MYTHconceptions 7-27: It’s Poppin’

MYTHconceptions 7-27: It’s Poppin’

Have you ever heard someone say that you could pop popcorn using the electromagnetic waves from a couple cell phones? Well today we looked for evidence if this is true or not. The students set up a few sets of cell phones with a popcorn kernel to watch what would happen. They also compared the key parts of a popcorn kernel with a regular kernel. Did you know that they are completely different plants?

Ask your student: What did you think would happen in this experiment? What evidence supported the myth? What evidence did not support the myth?

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Belleville STEMvironment 7/27: Pond Water!

Belleville STEMvironment 7/27: Pond Water!

Today, in STEMvironment, the students analyzed samples of water from a local pond to look for insect nymphs which can be seen with the naked eye. Students learned the importance of a healthy ecosystem and that in aquatic ecosystems, the more diverse the organisms in a body of water, the more vibrant and healthy it is. Using this knowledge, students could analyze the health of the ecosystem from which the water sample was gathered.

Ask your student: What is a macroinvertebrate? (A small animal without a backbone that can be seen without a stereoscope or microscope)

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Belleville MicroSTEM 7-27: Magnifying Microscopes

Belleville MicroSTEM 7-27: Magnifying Microscopes

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)?

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Biomedical Engineering 7-27

Biomedical Engineering 7-27

Today, students discussed what can be done to prevent different kinds of heart failure, and what is done to troubleshoot both electrical and mechanical failure. The class finished constructing the big heart model and double checked to make sure it was fully functional. Students reflected on the process of designing, building and troubleshooting the large heart model, and came up with any last minute changes to refine the design. Finally, students continued working on and testing their BristleBots.

Ask your student: What are some ways to prevent heart failure? What can be done to troubleshoot an electrical system failure? What role did pressure play in the design of the big heart model?

Chemapalooza 7-27: Silly Slime

Chemapalooza 7-27: Silly Slime

Silly slime and smiling faces! Students became Chemical Polymer Interns for Ooey Gooey Toy Company today. While creating their own Play Doh, Putty, Goo, and Oobleck substances, our interns learned about polymers and heterogeneous mixtures. They used that knowledge to make a new toy for the company, a bouncy ball, by using the ingredients from the previous slimes.

Ask your student: What type of substance is Play Doh? (Suspension) What kind of molecules are in Putty and Goo? (Polymers) What substance gives Goo its sliminess? (Borax)


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Belleville Engineering Explorations 7-27: Racing Against the Sun

Belleville Engineering Explorations 7-27: Racing Against the Sun

Today, our engineers explored how their knowledge could be applied to the real world, by building solar cars! In this first part of a two part lesson, the students tested how different types of light effected their motors. Then, they got the wheel rolling by creating the body of their solar cars. Tomorrow they’ll complete their cars and put them to the test!

Ask your student: What is a solar cell? (It’s the “battery” of the car; it converts light into energy)

Fun fact:  The first solar cars were built in the 1950’s.

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Biomedical Engineering, Wednesday, 7-26

Biomedical Engineering, Wednesday, 7-26

To begin the day, students learned about and discussed examples of heart failure, both in the mechanical and electrical systems of the heart. Then, the class continued to build the large heart model, and began troubleshooting any issues that came up for the big heart. Students continued to work on their BristleBots, and began testing them today.

Ask your student: What are some examples of an electrical heart failure? What are examples of a mechanical heart failur

e? How does heart failure affect blood flow?

MYTHconceptions 7-26: Balloons

MYTHconceptions 7-26: Balloons

Today, in MYTHconceptions, the students were challenged to puncture a balloon without popping it. Students explored properties of rubber to figure out how to pierce a balloon with a wooden skewer without popping it. Through this activity students use their deductive skills to figure out what needs to be done to keep the balloon intact.

Ask your student: What is a polymer? (A Polymer is a chain of repeating parts) What property of the balloon (rubber) allowed it to be stretchy and always go back to the original form? (elasticity, elastic)


Belleville STEMvironment 7/26: Solar Power!

Belleville STEMvironment 7/26: Solar Power!

In class today, students learned how to apply the principles of solar energy, and how to run good tests of their solar device. Students created a solar oven that harnessed the power of the sun’s light to heat and cook marshmallows! By collecting data of their ovens’ temperature and then graphing it, students were able to compare their ovens, and discover some of the principles behind solar heating.

 Ask your student: What happened to the temperature inside the oven? (It increased) What part of the oven kept the heat in? (The black paper) What part reflected the heat inside of the oven? (The foil, which acted as a mirror)


Chemapalooza 7-26: Orbeez Experiments

Chemapalooza 7-26: Orbeez Experiments

Today, in Chemapalooza, the students investigated the nature of water beads. Our little chemists used the scientific method to design their own experiment and create a hypothesis on how they predict different liquids or different concentrations of liquids would have an impact on the growth-size of water beads. As the week progresses, the students will continue to work through the experiment and analyze their results and ultimately evaluate their hypothesis.

Ask your student: What is osmosis? (Osmosis is a special type of diffusion- movement of water across a barrier form high to low concentration) What is an independent variable? (An independent variable is the variable you are testing in an experiment: it is the variable that is changed)