STEM Blog

First LEGO League Robotics Teams

St. Louis School is proud to announce that we have three (3) First LEGO League (FLL) Teams competing in the 2014 FLL World Class Challenge this year! Our team members join more than 265,000 children from 8 countries to explore how students learn and develop skills to meet the demands of the 21st century. Our teams have been expertly guided by dedicated parent volunteers acting as coaches, mentors and cheerleaders. They have been meeting on a regular basis to design a robot, program the robot to complete several challenging missions, research a project topic to address the competition’s theme, and develop a final presentation.

Currently, our three teams are preparing for their qualifiers and putting finishing touches on their projects. Our first team, “Mission Possible,” will be competing this Saturday at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab (APL) Kossiakoff Center. The robot competition schedule runs from 12:40 P.M. until 3:40 P.M. Our other two teams will be competing on Saturday, January 24th at Anne Arundel Community College; more details about that competition will follow.

We are very proud of these students and wish them the best on their FLL Qualifiers. Please feel free to stop by APL this Saturday and cheer on our team!

DEN Voices Connect

On the first day back from Christmas vacation the Third Graders shared some joy in music class while Skyping a classroom in the Midwest. They shared a question and answer session (Q: How cold is it there? A: -9 degrees) and then sang together. Mrs. O began the class by talking about how we all can be "Agents of Change" and reminding them of Monsignor Luca's words to them before we went on break that even the smallest actions can make each of us an instrument of peace. They sang, and danced, and shared the joy:

"We are the future,
We have the power,
We are the agents,
Agents of change!"

This project, better known as DEN Voices Connect, was created by members of the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) to encourage collaborative learning through music.

The project has approximately 9,400 students from 42 schools in 34 states, 7 countries and 4 continents.

The goal of this project is for every school or class to send in a video recording of their rendition of the song. The organizers will then mash them up into a virtual choir and publish the final video. Today’s classroom activity gave the children a collaborative practice session prior to recording our rendition of the song.

For more information, check out the project at
http://www.denvoicesconnect.com/

Hour of Code

Today’s interconnected technological world is built on computer software. Last week, during Computer Science Education Week, Code.org sponsored an Hour of Code where students gained a basic understanding of the underlying software that drives our modern world. As part of the St. Louis School technology curriculum, students received their credentials to the website and began working on their puzzles and challenges. They will continue to work on the 20 hour Computer Science course throughout the year.

First LEGO League Robotics Teams

As part of our continuing efforts to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, St. Louis is excited to announce that we are sponsoring three teams to compete in the 2014-2015 First Lego League (FLL). Teams participate in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field, and develop a solution to a problem they have identified as guided by the FLL Core Values and the question “What is the future of learning?”

Twenty one of our students from grades 4 through 8 have been meeting weekly to collaborate on the project, designing their robot, the missions and the programming. We are grateful for the dedicated parent volunteers who are coaching the teams, working under our technology teacher Zulma Whiteford, the school’s liaison and mentor.

We are very proud of these students and commend them on their dedication in pursuit of their passions!

Girls in STEM Careers!

On Wednesday, November 12th the Sixth Grade girls from St. Louis School 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 School 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 K – 12 Division and the University of Maryland Cybersecurity Center.

Discovery Education Streamathon

St. Louis School uses a variety of 21st Century educational tools to engage our students. One excellent source of engaging material is Discovery Education, the educational arm of Discovery Channel. This past Saturday, five of our students were key participants in a Discovery Education professional development event broadcast to more than 2,500 educators in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The “Streamathon” event was produced as a television program and broadcast live via the Internet from the Discovery Channel studios in Silver Spring. This unique event was themed after a 1970’s television show and featured leaders in educational strategies and applications related to student instruction and engagement.

St. Louis students were interviewed by Hall Davidson, Senior Director of Global Learning Initiatives for Discovery Education, and had the opportunity to showcase their work and explain the tools and processes they use. Each student spoke eloquently about the educational environment at St. Louis and the effect learning tools had on their lives outside of school. Students also worked with Dr. Lodge McCammon where they learned the moves to one of his songs and demonstrated the importance of kinesthetic learning during his presentation.

Saturday was filled with excitement and new experiences as we watched the broadcast from the greenroom in anticipation of our turn on stage! The day concluded with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Discovery Channel building and we departed with some Discovery Education gifts for us to remember our visit. We would like to thank the Discovery Education team for the invitation to take part in this event as well as the parents who allowed their child to participate. Next stop Hollywood!

Click on the video and advance to 4:02:59 to see the student’s session!
http://new.livestream.com/accounts/135982/streamathon
— at Discovery Communications.

 

Wind Power!

The results are in from our 6th grade STEM challenge! The students did a fantastic job tackling the task of making energy efficient windmills. They demonstrated their results to their peers at the end of the day. As with any design, some things worked and some required tweaking, but from the cheering of the crowd, all efforts were enthusiastically appreciated! Great job, boys!

Pre Engineering Club - Engaging students in the Maker Movement.

This year we have expanded our after-school science clubs of “CyberSTEM” and ”Design & Build” to include “Pre-Engineering”. Our brilliant Geometry teacher, Mrs. Eileen Markert, has an ambitious goal for our Pre-Engineering students. The students will learn to progress from the design phase (imagine, plan, create, improve) to the drafting of blue prints, to construction. Currently they are working with drafting tools in the construction of Polyhedrons, and will progress toward compound Polyhedrons, then to the designing and building based on these shapes. Sounds complicated! Keep at it kids– we can’t wait to see the final results!

Aerodynamics lesson

Mrs. Rose’s science classes have been taking advantage of the weather and recently explored the properties of aerodynamics. Using their personal aircraft designs (paper planes!) they tested the forces of lift, velocity, weight and drag, along with the variables of air pressure and temperature. Who knew something so fun could provide a real-time illustration of these principles! Great job kids! Any future pilots in the group?

Silver Spring Maker Faire

Calling all Makers! The 2014 DC Area Maker Faire will take place on Sunday, September 14th in Silver Spring. The event is free for everyone and full of fun, engaging and creative ideas and projects. Don't miss this opportunity to MAKE!

Summer Cyber STEM Camp at University of Maryland

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!

http://cyber.umd.edu/news/news_story.php?id=8420

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!

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