C.S.IMSA @ Springfield – Thursday: Drops to DNA Part 1

C.S.IMSA @ Springfield – 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, meat tenderizer, alcohol)

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).

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

C.S.IMSA @ Sprinfield – 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?

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Wednesday: Banana Sutures

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Wednesday: Banana Sutures

Today, our junior medical practitioners performed their first procedure! Students practiced sutures (or “stitches”) the same way that real doctors practice: on banana peels. They primarily investigated the layered nature of the skin, and how it relates to its main function: protection. Some students were surprised to learn that our skin is actually the largest organ in our bodies!

Our fledgling scientists will continue to use their rapidly developing medical skills in the days to come!

 

Ask your student:

What are the names of the three layers of the skin? (epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis)

What layer of the skin is the thickest? (hypodermis – 26 mm)

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.

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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)

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!

Ask your student:

What are the jobs of the atria and ventricles of the heart? (Atria take blood from body back into the heart; ventricles pump blood to lungs and then back to the body.)

What is the difference between a vein and an artery? ( arteries carry blood away from the heart; veins carry blood to the heart)

C.S.IMSA @ Springfield – Tuesday: Lift a Finger

C.S.IMSA @ Springfield – 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?

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)

 

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Monday: Chicken Wing Thing

Vital Signs @ Springfield – Monday: Chicken Wing Thing

On the first day of a jam-packed week, students delved into anatomy by learning the basics of dissection! Our budding scientists explored the structures of a chicken wing, discovering characteristics that are shared with the human arm. As they examined deeper levels of complexity during their dissection, they observed the interactions between systems and structures that allow the wing to function.

Students also learned how to preserve the bones of the chicken wing in order to use them in one of Friday’s lessons!

 

Ask your student:

What is the difference between the flexor and extensor muscles? (They work together to move the arm/wing, flexor curls the limb, extensor extends it)

What are the two bones of the lower arm/wing? (radius and ulna)