Full STEAM Ahead

June 10, 2017 at 6:57 pm (MATH, News, Science)

Full STEAM Ahead

Thank You Lowes

The idea behind project Full STEAM Ahead is to renovate an existing classroom into a full functioning lab encompassing areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM). The STEAM lab will serve as a hub for all elementary grade levels offering students an opportunity to create, explore through hands-on experiences, and develop critical thinking skills. The lab will be a meeting point for science clubs (robotics, environmental stewards, marine biologists, and horticulturalists). This lab will provide professional development for staff allowing homeroom teachers, specialized educators, and the STEAM facilitator to blend teaching styles and correlate on the development of lessons and activities related to the elementary curriculum-standards, as well as create cross-curricular strands allowing grade levels to intermingle on similar topics and provide a greater depth of learning. The STEAM lab will provide educators the opportunity to co-teach and students alternative methods to learn from one another. One of the STEAM lab’s objectives will fulfill multiple facets of learning. This being that all students have access to various forms of technology in which they can voice their findings and discoveries on social media platforms, learn to code and operate robotics, track and record data for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, while also being able to explore by means of interactive digital labs, and supplementing as a resource for research. Another objective is for our students to increase their understanding in science and mathematics and become proficient learners in these areas. Overall the goal of this renovation project is to have each student increase their appetite for one of the many fields science has to offer, and peak those interests by supplying these young inquisitive minds with an environment that engages and stimulates.

 

The vision of this renovation will host a recording studio for students to express themselves artistically by way of digital medium.  Students will have the ability to podcast, create digital content such as videos, or design augmented reality aurasmas. A dark room will be constructed for vermiculture study. An interactive whiteboard and projector will be allow for students to research while simultaneously manipulate digital labs.  Storage will be added to house robotics, manipulatives for math activities, along with science equipment.  Pegboard walls and removable crates will be wall mounted to aid in the utilization of maximum space for storing equipment and tools.  A chemical storage cabinet will be wall mounted to keep non consumable materials safely secure and out of reach when not in use.  A recessed wall mounted pull down eye rinse will be included as an added safety measure.  A display section will be created to bear experiments and projects, as well as hold ecosystems such as terrariums and aquariums (salt and fresh water) for observation.  A magnetic wall will be installed for exploratory learners, and a track will be fixed to the ceiling operating a moon model as it travels on the orbital path.  The ceiling tiles will each be painted to match the periodic table along with examples of how each element is used as a human resource.  PVC pipe will be mounted and run along the lab for students to explore auditory senses and manipulate sound energy.  For shelving of science related books, we will have a builtin tree shaped bookcase.  To maintain debris awareness, an acrylic container will be fixed to a wall.

Timeline

June 7th, 2017 Lowe’s Home Improvement (Cape Carteret Branch) presented the $50, 852.21 grant to begin renovation of our classroom into a functional STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) lab.  News footage is below.

WNCT Channel 9

Carteret Time News Article

June 13th, 2017 Lowe’s Volunteers come to prime and paint the classroom Sonic Blue.  The before . . .

The during . . .

Lowe’s volunteers Liz and Lisa primed the walls covering the once purple, eggshell white, and dark blue cinder blocks.  I scraped liquid nail that once held the bulletin board (which will be moved to the opposite side of the classroom)  and removed the bathroom railings and dispensers (these were sent back to Central Office HQ).  Also on this day our friend Al Sirkin from ENC Creations (ENC-Creations via instagram and twitter) stopped in to measure the section where the magnetic wall will hang.  The plans for the magnetic wall will be to bend the metal around corner of the wall to the storage room (see pic of Lisa priming blue wall below), paint it black, punch out spots for the door stop and air control box, and cut terms; magnetic, attract, repel, iron, ore, and +, – symbols at the top of the wall.  There will also be a rubber edge run along the side of the metal to prevent kiddos from cutting themselves.  Lowe’s  customized a tree bookcase which is in the first stages of development.

 

 

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Erosion Engineering

January 29, 2017 at 9:00 am (News, Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Alright stop!   Collaborate and listen.  The Little V’s are back with a brand new invention.  Vantaztic Learning has some mad skills on the mic, but even I can’t touch the brilliance that came from these young problem-solvers.  Your mind will be blown back to the 90’s to when we thought this track was solid,

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as you listen to these clever devils collaborate.  See the thought process unfold for yourself as the scientists explain how their prototypes will slow beach erosion.

