Musicology – Monday

Musicology – Monday

Music experts and newbies alike will love this week of exploring topics in STEM through music! On our first day of Musicology, students received their own harmonicas to explore playing/performing songs through trial and error. The students then explored the condition synesthesia by using their creative side and expressing the music they heard in colorful, imaginative drawings. In the afternoon, students listened to some good vibrations while learning how sound is composed of waves. They then used this knowledge to begin to build their own electronic instruments composed of a vibration circuit and keyboard!

Ask your students:  What is synesthesia? (A perceptual phenomenon in which one sense involuntarily triggers another; E.g. looking at the number 4 causes a mint taste in one’s mouth)

What is a wave? (The transportation of energy through a medium (water, air, etc.) without transporting matter)

Book Recommendation: A Mango-Shaped Space By Wendy Mass

This young adult novel is recommended for 5th-8th grade students and expands on the topic of synesthesia (which was explored this morning by the students). The plot revolves around Mia Winchell, a thirteen-year-old girl, struggling to understand and be understood by her peers, friends, and family due to her synesthesia. The novel received the American Library Association Schneider Family Book Award in 2004 and has since received several other awards.

Magical Mysteries Funshop – Friday, October 12, 2018

Magical Mysteries Funshop – Friday, October 12, 2018

At our first Funshop of the year, young magicians from across the Chicago-land area came to IMSA to learn how science can be just as – if not more – amazing than magic itself!

Grades 3-4

The 3rd-4th grade group learned about one of the most magical substances in science – SLIME! Slime is made up of polymers, which, as our magicians learned, have many magical properties. Because of polymers, you can pierce a water-filled Ziploc bag with a sharpened pencil, and the water won’t leak out! Try it at home and see how many pencils you can put through your bag. Some of our magicians got up to 10 pencils!

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The participants got to make their own magnetic slime and test it with various magnets, and play with oil-based ooblek!  The magicians played with the ooblek to discover that oil-based ooblek is not like your run-of-the-mill water-based ooblek – it has its own magical properties!

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Grades 5-6

Our 5th and 6th grade magicians learned all about illusions, which are the key to all good magic tricks. We first explored anamorphic images, then used our new knowledge to create a floating cube device. Check-out this magician’s device!

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The 5th and 6th graders also built a device to project a hologram-like image. The participants learned that the floating image is called a “Pepper’s Ghost Illusion.” While it isn’t technically a hologram, all of the magicians were amazed to learn that the little projector can be used on their own phones and tablets!

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The 5th and 6th grade magicians made their own videos to use with their projectors. Please view below!

Musicology – Friday

Musicology – Friday

Today, students put final touches on their hand-pipe machines, creating a mechanism similar to a music box, and continued their experiments on digital vs. analog transmissions. They then learned how musical reeds work and even created their own reed-like instrument using straws. Finally, students put all their knowledge of music together by defining what made music “good” to them. They used this knowledge to categorize and rate music that their peers might like as well.

Ask your students:

How does a reed work? (it vibrates when you blow into in, thus creating a sound)

What does binary mean? (Something composed of 2 parts; a digital signal is composed of 1’s and 0’s)

Book Recommendation: A Crooked Kind of Perfect By Linda Urban

This young adult novel is recommended for 5th-7th grade students.

From Amazon: “Ten-year-old Zoe Elias has perfect piano dreams. She can practically feel the keys under her flying fingers; she can hear the audience’s applause. All she needs is a baby grand so she can start her lessons, and then she’ll be well on her way to Carnegie Hall.

But when Dad ventures to the music store and ends up with a wheezy organ instead of a piano, Zoe’s dreams hit a sour note. Learning the organ versions of old TV theme songs just isn’t the same as mastering Beethoven on the piano. And the organ isn’t the only part of Zoe’s life that’s off-kilter, what with Mom constantly at work, Dad afraid to leave the house, and that odd boy, Wheeler Diggs, following her home from school every day.

 

Yet when Zoe enters the annual Perform-O-Rama organ competition, she finds that life is full of surprises–and that perfection may be even better when it’s just a little off center”

Micro STEM @ Aurora – Friday: Homemade Batteries

Micro STEM @ Aurora – Friday: Homemade Batteries

On our final day of Micro STEM, the campers made their own batteries! First campers made a hand battery. The hand battery works with a piece of aluminum and a copper sheet, which are conductors. They used their own body’s electric charge by placing a hand on each of the plates, then measured the electrical output with a multi-meter.

