Genetics: Nature or Nurture – Wednesday
Today students began the process to transform ‘normal’ E. coli bacteria (that do not produce green fluorescent protein (GFP)) into bacteria that do produce GFP. The students constructed plasmids and created plates with different E. Coli strains, and on Thursday will identify on which trains transformation was successful.
Ask your student: What is transformation? (A lab technique is used to introduce foreign/new genetic material into an organism)
Innovation Through the Ages – Wednesday: Siege Machines
Today in Innovation Through the Ages…..students began their exploration of the science of light and photography by making their own camera obscura out of paper. They also tested their own ability to see color and tried some color-correcting glasses to see if they improved their color vision, and then split light into its color parts using prisms and lenses!
In Engineering, students were challenged to research, design, build, test, and then present a siege machine— a device that is designed to break or circumvent heavy castle doors, thick city walls or other fortifications in siege warfare. Our students came up with some fantastic designs, some that actually worked!
Ask your student to define/explain a camera obscura (a dark box (or even a very dark room) with a very small hole in one wall that lets in light. Directly across from the hole the image from the outside world will be projected onto the wall upside down)
Chemapalooza @ Aurora – Wednesday: Water Beads and Diffusion
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)
C.S.IMSA @ Belleville & Aurora– Wednesday: Tie Dyes
The crime scene team began analyzing a promising new lead today by testing oil samples found on the driveway at the crime scene and comparing them with oil samples from suspects’ driveways. Students discovered the uses for the science of chromatography by watching how different colors separate, and using that information to match the crime scene oil with a likely culprit.
Our forensic scientists are developing a clearer picture of the case, and feel close to a breakthrough!
Ask your student:
What is chromatography used for? (separating materials)
What new information did you learn from your evidence analysis today?
Biosleuths @ Belleville– 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).