School on a Saturday? Yes! We love our S.T.E.M. Saturdays where we get the chance to try out some amazing science, technology, engineering, and math experiments. We had another successful S.T.E.M. Saturday at our Lynn Campus on October 20, 2018. Two groups, one from our lower elementary and one from our middle school, spent a few hours working on our KNOW Atom S.T.E.M. program. Here is a quick recap of the fun morning.
Our middle schoolers, along with Mrs. Stutz, a former teacher and self-professed math-lover, built seismographs and looked at the way scientists measure the more than 1.3 million earthquakes our planet has every year. They began by discussing the causes and types of earthquakes along with the method of measuring these events. The Richter Scale was discussed including the amplitude, seismic waves, and common directions of those waves: transverse and longitudinal.
Once the students understood the function and purpose of a seismograph, they set to work designing, building and then, finally testing their own seismographs with a list of materials allowed. Given craft sticks, rubber bands, washers, dowels, paper clips, straws, card stock binder clips, markers, and a cup, each group began their work in what is known as the engineering design process. The students loved designing, testing, and redesigning their projects. It was both fun and educational, as teams worked together to be able to register movement on a “shake table”. In the end, the students reviewed their processes, discussed what could make their designs better, and what they would do differently next time.
Our second and third graders did their own experiments looking at the guiding question: What are the properties that make an object sink or float in water? Before beginning their experiments they took some time to learn about the properties of matter such as size, color, texture, weight, and shape. They discussed how some items are dense and some are not. They used aluminum foil floating on the water’s surface to test “surface area” and its effects on items to be able to float or sink.
Students were then given materials such as a penny, popsicle stick, a cup, clay, and marbles that they would be testing in their own container filled with water. Before they began collecting data on their charts, the students made predictions about which items would float or sink. Finally, the students used each item in their own experiment to find out if they were accurate in their hypotheses. The students learned some valuable lessons about particles, matter and density, and its impact on buoyancy. What a fantastic S.T.E.M. Saturday!