CSIMSA Belleville – Monday: Observation 101

CSIMSA Belleville – Monday: Observation 101

The detectives have called in the CSI unit, and our junior forensic scientists are on the case! The investigation is well under way, with students honing their observation skills by spotting hidden objects in various pictures. They also practiced their mastery of memory and recall by seeing a series of objects and attempting to remember what was shown.

Investigators will continue to utilize their observational talent throughout the week as they attempt to solve the case!

Ask your student:

What evidence have you collected so far in the case?

How did you do in your observation and memory skills practice?

Gold Medal STEM: Friday

Gold Medal STEM: Let’s Race

Swimming – a fish’s mode of transportation. We sometimes take our fish-like ability for granted. Yet, have you ever seen a mechanical swimmer? Today students were able to use their engineering skills to make mechanical swimmers and race them against each other. Students observed their work come to life and were able to further develop their problem solving skills by suggesting new ways of improving their mechanical swimmers!

BioSleuths: Belleville

BioSleuths: Belleville

Grasshopper Dissection – internal

Did you know that grasshoppers have a tubular digestive system just like humans?  Turns out we’re more alike than we thought. Students had the chance to dissect a grasshopper and see its internal structure. Students then observed the different systems including Digestive, Excretory, Nervous, Reproductive, Circulatory, and Respiratory.

One student remarked, “It’s like this grasshopper is a mini person!”

Ask your student:

The Trachea and Spiracles are a part of what organ system? (Respiration)

Name one structure inside of the grasshopper  (intestines, muscles, stomach, brain, heart, trachea, eggs/ovary or testes)

C.S.IMSA – Drops to DNA Part 2

C.S.IMSA – 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?

What’s Up with Water? – World Water Day Site

What’s Up with Water? – World Water Day Site

Our future UN representatives successfully completed their “World Water Day” site projects and presented them to their fellow country representatives. Their ideas were great, and seeing them grow as problem-solvers and innovators throughout this week has been amazing! In just one week, they were able to research, develop, and then present plans that could save countless lives and provide our world with more resources than we thought imaginable.

Check out the link to our “World Water Day” page and take a look at some of the wonderful projects the students put together this week!!!


Science@IMSA: Friday

Science@IMSA: Friday

Students finished up the week by presenting their research projects to their fellow classmates.

By being able to communicate and show off their hard work, our students have completed their transformation into knowledgeable ecologists!

Ask your student:

How has your experience changed the way you view our planet?

What can you do to conserve and use resources sustainably?

Vital Signs Chicago – Rubber Bones

Vital Signs Chicago – Rubber Bones

What happens when you remove the calcium and collagen from bone? Wacky and rubbery bones.  Using vinegar and bleach-soaked chicken bones, our intrepid chemists were able to answer that question and so many more. In doing so, they explored acid-base reactions and how they relate to bone physiology.

“I’m going to think a lot differently when I’m choosing between soda and milk at lunch.” With the biological and chemical knowledge they’ve gained, and engineering and mathematical problems they’ve had to solve, the students had quite the vital week!

Gold Medal STEM: Thursday

Gold Medal STEM: Egghead

Did the egg crack? Ask your students and find out how their group did! Today in class the students worked on making a helmet for an egg, so when the egg was dropped it would not crack. Students used plastic spoons, Styrofoam cups, and flexible cardboard as the harder surfaces, while others used bubble wrap cotton materials, and moldable fiberglass.  Some trials were definitely messier than others, but it was all for science!

Ask your students:

Did their egg crack?

What materials did you use?

How did you pick those materials?

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Vital Signs Chicago – Animatronic Extremity

Vital Signs Chicago – Animatronic Extremity

Throughout the week, the students have built a prototype animatronic model after their own hand. Today they took their prosthetic creation one step further and learned the scientific processes behind myoelectric prosthesis, which uses signals from muscles that contract voluntarily from within a person’s residual limb. Students put on their engineering hats and went to work on adjusting their prototype, then designing and creating iterations to meet various challenges, like racing to pick up, carry, and deliver a ping pong ball to a new location. It was awesome to see all of the different designs come to life – literally!


BioSleuths: Belleville

BioSleuths: Belleville

Forensic Entomology

Have you ever heard of a blow fly? Did you ever think about their life cycle and how theirs differs or compares with our own? In today’s lesson, students were introduced to and mimicked the Blow Fly life cycle with pasta pieces. Afterwards, our young forensic etymologists began to understand what role temperature plays in the growth of a blow fly.

Ask your student:

What kind of metamorphosis is evident for the blow fly larva? (complete)

What is one of the stages of the blow fly life cycle? (eggs, 1st instar larvae, 2nd instar larvae, 3rd instar larvae…)