OH NO!! Something horrible happened to the STEAM program this year! Our group was shocked to hear that a super villain was planning to steal the STEAM curriculum. It was up to us, the students, to save STEAM, for not only ourselves, but the fate of the whole school was in our hands.
All we had to do was complete an “escape the room” style series of puzzles. Some were simple, but most of them required a lot of STEAMy thinking. We were wished good luck and sent off on our journey to save STEAM!!
Our first task was to unlock a lock by breaking a code. We got an envelope with strips of paper. There were letters on the strips of paper. We had to switch around the strips to make words that spelled numbers. Once we figured out the numbers, we opened the lock to our next clue.
The next task was building a marble run to get a marble across the table. Our group decided to use paper to make tunnels and cardboard to make a ramp. We also used paper plates for more tunnels and straws to make a bridge. We had to reconstruct some of the straw bridges for it to work. Other groups chose other solutions.
From here, we received directions written in computer code that led us on a scavenger hunt around the school. We finally found a QR code that revealed the next challenge. Our next challenge was the spaghetti challenge. We had to build a 20 inch structure using spaghetti that could hold at least one marshmallow. The materials we used were spaghetti, tape, 2 marshmallows, and string. Here are some of our creations.
After solving a short riddle that revealed the word tripod, we realized that our final challenge involved creating a stop motion animation. Each team had to create a mascot and animate it so that it looked like it was dancing.
In the last challenge, we got an index card with a turquoise circle on it. We looked around the room to find something that matched, and we found one thing written with the same marker. There was an underline on one of the posters that exact color. Our final code was the number of petals on each flower on the poster. We unlocked the final lock!
In the end, we saved the STEAM curriculum! We learned friendship, teamwork, problem solving, and strategizing and organizing our plans! We had a fun time working together and being heroes for the school! If you could create a mascot, what would it be? What are some puzzles or challenges that you have had to solve?
What causes an earthquake? An earthquake is caused by the vibration of two tectonic plates that hit each other. Each continent and ocean has a tectonic plate which moves slowly and when those plates collide, it causes an earthquake. When the plates are floating around, there is usually a gap between them called a fault line. Earthquakes are the powerful shaking of the ground caused by the collision of tectonic plates of the earth’s rocky crust. Earthquakes sometimes create new things (such as oceans, mountains, volcanoes) or destroy the things that were there before. Depending upon the severity and location (or epicenter) of the earthquake, damage results, including possibly human deaths and home destruction.
Earthquakes are measured in many ways. First, earthquakes can be measured by a seismograph, which is an instrument that detects and records the the seismic waves. Seismic waves are the vibrations that carry energy from the earthquake. Many people also use the Richter scale, which measures how much force an earthquake produces. Scientists also need to figure out how much damage results from the earthquake so they use what is called the Mercalli scale. Engineers use certain tools to help prepare for and protect against serious earthquake damage. For example, shake tables are a great tool to test out building designs. What a shake table does is test a model and replicate different levels of an earthquake. This simulation helps engineers figure out the most enduring designs for a dwelling even after an earthquake hits. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has a huge shake table and they don’t use prototypes, but actual size buildings. This shake table is one of the biggest in America.
What I constructed in school was a shake table. The reason I chose this was because it is such a useful tool. The materials I used to construct it were wire, two pieces of cardboard, a glue gun, and duct tape. The purpose of this shake table was to see which types of buildings will withstand an earthquake. Although my shake table is not comparable to the one at MIT, I think it was well constructed and had the right intent. This was a very interesting unit because I’ve always wondered about earthquakes and why they cause so much damage in some places, and not in others. Earthquakes remain a big global problem and there are many ways we can help prevent the losses and devastation that occur from the shaking ground.
Below is a video of some of the projects featured in our school wide STEAMfest. Enjoy!
The theme for this year’s STEAMfest is movement. Every class is doing different projects, using STEAM, that have to do with movement and transportation. In the eighth grade, we are building projects that use automation with a goal of helping the world to become a better place by solving a specific problem.
In our group, we are trying to solve problems that deal with food supply distribution. We wanted to solve one of the food waste issues that goes on in our school: students throwing out uneaten food. We decided to build a robot using an arduino board that would travel throughout the school. The plan is that it will pull a series of containers down the hallway. It will make a stop at each classroom so that students can either put their unwanted food in a container for other students to take or select a snack that another student left behind.