Makerspaces Engineering Erosion Project

Some background info for our readers:  The kids spent a day to design a blueprint of how their idea would look and created a write up of how it works.

Makerspaces Engineering

Day two (this day) was focused on creation of their sketch.  Next week they will test their project to see if it does in fact work, and if for some reason not, back to the drawing board.  For our fourth event day, we’ve invited a couple of professionals from our local community with background knowledge and first hand experience in beach renourishment to visit and listen to the students as they present their ideas, discuss the successes and drawbacks of the pretesting, and share their improvements.  Suppose we’ll have to wait to add more until testing and discussion take place, so for now . . . hit the hi-hat.  Word to your mother.

Makerspaces Engineering
Makerspaces Engineering

 

Makerspaces Engineering

We’re back and ready to share what worked and what needed modifications.  Our guest shall be here at the end of the month.  Enjoy, we’ll back after this paid programming announcement.

Erosion Wave Model

 

Engineering a Way to Slow Erosion
Wave Erosion Testing

2/23/17 Mr. Rudolph, “Rudi”, stopped in to listen to the young minds share their ideas and models to prevent beach erosion.  Mr. Rudi works for the Carteret County Shoreline Protection in Emerald Isle, NC.  He shared how to combat the erosion issue with the method Carteret County uses, dredging sand onto the beaches.  Fun Fact:  Sand is classified as sand if it is between 1/16-2 mm in size, any larger and it is mud, and then gravel.  Fun Fact:  An average of 1 million cubic yards are pumped onto the beach for a given project.  Fun Fact:  If sand is the erosion problem, then the solution is sand, putting it back to where it belongs.  The kids were engaged and developed terrific questions such as, “Would my hurt the environment?”, “How much sand is used to dredge back onto the beach?”, “How do you know when too much erosion is happening?”, and “What is your favorite part of your job?”.  Super way to end the week.  We are definitely spoiled to have so many resources at our fingertips.

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Whale Look What We’ve Got Here

November 3, 2016 at 4:10 pm (Science)

Vantaztic Learning is back after a hiatus of conferences, workshops, spartan races, and finalizing grades.  So much has happened since last we blogged, and this post is going to go in so many different directions, but we’ll eventually get back to one point.  Get the GPS handy to follow this one . . .

The Little V’s have extensively researched population changes and different species of whales, as well as how people impact the population of these large mammals.  We learned that right whales are slow and unattentive swimmers.  Sounds like people that drive while operating their phones (oh, did I just call you out?).  Due to their obliviousness and sloth like speed, these whales are easy targets for boat propellers.

This steered the learning machine into the area of what people are doing to cause this change in population.  Some thought slowing the boats down would help, while others argued that this would cause problems for businesses and they’d lose money due to time constraints with shipping items.

Now we steer in another direction: leading us to how and why populations change.  We’re still reading passages via Discovery Ed, checking out video streams, and completing interactive labs.  Huge thanks to Dr. Seuss, as we streamed the Lorax to find the benefits and negative effects of the Oncler’s invention of thneeds which everyone, everyone, everyone needs, as well as the result of population increase/decrease in the forest and baby booming community.  Dr. Seuss such an intuitive individual, saw issues long before they were $5.00 buzz words or a debatable topic for presidential crooks, I mean candidates.

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(credited illustration of Dr. Seuss)

So, a group of young minds had to decide what to do when an invasive species is let loose in the school.  How would they handle this situation you might ask?  What was their plan?  Well, you can read about our student’s point of view via our kidblog link here.

Back to whaling:  The kiddos put their  compare and contrast skills to the test by exploring two life sized baleen whales and reading facts about them (sperm whales and narwhals).

compare-whale

We also had a visitor from our good friend Dr. Thayer of the NC Central Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network, CMAST, & Division of Marine Fisheries.  She had the kids brainstorm what items they would take with them to rescue a whale, then shared the gear to perform the rescue.  Below is a picture of the kids holding a piece of baleen that came from a baby right whale off of our NC coast.  The baleen from this baby is close to six feet in length.

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So what is next . . .?  We’ve completed writing about our invented birds and will begin to type those out.  It is possible that you will be able to read these once we’ve created QR codes and an aurasma overlay for video presentations.  If you didn’t understand a word I just typed I promise these are real terms and not from Dr. Seuss.  You’ll soon see.

