build bridges over which the Gingerbread man could run, run - as fast as he can. Working in groups, the students collaborated and did an awesome job saving the day! #everyspaceisamakerspace #SLSSTEM

Native American STEM

On Friday, the Second Graders participated in an integrated Social Studies and Science lesson focused on the Wampanoag native American tribe. The activity was based on the Wampanoag children and how they had to use materials around them to make games and toys. The students were given ten cups, four bendy straws, four pieces of yarn, and one rubber band to build a pyramid of cups without using their hands. The students were allowed a short period of time to strategize and then quickly jumped into the challenge.

It was impressive to see the various creative solutions that resulted from their collaboration! #everyspaceisamakerspace #RiseAbove#trublue

Cell Diffusion Exploration

On Friday in Science Lab, the 7th grade explored the concept of how cells maintain homeostasis by allowing materials in and out of the cell through the process of diffusion. In this lab the students used a suspension of cornstarch and water to represent a cell, plastic wrap to represent the cell membrane, and various concentrations of iodine solutions to represent the raw materials a cell needs to perform life processes. The variables tested were the various concentrations of the iodine and various temperatures of the cornstarch suspensions. The students hypothesized about how these variable would affect the rate of diffusion into or out of their cells.

Saving Turkeys a Week Before Thanksgiving!

SLS Middle School students used logic, communication and collaboration to solve a series of challenging digital puzzles and successfully completed a Breakout challenge. St. Louis School is introducing the BreakoutEDU platform to help improve our student’s critical, observational, non-linear and problem-solving skills. The Thanksgiving-themed lesson challenged students to unlock a series of puzzles and ultimately free a virtual turkey. To learn more about the educational benefits of BreakoutEDU visit: https://www.breakoutedu.com

Maryland STEM Festival

Thanks to all who visited for our Maryland STEM Festival Create & Code event. From the youngest engineers building skyscrapers with Legos, to making electrical circuits and playing around with augmented reality - it was a great afternoon of fun and learning for all! Below are the green screen pictures available for download. 

Twenty One Elephants

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

Cyber STEM Fun!

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

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

“On your mark, get set, flow!”

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

 

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

 

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

 

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