Friday, May 27, 2016

Middle School Science Competition Has Exciting Projects

 Here's coverage of this story from GeekWire:
Five teams from the school — including seven girls and one boy — are competing in a science showdown that will draw about 150 teams from across the 52,000-student district.

Among the contenders were Carmen Olsen and Erin Hunt with a project called: “Which Would You Live In? A Study of Four Common Architectural Home Designs in an Experimental Wind Tunnel.”
Last year the girls were captivated by experiments testing fluid dynamics by measuring the speed of differently-shaped objects sinking inside columns of water.

In an age where there is so much focus on testing “we turn the standards into an opportunity to explore your passions,” he said.  (This is referring to teacher, Craig Parsley.)

And the pursuit of passions can pay off: The girls who were inspired to do the wind tunnel-tests won their school fair in the science category.

A student named Nyjel Sebastian won the engineering category for experiments in which he tried to create a low-cost fertilizer to boost food production using urine and fire ash for ingredients.
The other three Boren STEM K-8 teams going to the district competition include:
  • Evalinn Kas and Nita Han, who conducted a water-quality study along West Seattle’s Longfellow Creek.
  • Katya Fox and Raeya Logue with experiments examining the hydrodynamic forces affecting fish swimming in fresh versus salt water.
  • And Eva Herdener who built the filter that attaches to lawn mowers and captures carbon particulate matter. 
I note that both STEM schools need more partnerships like this and I'm hoping to try to jumpstart a couple more of them.

From SPS:
Among the Seattle Public Schools middle school students vying for science and engineering supremacy at Thursday’s district-wide science and engineering fair are a pair of 6th grade girls from Louisa Boren STEM K-8, who helped devise a fully functional wind tunnel in partnership with Seattle-based engineering firm McKinstry.

Demonstrations of the wind tunnel---which measures 24 feet long and 20 inches in diameter—will be held at Thursday’s competition.

To earn a spot at the district science and engineering fair, the Louisa Boren students won a science fair at their own school last week, testing model tower cranes—like the kinds dotting Seattle’s skyline—for structural integrity within the wind tunnel. This Thursday marks Louisa Boren STEM K-8’s first foray into the annual Seattle Public Schools event.

The wind tunnel project has already furthered the school’s curriculum by enabling students to simulate the effects of hurricane conditions on typical dwellings. Next year, the wind tunnel will be used to model the physics of air motion, as well as kinetic and mechanical energy transformations.

The 6th graders at Louisa Boren—who are also members of the school’s aeronautical engineering club—came up with the idea for the wind tunnel as a way to test shapes in moving air. They asked teacher Craig Parsley to make it happen. Parsley, with 20 years of engineering experience, drafted a design concept and presented it to engineers at McKinstry. In partnership with the school, McKinstry offered to build the wind tunnel free of charge and teamed up with local supplier Dorse to provide many of the materials. McKinstry engineers also provided classroom instruction.  
The district will hold a showing of 150 science projects for the Middle School Science & Engineering Fair on Thursday, June 2nd  at 5pm at the Museum of Flight. 


Anonymous said...

Awesome news! Especially given that stupid testing has narrowed the curriculum so that many kids don't get science or merely read science. So different from actually "doing" science.


Anonymous said...

So, why do I have a middle school student, but had no idea that the district even HAS an annual middle school science fair? Maybe something to ask the teachers about about next year. How many schools participate in this?

Mom of 4

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