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Oysters: Nature’s Natural Britta Filter

September 24, 2016 at 9:00 am (Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Busy week for the Little V’s.  We’ve engulfed the concept of adapting and how certain traits allow living things to survive depending on the conditions they live in.  By doing this the young scientists created their own fictional bird, incorporating a style of beak, wings, feet, legs, and color that would suite the needs of their environment.  The outline and artwork is complete and will be displayed in the class.  We’re going to tie in some augmented reality tech to this project (which is like virtual reality).  Maybe we could have a gallery night, let me look into that.

Adding Oysters

Filtering Plankton

Oyster

 

This week we also learned about how rough it is to be a sea turtle and the measures they must take to survive.  Students role played in this game of tag as land and sea predators were out to get those selected as the sea turtles.  Turtles had to complete three rounds in the obstacle course, grabbing a food/life token each time.  However, due to the effects humans play on the environment some of those tokens (unbeknownst to the turtles) were microplastics.  When turtles consume these they either choke or disrupt their buoyancy making it difficult if not impossible to dive for food or away from predators.

Sea Turtle Survival

 

Estuaries: Detritus Feeders

Then we revisited how estuaries play a vital role in our ecosystem and local communities.  The Aquaculture Technology Department at the Carteret Community College was more than radical to allow us to borrow some tanks, a few gallons of salt water, filters, plankton, and oysters to demo how these mother earth britta’s filter.  Science fact: one oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day.  And I thought I drank alot (of water.  Water folks.  I drink alot of water).  This was definitely a hit.  We loaded one tank with ten oysters, the other with fifty five, poured in the plankton and sat back to observe.  It was amazing to see how fast they cleared the tanks of the murky plankton paste.  Above are the scientists pantomiming detritus predators.  Can you guess which one is a fiddler crab, egret, raccoon, or red drum?

Oyster Filtration

These young minds had indepth observational insight in their journaling today.  Impressed with their outlook on today’s activity.  So what’s next?  Tons.  Literally.  We’ll be “swimming” with whales by the end of October.  Stay tuned.

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Coastal Connections: Science in the Field to the Classroom

June 4, 2016 at 9:00 am (Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Below is a thinglink I have concocted to sum up the outreach events and partnering of local organizations relating to the field of science in which the students from the tail end of last year to the current roster have been a part of.  The roster of students of 2015-2016 have had been exposed to so many incredible resources that make our community.  It is uncommon for such a small place to have the vast amount of people working in related fields of environmental, biological, and physical sciences as it does.  These children have had more interaction with scientists throughout the school year than the peers from any region, making them stewards for our community and hopefully sparking a curiosity to pursue a career in a related science field.  In this case, it is good to be spoiled.

None of this could have been possible if it were not for a.) my colleague Lauren Daniel whispering in my ear to join her in this quest with the COHORT and b.) also the Center for Marine Science and Technology (CMAST) to put me in contact with groups such as the Coastal Reserve, Coastal Federation, NOAA, and Duke Lab (to name a few).  This thinglink will serve as my introduction to the National Marine Educators Association in Orlando, FL this summer.  I think the viewers will be impressed with what these young minds have experienced and created because of those experiences.  Please leave comments below if you feel the thinglink lacks explanation.  Just keep in mind these are only captions and I’ll be explaining the activities in depth.  I can always do the same in the comment section.  Thank you and enjoy.

 

 

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Exploring Circuits

March 9, 2016 at 8:00 am (Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We’ve spent some time reading and exploring how to create a static charge.  We now know (I hope we remember) static means to stay still,  We’ve also added current (move), discharge (empty), and insulator (protect) into our repertoire.

We also have predicted and tested items that can conducts electricity vs those that will not.  Last week I attended NCTIES (nerd tech convention) and met a scientist named Steve Spangler, who seems to be on the Ellen Degeneres Show quite a bit.  Cool tidbit, his father invented fake blood.  See any movie ever?  Yeah, that’s his dad’s fake blood on the screen.  He said he was stoked seeing Jaws and thinking how all that blood came from his mom’s nine blenders in their basement.

 

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Anyway  . . .

Thanks to Mr. Spangler, we now have an Energy Stick (find them on Amazon) in which we conducted circuits, safely, through the human body.   We were able to make a class circuit with 4th and 3rd grade combined.  Next we’ll take a scavenger hunt throughout the school to find items that will conduct, allow to pass, electrical currents.  Then we’ll create squishy circuits (home made batches of play-dough) to explore more fun with electricity.  There are recipes for batches that will conduct and those that serve as insulators.  4AA Battery packs  ($2.48 per pack) will be in need – we only have one.  May have to get a Kickstarter or GoFundMe! Enjoy the learning.

