Vital Signs @ Belleville – Friday: Prosthetics

Vital Signs @ Belleville – Friday: Prosthetics

Today, our campers developed prosthetic fingers through the use of their own engineering creativity. Our bold inventors have created their own artificial fingers to scale to fit their own hands, including mechanisms to both bend and unbend the finger at all of the joints. Throughout the week, students have been exploring bio-engineering which has allowed them to become experts at analyzing design solutions and repeatedly testing them in order to determine the best way to improve the product.

Ask your student:

Which tendons are responsible for bending and straightening the fingers? (Flexor and extensor tendons)

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CSImsa @ Aurora & Belleville – Friday: Drops to DNA Part 2

CSImsa @ Aurora & Belleville – Friday: Drops to DNA Part 2

The case has been cracked! Our junior forensic scientists worked in the lab today in order to extract DNA from the pieces of a broken vase that were found at the crime scene. After analyzing the evidence and comparing it to the DNA samples from several key suspects, the CSI team has identified the culprit!

Students concluded the week with a successfully cracked case, and experience with real CSI science!

Ask your student:

Were your suspicions from earlier in the week correct? If not, what evidence changed them?

Belleville Pictures

Aurora Pictures

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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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Vital Signs @ Belleville – Thursday: The Blood Part 1

Vital Signs @ Belleville – Thursday: The Blood Part 1

Today, our scientists delved into the study of blood type and the genetics that help determine it. Students first discovered the physical basis behind the ABO blood type group, analyzing different antigens. In the lab, they attempted to determine the blood type of different samples by creating antibody reactions.

The analysts-in-training also learned the basics of Mendelian genetics, discovering how blood type traits are inherited and why some are dominant over others.

Ask your student:

How many total possibilities are there for blood type? (there are 8 including both genes: A+/-, B+/-, AB+/-, and O+/-)

What is one method to predict the blood type of the offspring when you know that of the parents? (use a Punnett square)

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C.S.IMSA @ Belleville & Aurora– Thursday: Drops to DNA Part 1

C.S.IMSA @ Belleville & Aurora– Thursday: Drops to DNA Part 1

Today our CSI technicians began what will be a two day process to extract DNA from a broken vase found at the crime scene. In order to prepare themselves to discover what should be the most convincing piece of evidence, students learned about the extraction process by using their own DNA!

After their training, investigators are ready to process the last piece of evidence tomorrow!

Ask your student:

What was one substance you used in the extraction of your own DNA? (Gatorade, soap, alcohol)

Belleville Pictures

Aurora Pictures

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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)

 

C.S.IMSA @ Belleville & Aurora– Wednesday: Tie Dyes

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?

Belleville Pictures

Aurora Pictures:

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Biosleuths @  Belleville– Wednesday: Beak Design Challenge

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).

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C.S.IMSA @  Belleville & Aurora– Tuesday: Lift a Finger

C.S.IMSA @  Belleville & Aurora– Tuesday: Lift a Finger

Our CSI team is well on its way to cracking the case! Today, the scientists-in-training delved into the study of fingerprints. They first fingerprinted themselves in order to learn about the different recognizable fingerprint patterns. Students then examined the fingerprint evidence collected from the crime scene and attempted to match it with prints collected later from suspects.

Our investigators have had a busy two days, but there is more forensic science to be done before the culprit can be apprehended!

Ask your student:

What are the three characteristic fingerprint patterns? (loops, whorls, and arches)

After two days, do you have any theories about the case?

Belleville Pictures

Aurora Pictures

BioSleuths @ Belleville – Tuesday: Honey Bees

BioSleuths @ Belleville – 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)