Ask your student:

What materials did you use for the aluminum air battery? Aluminum foil, paper towel, salt water, and activated charcoal.

 

 

Micro STEM @ Aurora – Thursday: Magnifying Investigations

Micro STEM @ Aurora – Thursday: Magnifying Investigations

Today, the investigation of different kinds of magnifying devices continued. Students got the chance to go outside and collect various samples of their choice. After collection, the samples were brought inside to be analyzed with a compound light microscope. Students also reviewed the various parts of a compound microscope, and the importance of each part in the function of the microscope as a whole.

Ask your student:

What similarities and differences did you notice when you were using the different tools for magnification (MicroPhone lens, hand lens, compound light microscope, and stereoscope)?

Musicology – Thursday

Musicology – Thursday

As our camp comes to a close, students worked to solve unanswered questions and finish up engineering projects. In the morning, students queried “what is music?” and worked on breaking down/ creating harmony and dissonance using electronic keyboards. Students also dissected harmonicas to discover how they and other reed instruments function. In the afternoon, students worked to automate their hand-pipe machines using a wheel-and-axel and conducted an experiment to demonstrate the effectiveness of digital vs. analog signal transmission.

Ask you students:

What did the observations from the videos add to your understanding of how a harmonica works? (Answers will vary)

What was the content of the first recording ever made? (Thomas Edison reenacting Mary Had a Little Lamb)

 

Book Recommendation: Echo By Pam Munoz Ryan

Grades 5-8

From Amazon: “Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.

Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.”

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Friday: Prosthetics

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Friday: Prosthetics

Today, our campers developed prosthetic fingers through the use of their own engineering creativity. Our bold inventors have created their own artificial fingers to scale to fit their own hands, including mechanisms to both bend and unbend the finger at all of the joints. Throughout the week, students have been exploring bio-engineering which has allowed them to become experts at analyzing design solutions and repeatedly testing them in order to determine the best way to improve the product.

Ask your student:

Which tendons are responsible for bending and straightening the fingers? (Flexor and extensor tendons)

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Thursday: The Blood Part 1

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Thursday: The Blood Part 1

Today, our scientists delved into the study of blood type and the genetics that help determine it. Students first discovered the physical basis behind the ABO blood type group, analyzing different antigens. In the lab, they attempted to determine the blood type of different samples by creating antibody reactions.

The analysts-in-training also learned the basics of Mendelian genetics, discovering how blood type traits are inherited and why some are dominant over others.

Ask your student:

How many total possibilities are there for blood type? (there are 8 including both genes: A+/-, B+/-, AB+/-, and O+/-)

What is one method to predict the blood type of the offspring when you know that of the parents? (use a Punnett square)

C.S.IMSA @ Springfield – Friday: Drops to DNA Part 2

C.S.IMSA @ Springfield – Friday: Drops to DNA Part 2

The case has been cracked! Our junior forensic scientists worked in the lab today in order to extract DNA from the pieces of a broken vase that were found at the crime scene. After analyzing the evidence and comparing it to the DNA samples from several key suspects, the CSI team has identified the culprit!

Students concluded the week with a successfully cracked case, and experience with real CSI science!

Ask your student:

Were your suspicions from earlier in the week correct? If not, what evidence changed them?

C.S.IMSA @ Springfield – Thursday: Drops to DNA Part 1

C.S.IMSA @ Springfield – Thursday: Drops to DNA Part 1

Today our CSI technicians began what will be a two day process to extract DNA from a broken vase found at the crime scene. In order to prepare themselves to discover what should be the most convincing piece of evidence, students learned about the extraction process by using their own DNA!

After their training, investigators are ready to process the last piece of evidence tomorrow!

Ask your student:

What was one substance you used in the extraction of your own DNA? (Gatorade, soap, alcohol)

BioSleuths @  Springfield – Friday: Forensic Entomology

BioSleuths @  Springfield – Friday: Forensic Entomology

Today, students continued their study of forensic entomology: the use of knowledge of insects to help solve criminal investigations. Our junior investigators learned how forensic entomologists use the life cycle of maggot-laying flies in order to determine the exact time of death of a victim. In order to observe the life cycle in action, students examined their canned chicken samples from Monday.

In addition, the biosleuths used the knowledge they had gained about forensic entomology to solve crime scene situations!

Ask your student:

What exactly are maggots? (fly larva)

How can forensic scientists use maggots to estimate time of death? (life stages of a fly take a known amount of time)