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Marine Debris

February 26, 2016 at 3:03 pm (Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Ask your kid what marine debris is, where it is found, and how it effects our oceans and I’ll bet you’ll receive a wealth of information.  The Coastal Federation visited us today to teach the kids about this topic, and how long it takes for given items to break down over time.  They also learned how litter effects marine life, easily mistaking it for food.  The students created a timeline, offering each item of trash by how long it took to break down.  The Coastal Fed had a follow up activity for us to try.  It would be great to incorporate technology with this topic and have those students that own a tablet, smartphone, or camera to snap shots of litter in their neighborhood keeping track of the amount of litter that could potentially make it’s way to our waterways.  Hopefully they’d pick it up (that around the house/neighborhood) and dispose of it in the appropriate container.

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Echolocation & Interpreting Data

January 9, 2016 at 2:06 pm (Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Thanks to the good folks at the Center for Marine Sciences & Technology (@CMAST) and The Science House (@THS_CMAST) for loaning their Vernier technology, allowing our young minds to  . . . a.) explore how bats and dolphins use echolocation, detecting distances of objects based on reflecting sound.  & b.) interpreting data waves results.

b

The Go!Motion devices were very simple to use, just a USB plugin into the back of the chromebook, and operated smoothly by downloading a free app known as Logger Lite.  Our first day we became familiar with operation of Go!Motion by placing a book or hand in front of the screen and then raising it away and/or towards quickly and/or slowly, the data is tracked as the motions are made.  The device serves as a bat while the object moving is the insect.  They were able to distinguish when a bat would determine if another object were near or far away by the rise or decline in the graph.

For the next act students took turns operating and standing in place to find the distances (marking points) of half a meter and 2 meters in which the kids had to interpret where they were standing and adjust position to the correct measurement.  These marking points served for the experiments of walking away from and toward Go!Motion.  A neat-o feature is the zoom in on the graph, allowing the kids to see if they ruffled their pant leg or twitched a finger while standing still.  It was a real eye opener to see the bounces in the waves according to the slightest movements.  The jumping up and down activity was a hit.  According to the wave data we might have some high fliers by the time they are in their teens.  Just throwing that out their for any college basketball or high jump recruiters that stumbled upon our blog. Cough, hint coach Painter #boilermakers.

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Yep, More Glaciers

November 7, 2015 at 9:00 am (Science) (, , , , , , )

Ever wonder how a glacier is formed?  Well the perks to being in this line of work, I get to learn about all interesting ponderings (is this a word?) such as this.  So let’s break it down.  Glaciers are gigantic conglomerates of rocks and ice.  When a layer of snow is deposited, added, to a glacier it freezes.  As more of these sheets of ice build up it adds weight to the mass and then creates movement.  Well, gravity helps aid this too.  Then once in motion, just like the bottom of your shoes, glaciers pick up dust and rock particles.  However, these dust and rock particles relatively speaking are the size of automobiles and houses.  It’s a continuous collection of snow, ice, and rock debris.  You can see from the models below the terminus, outer edge or end, of a glacier marked by the sharpie outline.  You’ll also notice erratics, globs of boulders left behind, and moraine (rock particles left in the wake).

 

Totally unrelated . . . Huge shout out to Rylie for rocking it in the Estuaries Poster Contest, bringing in 3rd overall in the 4th grade.  Her work was displayed at the local Lowes Foods Grocery and prominently put up in front of our room for all other aspiring artistic environmentalist to envy.

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Two for One:  Rylie wanted to give props to Ry for the photobomb.

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Coastal Federation

October 23, 2015 at 3:22 pm (News, Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Kristen Daly is a marine biologist that works in the educational department from the Coastal Federation right down the block from BSES.  She visited our class today to stress the importance of how storm water run off causes erosion and carries fertilizers and pesticides, not to forget litter, into our water ways.  The students each had a chance to add some type of consequence from the human footprint.  If only you could have been a fly in the room listening to them discuss and tie in topics of deforestation, erosion, conserving resources, being environmentally aware.  At times I wonder if they are listening.  Today proved not only that they are, but they’re also taking steps necessary to make life changes.  Yeah we recycle, but they also compost snacks, pick litter up around campus on their own accord, and are now voicing their awareness via blogging (click here to check out their stuff).  It is impressive for one so young to take charge.  As Stan Lee would say, “true believer.”

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