Growing From the S.T.E.M. – Nita & Alex | PPL 7-8th graders

In addition to being full-time students, Alex and I both do research with our professors. We had the chance to talk a bit about our research projects in the introduction.

In addition to being full-time students, Alex and I do research with our professors. We had the chance to talk a bit about our research projects in the introduction.

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Ms. Maria, a Mac grad, tries out the methane soap bubbles

Ms. Maria, a Mac grad, tries out the methane soap bubbles

Alex sets up the bottle rocket, which we launched on the steps of the Olin-Rice science building

Alex sets up the bottle rocket, which we launched on the steps of the Olin-Rice science building

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Growing From the S.T.E.M. – Nita & Alex | PPL 4th graders

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After learning about the digestive system, the students were assigned an organ and worked together to create their own (which we agreed was more colorful and less smelly) digestive system.

After learning about the digestive system, the students were assigned an organ and worked together to create their own (which we agreed was more colorful and less smelly) digestive system.

During a break, we watched part of a Macalester vs. Carleton women's basketball game (Ms. Maria and Ms. Mari Jos' alma maters!)

During a break, we watched part of a Macalester vs. Carleton women’s basketball game (Ms. Maria and Ms. Mari Jos’ alma maters!)

Lab safety was strongly emphasized and the kids always wore safety goggles and ear plugs, if appropriate. Safety looks good!

Lab safety was strongly emphasized and the kids always wore safety goggles and ear plugs, if appropriate. Safety looks good!

Some Homework 'n' Hoops mentors were able to come on their field trip - many of them are Mac grads!

Some Homework ‘n’ Hoops mentors were able to come on their field trip – many of them are Mac grads!

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Sometime a lot of concentration is involved...

Sometime a lot of concentration is involved…

...But they generally end up pleased

…But they generally end up pleased

Later in the session, Larry, the IGCSC Chair and chemistry major, joined us and tried out the demonstration

Later in the session, Larry, the IGCSC Chair and chemistry major, joined us and tried out the demonstration

Growing From the S.T.E.M. – Nita & Alex | PPL 5/6th graders

On January 19th, we worked with 5 and 6th graders from Homework and Hoops, the youth program from Project in Pride and Living.

A lot of people say that science is hard, but with a decent background, one can start from the beginning to work through and problem solve scientific ideas.

Alex had a great idea to use origami as a metaphor for science. Like with some scientific ideas, trying to figure out how to build a complicated origami project without any instruction or background is daunting. However, if you start from the beginning and learn the basic steps, then you can .

Alex first taught the students, step by step, how to build an origami swan. We then gave them pre-made origami cups and asked them to make observations and recreate them. Overall, our goal was to help them understand that science builds up on itself and if they understood basic scientific ideas they could eventually build on that knowledge to understand more complicated concepts.

Students test out their origami cups, which they built only by making observations on a pre-made cup.

Students test out their origami cups, which they built only by making observations on a pre-made cup.

Alex uses balloons to help students visualize different atom sizes and how this affects their reactivity.

Alex uses balloons to help students visualize different atom sizes and how this affects their reactivity.

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Students perform mini experiments by adding vinegar to baking soda and making observations on what they smell and see

Students perform mini experiments by adding vinegar to baking soda and making observations on what they smell and see

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Students taste carbon dioxide gas, which they observed tasted a lot of "plain soda"

Students taste carbon dioxide gas, which they observed tasted a lot of “plain soda”

Students making observations of the candle - one activity they did while learning about flammable vapors

Students making observations of the candle – one activity they did while learning about flammable vapors

Alex demonstrates how vapor is flammable, but not liquids

Alex demonstrates how vapor is flammable, but not liquids

...Then they got to try it themselves

…Then they got to try it themselves

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"Oh my god" was a popular response

“Oh my god” was a popular response

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