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?

Genetics: Nature or Nurture – Thursday

Genetics: Nature or Nurture – Thursday

Today was an exciting day for the students! They were able to see how environment did influence gene expression in identical E. coli plated on different types of media. Some of the E. coli expressed the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) while others did not. Students also created experiments to test effects of anti-epileptic drug s (AEDs) on the flies. Tomorrow the students will be discussing and presenting what they have been researching throughout the week!

Ask your student: What is the difference between genotype and phenotype? (Genotype is based on the DNA sequence for a trait, phenotype is the expression or appearance of the trait)

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Innovation Through the Ages – Thursday

Innovation Through the Ages – Thursday

Today in Innovation Through the Ages…….students reviewed the history of rocketry and propulsion, rocket design and function, and chemical reactions. They then designed, built, and launched vinegar and baking soda-powered rockets! They also learned about the development of the printing press, and then created drawings inspired by their notes and observations during the week. They then transferred their drawings onto Styrofoam plates and created prints.

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Innovation Through the Ages – Wednesday: Siege Machines

Innovation Through the Ages – Wednesday: Siege Machines

Today in Innovation Through the Ages…..students began their exploration of the science of light and photography by making their own camera obscura out of paper. They also tested their own ability to see color and tried some color-correcting glasses to see if they improved their color vision, and then split light into its color parts using prisms and lenses!

In Engineering, students were challenged to research, design, build, test, and then present a siege machine— a device that is designed to break or circumvent heavy castle doors, thick city walls or other fortifications in siege warfare. Our students came up with some fantastic designs, some that actually worked!

Ask your student to define/explain a camera obscura (a dark box (or even a very dark room) with a very small hole in one wall that lets in light. Directly across from the hole the image from the outside world will be projected onto the wall upside down)

 

This Monday in… Genetics: Nature or Nurture?

This Monday in… Genetics: Nature or Nurture?

Today in Genetics: Nature or Nurture, the students extracted their own DNA with the goal of identifying whether or not their DNA contained the PTC gene. The gene reveals whether or not the campers can taste bitter (PTC) or not! Once the campers had their DNA, they prepared it for a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) experiment to then amplify the gene and eventually reveal whether or not the gene was present.

Ask your student: What are polytene chromosomes?  (The ‘giant’ chromosomes found in the salivary glands of drosophila larva that are result from several rounds of DNA replication without cell division)

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Chemapalooza @ Aurora – Monday: Molecular Gastronomy

Chemapalooza @ Aurora – Monday: Molecular Gastronomy

Today students trained to become a budding chef in an emerging culinary style known as Molecular Gastronomy. Exploring how science and art can mix, students used the scientific principles of Molecular Gastronomy to create visually appealing and texturally unique foods, and explored two foodie experiments. By the end of the lesson, students became quite knowledgeable in the growing field!

Ask your student:

What is the process of thickening a liquid so it doesn’t melt in its new solid form? (Gelification)

What is the process of creating gelified pearls? (Spherification)

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)

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Integrated Science – Monday

Integrated Science – Monday

Today was the first day of the Integrated Science Residential Program. In the morning, the students explored polarity in a lab setting. They determined if 6 different solutions were polar or nonpolar by seeing if the solution was attracted to a charged rod. They created posters with their conclusions, and created posters about the field of science.  Then the students ate lunch and tie-dyed name tags. After lunch, they began to research their topic for their week-long project on water and ecosystems. Finally, they did a lab to compare dissolving and reacting by combining different solutions in test tubes and recording their observations.

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Vital Signs @ Belle Valley & IMSA – Wednesday: A (Simulated) Urinalysis

Vital Signs @ Belle Valley & IMSA – 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?

Belle Valley Pictures: 

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IMSA Pictures: 

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Engineering Explorations @ IMSA – Tuesday: A Loaded Boat

Engineering Explorations @ IMSA – Tuesday: A Loaded Boat

This week, our engineers are building boats using simple items. Today they used aluminum foil to build their boats to test how much weight they could hold. They learned principles about load, and about the Archimedes Principle!

Ask your students: How did the Archimedes Principle relate to your activity today? Why do you think this Principle is important to know? (Answers will vary)

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