Category Archives: STEM

Earning Robotics Driver’s License

Our students are off and running with the new EV3 Robotics kits. Students are working in groups of three. The 5 C’s of Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Citizenship form a foundation of our program. Mathematics skills and concepts involving graphing, geometry, measurement, and  statistics are embedded continuously as they solve tasks to learn necessary programming skills needed for meeting more complex challenges. When they master the initial set of tasks, they earn their EV3 Robotics Driver’s Licenses. Student engagement has been high and there’s more fun ahead.

Portland Bridge Tour

Walking Portland Bridge Tour today: Our tour guide, Nathan Hoover (www.pdxbridgetours.com), took us from ODOT to the Burnside Bridge, Steel Bridge, Vera Katz Esplanade (a floating walkway), & Union Station for lunch. Next, our buses took us up to the OHSU tram which we rode, then he led us across the new Tilikum Crossing bridge. Altogether it was somewhere between 5-7 miles of walking. The students loved it, and should sleep well tonight

Thank you, EYST!

A big THANK YOU goes out to Parent Club (EYST) for fully funding new EV3 robotics kits. We now have the most up-to-date kit versions that will keep our program running for several more years. Today they were unpacked and labeled. Tomorrow they will be in the hands of our students. Thank you to all, too, who donated time, effort, and funding to our Bingo/ Auction NightEarlier this month to make this purchase possible.

Engineering Design Process

Students took 14 steps that are part of the Engineering Design Process and worked in trios to organize them. Most groups thought linearly but one group showed it as a cycle. The discussions about WHY to place steps in certain places were rich! (There is not a correct answer to this. Some steps–such as Research–could logically occur at several times during the process.)

Geology & Oil Spill Engineering 

We are concluding our Oil Spill Engineering and geology unit. After learning about erosion, deposition, and weathering, students explored how an oil spill affects an ecosystem and the tools and methods needed to clean it. Students worked in groups to experiment with a variety of materials to clean a spill. Later they worked with a budget to clean up an oil Spill in a lab setting. Students had the opportunity to improve their designs and reflect on the experience. Our students also were fortunate to enjoy a presentation by PGE environmental specialist, Corey Carlson-Ham.

Water Change Time!

A few times during the trout hatching project, we need to do a partial water change to keep the ammonia levels down. Ammonia levels that are too high are harmful to trout.

Water Change Video Part 1

Water Change Video Part II

Trout Hatching Project

Last week we received our rainbow trout eggs from the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. The eggs originated from the Roaring River fish hatchery near Scio, Oregon. It did not take the eggs long to hatch. We were greeted this morning with two incubators full of 500 smiling alevins (trout with egg sacs attached) and all seem to be doing well. Over the next month students will study how trout (and other organisms) survive in ecosystems as how organisms’ external structures their functions help aid survival. More pics coming soon!

trout-eggs

Trout eggs ready to be placed in the incubator.

DCIM101GOPRO

Hatched trout eggs.

Understanding Cause & Effect Relationships in Ecosystems

Last week we began a study of ecosystems. Our students analyzed photos showing different population phenomena, as well as components in a food web, and identified resulting cause and effect relationships. This week students engage in some online ecosystem simulations and analyze the results. Students will be focusing on two essential questions throughout the unit:

  1. How does a system of living and non-living things operate to meet the needs of the organisms in the ecosystem?
  2. How and why do organisms interact with their environment, and what are the effects of these interactions?

Trout Observations

Today our students made observations about the structures and functions of the external features of rainbow trout. This is part of a larger unit on ecosystems, which has included students analyzing cause and effect relationships within food webs. Later this week we will receive rainbow trout eggs that will be raised in a classroom incubator, and our focus will shift to the role of trout in an ecosystem. Stay tuned for more on this project. Thank you, Mr. Koepke for donating the trout for our students to study!

Final Bridge Projects

Bridge Unit Final Task: Create a bridge that spans a 10 inch canyon using only 20 pieces of 9″x12″ construction paper & pieces of masking tape. Bridges are then tested using a force sensor to see if they can withstand up to 60 Newtons. It is exciting to see evidence of all the students have learned!