MicroSTEM Monday – @Aurora

Micro STEM @ Aurora – Monday: Bacteria Among Us

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Students began a two day project today, investigating bacteria that surrounds us. Each student will test their own fingers, and each group of 4 students could pick up to 8 different surfaces to see what kinds of bacteria live there. Alternatively, the students could choose to see what happened to the bacteria from the same surface with some sort of treatment (applying hand sanitizer, soap, etc.). Students were given the chance to make a hypothesis about what they expect to see on their plates. Later on this week, the students will use a microscope to look at the results of their samples, and test their hypotheses.

Ask your student:

If bacteria surrounds us, why don’t we get sick more often? (Not all bacteria are pathogenic (disease causing))

What are some examples of places where good bacteria are found? (Almost anywhere has some amount of good bacteria, some examples would be in our intestines and mouth)

Musicology – Monday

Musicology – Monday


Music experts and newbies alike will love this week of exploring topics in STEM through music! On our first day of Musicology, students received their own harmonicas to explore playing/performing songs through trial and error. The students then explored the condition synesthesia by using their creative side and expressing the music they heard in colorful, imaginative drawings. In the afternoon, students listened to some good vibrations while learning how sound is composed of waves. They then used this knowledge to begin to build their own electronic instruments composed of a vibration circuit and keyboard!

Ask your students:  What is synesthesia? (A perceptual phenomenon in which one sense involuntarily triggers another; E.g. looking at the number 4 causes a mint taste in one’s mouth)

What is a wave? (The transportation of energy through a medium (water, air, etc.) without transporting matter)

Book Recommendation: A Mango-Shaped Space By Wendy Mass

This young adult novel is recommended for 5th-8th grade students and expands on the topic of synesthesia (which was explored this morning by the students). The plot revolves around Mia Winchell, a thirteen-year-old girl, struggling to understand and be understood by her peers, friends, and family due to her synesthesia. The novel received the American Library Association Schneider Family Book Award in 2004 and has since received several other awards.

Genetics: Nature or Nurture–Friday

Genetics: Nature or Nurture–Friday


Today students finished up their fruit fly (drosophila) experiments measuring how different fly types (genotypes) reacted to seizure medication.  They then finished up their research and prepared their presentations for the afternoon parent gathering. Students also successfully isolated GFP (green fluorescent protein) and saw that the environment can effect gene expression.

Ask your student what GFP is! ( A protein composed of 238 amino acid residues that exhibits bright green fluorescence when exposed to light in the blue to ultraviolet range.)

Innovation Through the Ages – Friday

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Innovation Through the Ages – Friday

Today in Innovation Through the Ages…….students studied Leonardo Da Vinci’s 3D shapes and other 3D innovations and then created a collaborative 3D form –a dodecahedron – made by the entire group. In Engineering, student groups each decided on an innovation that they believe contributed the most to humanity, they researched its history, designed and built a model of it, and created a brief power point detailing the history of the innovation and their process. Each group then had a turn presenting to the class. Models included penicillin, the wheel, water filtration systems, and sewage systems.


Ask your student what a dodecahedron is (a three-dimensional shape having twelve plane faces, in particular a regular solid figure with twelve equal pentagonal faces).