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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Musicology – Wednesday 

Musicology – Wednesday

Today, the students put their knowledge of sound waves and their frequencies to practical application to discover octave equivalency; they found patterns in notes and chords by playing their own virtual pianos. Additionally, students worked more on improving their hand-pipes and electronic instruments by creating drumming levelers and reverse engineering a speaker, respectively. Finally, students related language to music and discovered new ways of music representation and possibly teaching!

 

Ask your students:

What patterns did you see in frequencies of notes that sound well together? (They were equal factions apart)

What were the basic parts of your speaker? (Wire coil, cup, and magnets)

 

Book Recommendation: Hiding Out at the Pancake Place By Nan Marino

From Amazon: “Eleven-year-old musical prodigy, Elvis Ruby, was supposed to win the most coveted reality show on television, Tween Star. None of the other contestants even came close to his talents. But in the middle of the biggest night, with millions of people watching, Elvis panicked. He forgot the words to the song. He forgot the tune. He forgot how to play every single instrument he’d ever known and froze on national TV. So Elvis must run from the paparazzi camped outside his door and spend the summer working with his aunt and cousin at Piney Pete’s Pancake Palace in the remote wilds of New Jersey. It’s the perfect place to be anonymous, that is until Elvis meets Cecilia, a girl who can’t seem to help blurting out whatever’s on her mind.”

 

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)

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Wednesday: A (Simulated) Urinalysis

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Wednesday: A (Simulated) Urinalysis

Today, our junior medical practitioners were put to work in the lab! Our campers learned that many different diseases can be diagnosed based on the pH of urine.  Using (simulated) urine, they tested the pH levels of various samples and then handed out diagnoses based on the results. Our fledgling scientists will continue to use their rapidly developing medical skills in the days to come!

Ask your camper: What diseases are possible if a urine sample is a pH of 3.0?

C.S.IMSA  @ Springfield – Wednesday: Tie Dyes

C.S.IMSA  @ Springfield – 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 @ 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).

Musicology @ Aurora – Tuesday

Musicology @ Aurora – Tuesday

Today, the students put on their creative thinking caps when they were tasked to create their own harmonica songs! Ask your child to play their creation (or their mastered Mary had a Little Lamb) for you as they will be bringing their instrument home tonight. These creative juiced kept flowing as the students finished building their electronic instruments and were encouraged to perform a song of their choice for their peers. Additionally, the students put their hands to work by building their own hand-pipe instrument which they will be expanding upon later in the week. To tie this cacophony of sound all together, the students explored an online PHET simulation where they could explore sound wave and their properties further.

 

Ask your students:

If you increase the amplitude of a sound what happens? (The sound becomes louder)

What were the 4 components of your electronic instrument? (Battery, Vibration circuit, speaker, keyboard circuit)

 

Book Recommendation: The Way to Stay in Destiny By Augusta Scattergood

This young adult novel is recommended for 4th-7th grade students.

From Amazon: “When Theo gets off a bus in Destiny, Florida, he’s left behind the only life he’s ever known. Now he’s got to live with Uncle Raymond, a Vietnam War vet and a loner who wants nothing to do with this long-lost nephew. Thank goodness for Miss Sister Grandersole’s Boarding House and Dance School. The piano that sits in Miss Sister’s dance hall calls to Theo. He can’t wait to play those ivory keys. When Anabel arrives things get even more enticing. This feisty girl, a baseball fanatic, invites Theo on her quest to uncover the town’s connection to old-time ball players rumored to have lived there years before. A mystery, an adventure, and a musical exploration unfold as this town called Destiny lives up to its name.”

Micro STEM @ Aurora– Tuesday: Applied Circuitry

Micro STEM @ Aurora – Tuesday: Applied Circuitry

Today, the campers continued working on their hand fans! Now that their main design had been sketched and the handle and main body was build, the budding electrical engineers could start with the circuitry and wiring. Using a small motor, a battery pack, and lots of wires, the campers finally got the head of the fan to move! We can’t wait to see their final projects tomorrow once they add lights and complete the design.

Vital Signs @ Springfield- Tuesday: Sheep Heart Dissection

Vital Signs @ Springfield- Tuesday: Sheep Heart Dissection

Day 2 is over, and our daring dissectors have had an in-depth look at the workings of every mammal’s most important organ: the heart! During their exploration, students continued to recognize the relationship between structure and function that is present everywhere in biological structures. One student commented, “Every piece of the organ has a specific job, and everything is efficient!”

The scientists-in-training will continue to explore this connection between structure and function as the week goes on!

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Vital Signs @ Springfield – Monday: Glasses Galore

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Monday: Glasses Galore

On the first day of a jam-packed week, students delved into bio engineering, specifically creating glasses! Our budding engineers explored the different types of lenses and their ability to magnify and minimize objects from various distances. The campers combined different strengths of lenses to enhance their vision and read ultra-fine print from 6 and 8 feet away.

Ask your student:

Do eyeballs have convex or concave lenses? (convex)