Check out the kickoff video we made to get our school excited about the upcoming STEAMfest!
For our Jewish Studies class, we had to make a chanukkiah following one specific halacha (Jewish religious law). I made a chanukkiah that follows and demonstrates one of these specific laws: oil can be reused as long as it has not been mixed with other oils.
On my chanukkiah, the candles are on a piece of wood that is on a hinge. The hinge is there so the oil can be dumped into a tinfoil tin that holds the oil. In each tinfoil cup there is a glass cup inside to hold the oil. I had many problems with my design along the way and thought I couldn’t do it. I worked hard and pulled it off. All in all, I had some issues but I worked hard and it payed off.
Have you ever run into challenges when building something? How did you handle these challenges? Tell us about your experience in the comments.
We were assigned to unclog a main artery using our research and knowledge about the circulatory system and surgeries used in real life. Unclogging the artery was the final assignment to go with the whole unit on the circulatory system. Our goal was to find a way to give space for blood to travel through an artery that contained plaque which blocked or reduced flow within the whole circulatory system. The project required us to put our own little twist in the way we determine what is best to continue a healthy blood flow.
In our project, we were given cake icing to put inside a tube which was meant to replicate a blocked artery. The replicated blocked artery was placed inside a refrigerator for 2 days to harden the frosting so it was more like plaque. While it was being hardened, we were figuring out ways to either give the blood another passage, or to spread the plaque on the outside of the artery so that the blood could flow better.
We taped two popsicle sticks side by side so they could fold over, and stuck them into the plaque buildup, creating a hole. We also used pipe cleaners to enter the tube from the side opposite the plaque buildup so that the popsicle sticks wouldn’t merely move the build up further into the artery. Next, we had a straw which we stuck beside the popsicle sticks on the side containing the plaque buildup, and blew, spreading the plaque further and around the artery, seriously thinning it out. With this method, we were spreading the plaque throughout the whole artery so that there was only a very thin layer on the outer part of the artery. After this procedure we pulled all of our equipment out which ended up creating leeway for the blood to easily travel throughout the body. We had the smoothest ‘blood’ flow, and the most ‘blood’ flowing by the end of this procedure.
The assignment we were given was to think of a procedure that would let blood travel easily through a vessel blocked with plaque. The plaque clogs the vessels, which creates a blockage and if the cells cannot pass through the vessel, a procedure needs to be taken to ensure that the body is kept healthy. We learned about several well-known surgeries and tools that remove plaque from a vessel. One of the frequently used surgeries that is used to direct the flow of blood inside vessels is coronary bypass surgery. This surgery uses another vein by attaching it to the aorta of the heart and then to the blocked vessel below the point of blockage. Some materials that are used to compress the plaque into the sides of the vessel are catheters which are sometimes used with the help of a stent. These tools expand the blockage so that blood can travel more easily to other parts of the body.
Our first plan had a few errors so as a group we decided to created a new plan to fix the blood flow. The materials we used throughout the project were a large tube resembling a vessel, a small tube taking the role of a replacement vessel, chocolate frosting representing plaque, pipe cleaners, duct tape, a cup, a rubber band, a hot glue gun, and water which was symbolizing blood. In the larger tube we spread the frosting on one end and froze it for about a week. Our original idea was to create a balloon catheter which involved a small and large tube, a finger from a glove, a few pipe cleaners, and rubberbands. We thought that if air was blown in the small tube which was attached to the balloon, the balloon would inflate, and that the flexible stent (the pipe cleaner wrapped around the balloon) would expand with the balloon. We would then take out the balloon but leave the stent pressed against the wall of the “vessel”. However, our balloon and stent did not have room to expand in the vessel. After thinking of another plan we decided to use coronary bypass surgery. We started by melting a hole into the plaque-filled vessel using a hot glue gun, and attached the replacement vein to the opening of the hole. Securing the replacement vessel with duct tape and pipe cleaners allowed the blood’s new route to work smoothly. We poured water through the top of the larger tube which flowed into the replacement vessel. The water then poured out of the small tube and into a cup. After planning and experimenting with many tools, the water successfully traveled through the vessel without any disruptions.