BioSleuths @  Springfield – Friday: Forensic Entomology

BioSleuths @  Springfield – Friday: Forensic Entomology

Today, students continued their study of forensic entomology: the use of knowledge of insects to help solve criminal investigations. Our junior investigators learned how forensic entomologists use the life cycle of maggot-laying flies in order to determine the exact time of death of a victim. In order to observe the life cycle in action, students examined their canned chicken samples from Monday.

In addition, the biosleuths used the knowledge they had gained about forensic entomology to solve crime scene situations!

Ask your student:

What exactly are maggots? (fly larva)

How can forensic scientists use maggots to estimate time of death? (life stages of a fly take a known amount of time)

BioSleuths @ Springfield – Thursday: Grasshopper External Dissection

BioSleuths @ Springfield – 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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Biosleuths @ Springfield – Wednesday: Beak Design Challenge

Biosleuths @ Springfield – 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).

Chemapalooza @ Aurora – Friday: So Sublime

Chemapalooza @ Aurora – Friday: So Sublime

Today students observed first-hand how regular ice and dry ice differ in their behaviors. Students studied both types of ice in one scenario, and used their observations to predict what would happen in a different scenario! Finally, collected evidence to make claims about the strange phase-changing properties of dry ice, created models, and presented them to the group.

Ask your student:  What is it called when a substance goes from a solid straight to a gas? (Sublimation) Ask your student to tell you some of the differences they observed between dry and regular ice.

BioSleuths @ Springfield– Tuesday: Honey Bees

BioSleuths @ Springfield – Tuesday: Honey Bees

One of the four areas students investigated today was the intricate social nature of bees and how the different types of bees work together to make honey, the honeycomb, and more bees! As a group, students enacted the roles of the bees in a hive and “produced” their own honey. “I can’t believe bees have to work so hard just to make a little honey!” observed one student.

Our intrepid biosleuths also used manipulatives and geometry to discover how and why honeybees have perfected their honeycomb design and concluded that hexagons are the optimal shape for honeycomb cells.

Ask your student:

From which part of the bee’s body does the wax come? (abdomen)

Which type of bee in the colony builds the honeycomb? (worker)

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BioSleuths @ Springfield – Monday: Soil Life

BioSleuths @ Springfield – Monday: Soil Life

Whether you can see them or not there are many things living in the soil. This is one of the concepts your student learned today. Students set up two experiments today to learn not only about where life comes from but also what kinds of organisms live in the soil. Students worked in groups to prepare their first experiment. They placed pieces of chicken in cans with different coverings; they will come back to these cans later in the week to observe what is new. After this experiment they collected soil samples to learn about all the living things inside of it. Many of the students found worms or other critters while they were on this mission.

These curious biosleuths shined light directly over the Burlese-Tullgren funnel to help them understand what organisms live in the ground. “I think I’m going to find more worms in my soil.” hypothesized one of the sleuthers.

Ask your student:

How did the light help you find organisms in the Burlese-Tullgren funnel set up? (organisms will tend to move away from the light/heat source, which is downward into the alcohol)

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BioSleuths @ Belleville – Friday: Forensic Entomology

BioSleuths @ Belleville – Friday: Forensic Entomology

Today, students continued their study of forensic entomology: the use of knowledge of insects to help solve criminal investigations. Our junior investigators learned how forensic entomologists use the life cycle of maggot-laying flies in order to determine the exact time of death of a victim. In order to observe the life cycle in action, students examined their canned chicken samples from Monday.

In addition, the biosleuths used the knowledge they had gained about forensic entomology to solve crime scene situations!

Ask your student:

What exactly are maggots? (fly larva)

How can forensic scientists use maggots to estimate time of death? (life stages of a fly take a known amount of time)

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Chemapalooza @ Aurora – Thursday: Ooey Gooey Toy Company

Chemapalooza @ Aurora – Thursday: Ooey Gooey Toy Company

Silly slime and smiling faces! Students became Chemical Polymer Interns for Ooey Gooey Toy Company today. While creating their own Play Doh, Putty, Slime, 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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BioSleuths @ Belleville – Thursday: Grasshopper External Dissection

BioSleuths @ Belleville – 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)

 

Chemapalooza @ Aurora – Wednesday: Water Beads and Diffusion

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)