Frightful Fun FUNshop

Frightful Fun FUNshop:

Year round STEM enrichment opportunities

When it’s not summer, the IMSA Allies and the Statewide Student Initiatives Staff are hard at work preparing hands-on STEM experiences at our FUNshops.

On Friday the 13th of October, we held the “Frightful Fun FUNshop” here at IMSA. The night was complete with creepy-crawly hissing cockroaches and blood-sucking sea creatures.

For grades 3-4, Madacascar hissing cockroaches became test subjects as the participants experimented with different stimuli to see what really makes a cockroach scamper. The big finale was the races to see who has created the most enticing racing strategy for their roach!

Here are two of the winning teams with their roaches!

Participants in grades 5-6 learned that vampires are not the only creatures to gorge on blood! They dissected sea lampreys, ghoulish parasites known to feed off the blood of other animals, and discovered how their special anatomy makes blood the perfect meal. They then experimented with (fake) blood to learn about real blood’s cool properties… just in case anyone should turn into a vampire on this upcoming Halloween!

See below for some great shots of the night!

Grades 3-4: Cockroach Racing

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Grades 5-6: Lamprey Dissection and Blood Clotting Factors

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Springfield MicroSTEM 8-4: Applied Circuitry

Springfield MicroSTEM 8-4: Applied Circuitry

Today, in MircoSTEM, the students examined real circuits in a calculator to see how a calculator functions and explore how numbers are displayed. Students focused on the display of the calculator, in particular how numbers are displayed using a 7-segment display.

Ask your student: What type of numerical display do most four function calculators have? (7-segment) What type of numerical display do most graphing calculators have? (Dot matrix)

Springfield Engineering Explorations 8-4: Rube Goldberg Competition

Springfield Engineering Explorations 8-4: Rube Goldberg Competition

Today students finished their Rube Goldberg machines, and took turns demonstrating them to the rest of the class! Using the Rube Rubric, each team was evaluated for the competition, and had the opportunity to observe all the different machines that were made.

Ask your student: How well did your Rube Goldberg machine perform?

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Springfield STEMvironment 8/4: Air Pollution

Springfield STEMvironment 8/4: Air Pollution

Students today worked as scientists working for the environmental protection agency! As agents of the EPA, students collected their particle collectors, and observed the materials that were collected. By joining the data of the entire class, we were able to map the areas of greatest air pollution, and evaluate just where the most pollution occurred.

 Ask your student: What gas do we need to breathe to survive? (Oxygen) What is the best way to deal with air pollution? (Prevention) What is done to clean air we breathe indoors? (Air filtration)


Springfield Engineering Explorations 8-3: Racing Against the Sun

Springfield Engineering Explorations 8-3: Racing Against the Sun

Today, our engineers explored how their knowledge could be applied to the real world, by building solar cars! In this first part of a two part lesson, the students tested how different types of light effected their motors. Then, they got the wheel rolling by creating the body of their solar cars. Tomorrow they’ll complete their cars and put them to the test!

Ask your student: What is a solar cell? (It’s the “battery” of the car; it converts light into energy)

Fun fact:  The first solar cars were built in the 1950’s.

Springfield STEMvironment 8/3: Pond Water!

Springfield STEMvironment 8/3: Pond Water!

Today, in STEMvironment, the students analyzed samples of water from a local pond to look for insect nymphs which can be seen with the naked eye. Students learned the importance of a healthy ecosystem and that in aquatic ecosystems, the more diverse the organisms in a body of water, the more vibrant and healthy it is. Using this knowledge, students could analyze the health of the ecosystem from which the water sample was gathered.

Ask your student: What is a macroinvertebrate? (A small animal without a backbone that can be seen without a stereoscope or microscope)

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Springfield MicroSTEM 8-3: Magnifying Microscopes

Springfield MicroSTEM 8-3: Magnifying Microscopes

Today, the investigation of different kinds of magnifying devices continued. Students got the chance to go outside and collect various samples of their choice. After collection, the samples were brought inside to be analyzed with a compound light microscope. Students also reviewed the various parts of a compound microscope, and the importance of each part in the function of the microscope as a whole.

Ask your student: What similarities and differences did you notice when you were using the different tools for magnification (MicroPhone lens, hand lens, compound light microscope, and stereoscope)?

Springfield Engineering Explorations 8/2: A Series of Circuitous Events

Springfield Engineering Explorations 8/2: A Series of Circuitous Events

In this lesson, our engineers applied the knowledge they learned earlier in the week in a race to assemble two different types of circuits, parallel and series. Their creativity really lit up the room as they explored the difference between these two circuit types by powering LED lights in each of these styles.

Ask your student: What is the main difference between parallel and series circuits? (Only one path in a series circuit; parallel there are multiple paths) Which circuit style causes voltage drop? (series)

Fun Fact: Refrigerators, freezers, and water heaters use series circuits while electrical outlets in a room, house, or building use parallel circuits.

Springfield STEMvironment 8/2: Solar Power!

Springfield STEMvironment 8/2: Solar Power!

In class today, students learned how to apply the principles of solar energy, and how to run good tests of their solar device. Students created a solar oven that harnessed the power of the sun’s light to heat and cook marshmallows! By collecting data of their ovens’ temperature and then graphing it, students were able to compare their ovens, and discover some of the principles behind solar heating.

 Ask your student: What happened to the temperature inside the oven? (It increased) What part of the oven kept the heat in? (The black paper) What part reflected the heat inside of the oven? (The foil, which acted as a mirror)