Integrated Science – Thursday

Integrated Science – Thursday

This afternoon the Integrated Science students were visited by Melissa Lenczewski, a professor of Geomicrobiology at Northern Illinois University, along with two of her research students. Professor Lenczewski and her students shared their recent research on groundwater in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Their research focus was how tourism impacts the area drinking water when chemical residues seep through the grounds after people swim in popular water-filled pits, called cenotes. After the presentation students participated in two hands-on activities. They practiced filling and flipping Whirl-Pak laboratory sample bags, and then looked at bacteria on their fingers under a UV light box to see how well they washed their hands!

 

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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)?

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BioSleuths @ Aurora – Thursday: Grasshopper External Dissection

BioSleuths @ Aurora – Thursday: Grasshopper External Dissection

Today, our young anatomy investigators set their sights on grasshoppers! Students mainly focused on the grasshopper’s appendages and other features that were easily visible, observing how the structure of each part might enable it to function most efficiently. Our biosleuths even got the chance to identify some correct or incorrect features on famous cartoon insects like Jiminy Cricket!

Students will continue their grasshopper dissections tomorrow by exploring the internal features of the same insects they worked on today.

Ask your student:

What are the three body segments of the grasshopper called? (head, thorax, and abdomen)

Why are the grasshopper’s back legs different from its front legs? (they need to be bigger for jumping)

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Micro STEM @ Aurora – Wednesday: Ionic Compounds

Micro STEM @ Aurora – Wednesday: Ionic Compounds

Today, in Micro STEM, the students built upon their knowledge of atoms and ions as they used their own bodies to represent atoms and ions that bond to form ionic compounds. The students played a game where they were challenged to find a partner “match” to create an ionic compound with a net charge of zero. Also, today in Micro STEM, the students built simple ionic compounds and then created crystalline structures with the whole class.

Ask your student:

To create a neutral ionic compound with a Sodium ion (+1 charge), what charge would the other ion have to be? (-1 charge)

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BioSleuths @ Aurora – Wednesday: Beak Design Challenge

BioSleuths @ Aurora – Wednesday: Beak Design Challenge

Have you ever thought about why birds’ have such different beaks? Your student can help you answer that question! One of the areas that they learned about today was different bird beaks and how they are designed. Using different tools or “beaks” students tried to “eat” a certain food item and move it to a bowl, or the “stomach” of the bird. Students had to figure out which beak worked best for each food item. Students then used logic and creativity to design their own beak that would allow them to eat a food of their choosing.

Ask your student:

What beak function might be best for eating seeds? (cracking).

What sort of food might a probing beak be well-suited for? (insects, worms, crustaceans).

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