STEM Lab February
Posted by Tammy Drury on 2/16/2018
STEM Clubs Update
The team is working in groups of 2 or 3 to program their robot to perform different tasks. This year’s RCX Robotics Competition is themed Body Works. Teams need their robot to travel throughout a human-sized layout of a body to fix certain aliments such broken ribs, sprained ankle, administer an Epi-Pen, and all sorts of fun tasks. You are welcome to stop by any Wednesday from 2:35-4:15 to take a peek at what the students are doing. The competition is March 17th.
The team members have been busy lately collecting milk cartons from the cafeteria. We are entering a national competition called Carton2Garden. We will paint the cartons and design a garden with them. Our theme is Stress Relief. This garden must have a school-wide impact so we soon will be sending out more information. Our garden will be formed in the shape of a lotus flower. We will be growing aromatic herbs that aid in stress relief. We will be setting up an indoor growing station for starting our seeds soon.
Each classroom will receive an herb to place in your room for students to use when they feel tense or stressed. We will also be sending out a list of stress relief ideas you can post in your classroom. Plus, we will be sending out websites for you to teach your class Yoga as a form of relaxation/stress relief. Our goal is to use some herbs to make herbal tea for teachers to try, make herbal scrubs, etc. We are still coming up with exciting ideas!
In the early spring, we will break ground on our garden. We will be using the landscaped areas in front of the cafeteria (the raised one with nothing in it currently), the afternoon bus area, and one by the dumpsters. We will have several raised gardens for vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The raised garden outside the STEM Lab windows will be moved to the new location. We will also designate an area for a Monarch Weigh Station to attract butterflies. In addition, we will plant native plants to attract pollinators. We are also tending the rain garden by the school entrance. This will be a natural area so it will not look like a landscaped area. Only native plants will be allowed to grow in the raingarden. It should be self-sufficient after we rid it of invasive species. We began this “weeding” back in the fall. The Garden Club will be collaborating with the GAP team and Ms. Eden on some exciting projects, soon! You are invited to join the Garden Club anytime. We meet every other Thursday from 2:35-4:00 and will meet every Thursday this spring.
The team collects recycling every Wednesday morning and one pair of students collects recycling on Mondays and Fridays in the office and copy room. We tally our collections on a site, PepsiCo Recycle Rally, to win prizes and to track how our efforts help the planet. The team has also made a posted many posters reminding students to recycle and to educate them on what items are and are not recyclable. Thank you for your continuing recycling efforts! If you ever need a special “pick up”, just email me and I will get our team to get it for you.
This year the energy team is Ms. Jefferson’s 4th grade GAP class. They meet with the district’s energy engineer and sustainability coordinate 3-4 times a year to learn how to measure and track our school’s energy usage and how to be advocates for helping our school reduce its energy usage. So far, they have been trained on how to measure our light output, plug-loads (how much energy items use), ghost-loads (how much energy items use when they are plugged in but not being used), CO2 levels, humidity levels, and how to do general energy audits. They will be inputting our data into a district spreadsheet and our school’s energy usage and other data points will be monitored. Our school can get recognized for our energy savings each quarter. Our first quarter this year, we were not successful in saving energy. The second quarter we had a slight decrease in our usage. Our goal is to be one of the top schools in cutting energy usage. Last year, we were! As a result, we were selected to apply to become a national GREEN RIBBON SCHOOL!! I am still waiting to hear back about our status. You can help by turning off your lights, ELMO, and projector when they are not in use; and by shutting down all computers and unplugging your lamps/lights when you leave for the day. These small steps make a HUGE impact!
Pringles Engineering Challenge
Mr. Park’s class is participating in this year’s national Pringle Challenge. The challenge is to design and create the lightest, smallest package in which to mail a single Pringles potato chip. We have nine teams of 2 or 3 students. We are partnered with a school in Virginia, so our packages must make it there with as little damage as possible to the chip. Each team sends and receives a package and there is a scoring rubric to evaluate the mailing package and the chip inside for its intactness. This is my first time joining this challenge and we are all excited!
Aquaponics and Hydroponics
Students in Mr. Park’s 5th Grade GAP class have been working in teams to research and design their own aquaponics or hydroponics growing system. They will begin building their systems in the next couple of weeks and will hopefully be completed early May. I will let you know when they are complete so you can come check them out. These systems will be used in the lab for years to come!