Gold Medal STEM: Thursday

Gold Medal STEM: Egghead

Did the egg crack? Ask your students and find out how their group did! Today in class the students worked on making a helmet for an egg, so when the egg was dropped it would not crack. Students used plastic spoons, Styrofoam cups, and flexible cardboard as the harder surfaces, while others used bubble wrap cotton materials, and moldable fiberglass.  Some trials were definitely messier than others, but it was all for science!

Ask your students:

Did their egg crack?

What materials did you use?

How did you pick those materials?

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Vital Signs Chicago – Animatronic Extremity

Vital Signs Chicago – Animatronic Extremity

Throughout the week, the students have built a prototype animatronic model after their own hand. Today they took their prosthetic creation one step further and learned the scientific processes behind myoelectric prosthesis, which uses signals from muscles that contract voluntarily from within a person’s residual limb. Students put on their engineering hats and went to work on adjusting their prototype, then designing and creating iterations to meet various challenges, like racing to pick up, carry, and deliver a ping pong ball to a new location. It was awesome to see all of the different designs come to life – literally!


BioSleuths: Belleville

BioSleuths: Belleville

Forensic Entomology

Have you ever heard of a blow fly? Did you ever think about their life cycle and how theirs differs or compares with our own? In today’s lesson, students were introduced to and mimicked the Blow Fly life cycle with pasta pieces. Afterwards, our young forensic etymologists began to understand what role temperature plays in the growth of a blow fly.

Ask your student:

What kind of metamorphosis is evident for the blow fly larva? (complete)

What is one of the stages of the blow fly life cycle? (eggs, 1st instar larvae, 2nd instar larvae, 3rd instar larvae…)

C.S.IMSA Chicago – Drops to DNA

C.S.IMSA Chicago – Drops to DNA

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, meat tenderizer, alcohol)


What’s Up with Water? – Sink or Float

What’s Up with Water? – Sink or Float

What floats and what doesn’t? What if it’s saltwater, or freshwater? Inquiry and imagination lead our “water-ful” scholars today as they set out to answer these questions. Students worked together to come up with rules on floating items in water, then tested their hypotheses using common household items like straws, corks, and bottle caps.

The students quickly began to notice the effect of density, but still had questions. One student asked, “How are boats able to stay afloat if they’re so heavy?” Their observatory skills were put to the test and they stood up to the challenge!


Science@IMSA: Thursday

Greenhouse Gas Lab

This Thursday, our students spent the day in the greenhouse: Earth! We learned how sunlight comes through the atmosphere and gets absorbed by the land and gasses in the atmosphere, trapping heat. Students collected and graphed data to analyze.

Ask your student:

What type of radiation holds the most heat? (Infrared)

What does the greenhouse effect mean for Earth? (Global warming)

Vital Signs: Chicago

Vital Signs Chicago: Reflexes and Reactions

The students tested their natural reflexes and reactions today. In this video, they are testing their object permanence. Ask your student how they did!



Tie-Dye Tradition!

Tie-dying name tags has been a tradition at Summer@IMSA for years. Take a little paint, a lot of shaving cream, dip, press, squeegee, and voila!!! Many participants keep them as mementos and report they adorn bulletin boards for years after the summer ends!IMG_4483