Gold Medal STEM: Tuesday

Gold Medal STEM: Tuesday

Our Olympic engineers were able to analyze the necessary materials for a mechanical swimmer. Bags of materials were categorized by their characteristics and functions. Once they had an understanding of the parts, our students created poster diagrams to display their ideas about the best use of the materials. Everyone shared their analyses to the class by doing a gallery walk.

Ask your student:

What are some material categories? (Adhesives, platforms, buoyancy, support, measurement)

Which materials might have more than one application? How could they also be used?


Vital Signs Chicago – Enzymes

Vital Signs Chicago – Enzymes

Today, students learned the effects of how hydrogen peroxide is metabolized by the catalase enzyme. Before getting started, we found that they each had a general idea of what enzymes did in a chemical reaction, so we took it a step further and explored their effects on the function of the human body.

Throughout the experiment, they were able to see the effect of pH and on enzymes and what kinds of reactions can be made from simply changing the pH of a system.  “It makes sense how your body’s pH being too high or too low could make you sick,” said one student. They’ve already begun making connections and applying their new knowledge to their own lives!


BioSleuths: Belleville

BioSleuths – Belleville: Pollination Party

Have you ever thought about pollination and how important it is? Today our students were able to role play and actively participate in a “pollination party”. The pollination party allowed for students to play as butterflies, grasshoppers, and bees thus allowing for a more hands on experience. Students not only understood the important of insects through the role playing but also through a comparison of produce images showing a world with bees and without bees.

Overall, students were able to understand the importance of insects in a flower life cycle and even human lives.

Ask your student:

What would happen if there were not bees? (we would have a lot less food in the produce section of the grocery store)

Name an animal that helps transfer pollen. (butterfly, moth, ant, wasp, beetle, fly,bird, bat)


C.S.IMSA Chicago – Lift a Finger

C.S.IMSA Chicago – Lift a Finger

Our CSI team is well on its way to cracking the case! Today, the scientists-in-training delved into the study of fingerprints. They first fingerprinted themselves in order to learn about the different recognizable fingerprint patterns. Students then examined the fingerprint evidence collected from the crime scene and attempted to match it with prints collected later from suspects.

Our investigators have had a busy two days, but there is more forensic science to be done before the culprit can be apprehended!

Ask your student:

What are the three characteristic fingerprint patterns? (loops, whorls, and arches)

After two days, do you have any theories about the case?


What’s Up with Water? 6/28

What’s Up with Water? 6/28

Our wonderful water experts began their exploration of watersheds and the effect of pollution on the ocean and marine life. Students worked in pairs to simulate pollution within water systems using food color. They were asked to predict the pollutant’s route and hypothesize how far it would travel: “It’s going to flow in the direction of the largest body of water,” one student hypothesized.

Not only were the students able to build an accurate model of a watershed, but they also applied their new knowledge to form new opinions and inquiries about the wide world of water around them!

Science@IMSA: Tuesday

Carbon Burger

Our environmentalists resumed their understanding of people’s impact on the Earth.  Today, we learned just how much carbon dioxide is produced in the production of a single cheeseburger. Raising and harvesting the meat, growing and collecting the toppings, and shipping all of the food adds up to a large footprint for just one burger. Students calculated these emissions themselves to get more perspective about their environmental impact.

Ask your student:

What’s the largest source of carbon dioxide in the production of a burger? (Shipping / factory)

Does this change the way you feel about your food?