Wednesday, May 15, 2019


May 14 was the STREAM Fair.  The middle school students thought of a problem to solve and designed a way to try to solve it.  They built and tested their ideas, making revisions if they could.  Some projects worked as the student engineers had hoped; others did not.  If the project did not work, the students identified something that they think went wrong and how they would address it on a future attempt.  Those who visited the STREAM Fair were impressed by the projects and by the students' eloquence in explaining them.

 Jared, Dahria, Kylie and Kayla designed a prosthesis that could be used with a touch screen.  They tested different materials to see which would work.
 Tim, Michael, Paul and Thomas used the laws of physics to determine how to maximize the distance and velocity of a trebuchet.
 Polina, Reina, and Katelin designed a system to minimize roadway flooding by absorbing rainwater.
 Michael, Lucas, Thomas and Lucas designed a way to keep litter and debris out of water that drains into storm sewers.
Philip, Robby, Robert and Kai worked to find the most efficient way to separate salt from water. 
 Emily, Shalyse, Leyla and Mahek created a water wheel to generate clean energy. They think that their design will work if they can increase the energy in the flowing water.  They could not get enough in the classroom, but they believe that their design has applications in the real world.
Timothy and Ashton designed a way to make folding clothes easier and more efficient.
 Kaylin, Lea, Jordyn and Jhailyn tested different liquids to see which caused flower plants to grow most rapidly.
 Eryk, Jeffrey, Matthew, Nathaniel and Adrian tested shooting a basketball while wearing different types of gloves.  They were surprised by their results.
 Emily, Isabel and Rayelle designed a mini greenhouse with a watering system.  They kept their plants alive and growing during Easter break, while we were away from school!
 Ean, Leah, Brady and William are solving the problem of roadside litter by creating a trough to catch the garbage thrown out of cars.  Their prototype was made on our 3D printer.
 Jake, Jeremiah and Josh developed an earthquake-proof building.
 Brooke, Ava, Ava and Kiara explored whether the energy in citrus fruit can easily be converted to electric energy and used to charge a cell phone.
 Maya, Victoria and Victoria designed and built a storm sewer that can filter out debris that washes down, keeping our oceans cleaner.
 Cassidy, Lilly and Mallory created a website to help chefs cook their pasta to a perfect al dente texture.
 Raymond, Michael, Josh and Michael devised a way to purify water in an emergency.
 Juliana, Misha, Kristen and Julia tested students to find out if certain activities like dancing, praying, yoga, or positive messages helped them to perform better on tests.
 Dominic, Jonathan, Arianna and Savannah investigated the effect of trash can placement on litter.
AJ, Akshaya and Gracie used a potato to create a circuit and light a bulb.

The STREAM Fair was a great success. Our middle school students have learned to try new ideas without fearing that they will not work.  They learn from mistakes, and communicate what hey have done with clarity and confidence.  STREAM projects impart important life skills as well as science and engineering concepts.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Pollination Garden

We received a grant from the Captain Planet Foundation to plant a garden that will attract pollinators. Some species of bees are facing challenges and are at risk of becoming endangered at this time.  Our garden will attract important pollinators like bees and monarch butterflies.  We started some of the seeds inside in Ms. McDonald's sunny classroom.  As soon as they are big enough, we will transplant them into our garden. Keep watching to see our progress!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Getting Ready...

It may look like chaos in the middle school science room, but there is a lot of learning going on.  The sixth, seventh and eighth grade students are all preparing their projects for the STREAM Fair, which will be held on May 14. All students are working in groups to find solutions to problems that interest them.  The students are testing their hypotheses and refining them as needed.  Come to the STREAM Fair to see how all of their work comes together!

If you are wondering what these projects will do when they are complete, visit the STREAM Fair and see the finished products. You can also read the students' notes on the process that they used. I hope to see you there!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Learning by Teaching

The eighth grade has been studying elements, compounds, and the periodic table.  The whole middle school is going to do a project on the periodic table for STREAM month in May.  The problem is that sixth and seventh grade have had very little exposure to the periodic table.  Eighth grade solved the problem by designing and teaching small group lessons on the basics of the periodic table.  The sixth and seventh grade students now know the significance of the atomic number, symbol and mass, and how to calculate the number of each type of particle in an atom.  The eighth grade students were creative in their lesson plans.  Doing this activity reinforced their understanding of the concept and gave them the opportunity to reflect on what worked and did not work in the ways they presented their lessons.