Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bacteria Busters

We have some Bacteria Busters in our school. Some 2nd grade students would like to find out what locations in our school have the most bacteria. This video will help them learn how to collect samples.
Check out Science Bob's Blog.

Monday, January 28, 2013

2013 Future City--Chicago

Have you ever imagined a place where cars can drive UNDER buses?  Would you like to live in an apartment building that turns one rotation during a 24 hour period?  What is the best renewable energy source for a city of the future?  How can we reduce storm water pollution?   These are all questions that students asked themselves while preparing for the Future City competition.

 The Future City Competition is a national, project-based learning experience where students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade imagine, design, and build cities of the future. Students work as a team with an educator and engineer mentor to plan cities using SimCity™ 4 Deluxe software; research and write solutions to an engineering problem; build tabletop scale models with recycled materials; and present their ideas before judges at Regional Competitions in January. Regional winners represent their region at the National Finals in Washington, DC in February (  This year's theme is "Rethink Runoff -Design clean solutions to manage stormwater pollution."

Two St. Clair Junior High Challenge classes participated in Chicago's regional competition held Saturday, January 26 at the University of Illinois Chicago.    Both teams chose city locations with highly polluted rivers because of this year's theme.  The 7th grade team chose to build their city near Jakarta, Indonesia.  Their focus was to clean up the Citarum River, thus the name of their city--New Citarum.  The 8th grade team chose to build their city in Argentina, near the Rio de la Plata.  The Matanza-Riachuelo runs into the Rio de la Plata, and it has been affectionately called the "Chunky Lung" river by my students because 21% of the pollution comes from the meat, tannery, and dairy industry dumping blood, and internal organs into the river.

As a top 5 contender, the Ciudad de Agua Pura team shared their future city vision on the main stage. The 8th grade team placed third overall and won several awards including the "Best Virtual City," " Best City Promotion," and the "Peer Award."  7th grade students won the award for "Most Inclusive Community Promoting Work-life Balance."

For more information, you can go to the Future City link:

The 8th grade Future City Team, "Ciudad de Agua Pura" poses with their mentor, Angel Ramos.  Angel is an Airport Engineer for the Spirit of St. Louis Airport.  He is also a member of the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE).  MSPE sponsored our teams, and they donated $600 for supplies and transportation.  Thank you Mr. Ramos and thank you MSPE!
Younger students enjoy looking at the models.

New Citarum
Ciudad de Agua Pura
Waiting for the "Orange Line"

Willis Tower Sky Deck

Ed Debevic's

Electrical Problems
Preliminary Judging---Talking with Special Award's Judges

The Final Round

New Citarum--7th Grade

Ciudad de Agua Pura--8th Grade

Friday, January 11, 2013

Riveting Robots

What spins, floats, and wobbles?  Our robots of course!  Fourth grade students built three robots this week.   Check them out!

The Quicker Picker-Upper

What brand of paper towel is the strongest and/or most absorbent?  My first and second grade tested four brands of paper towels for strength and absorbency this week.  They tested Viva, Bounty, Always Save, and Sparkle.  Which do you think is the strongest?  Which do you think is the most absorbent? We'll post our results next week.

Students first recorded the price of each paper towel roll.

Then, they used their senses to observe the paper towels.

Next, they measured them for strength using a spring scale.

They also tested them for absorbency. 

Students recorded their data in their scientific notebooks.