STEM LAB SCHEDULE
Stem schedule for students ages 5 to 7
The students in this age group work on the following activities in groups of four or less. The same projects will not be repeated throughout the weeks. Students who attend multiple weeks will enjoy new stem projects each week related to the theme for the week.
WEEKS 1, 5, & 9 - Intro to science
Students learn what plants need in order to grow, build a barometer, see how water climbs, watch plants sweat, and investigate plant propagation. Discover how a magnifying glass enlarges, how colors mix, how static electricity attracts, how sundials tell time, and how a motion picture works. Students I]investigate air pressure, air flow, hovercraft, paper airplanes, and suction. They write secret messages, float a paper clip, blow super bubbles, observe capillary action, and test displacement. They build a soap-driven boat, mix oil and water, experiment with evaporation, paint with sugar, and watch a balloon inflate itself.
WEEKS 2& 6 - intro to engineering
Students start by learning some engineering basics with experiments on levers, forces, and pulleys. They build simple devices using these basic components. Then, students move on to explore engineering on land by building vehicles with wheels, such as a race car and a wind-up car. Next, they investigate engineering with air (and in the air) by building a helicopter, a pinwheel, a parachute, a glider, a balloon rocket, and an air-powered carousel. Then, they build a diving bell, a sailboat, and a paddle boat to experiment with engineering in water.
WEEKS 3 & 7 - the science behind magic
Students explore scientific occurrences and principles by doing exciting magic tricks. The tricks include levitating objects, making objects appear as if to move on their own, gravity-defying water, magically puncturing an apple with a flimsy plastic straw, a magical funnel that won’t let water through, resting a balloon on a bed of nails without it popping, disappearing water, a magical balancing butterfly, levitating a funnel on a string, and a magic box that makes objects disappear.
Weeks 4 & 8 - the human body
Students will learn about the human body by doing experiments with their five senses that show them how their body works. By exploring the external aspects of their body with hands-on experiments, students will learn a lot about the inside anatomy of the body. Students will examine their fingerprints to learn how they are unique. Students will build a stethoscope and listen to their heartbeat to learn how their heart pumps blood and listen to their gurgling tummy to learn how their stomach works. With the stethoscope, students investigate how their ears hear with a listening game and a sound memory experiment. Students test their lung capacity to learn about how their lungs work. Students examine their diet and their digestive functions to learn how their body processes nutrients to give them the energy to do more experiments!
Stem schedule for students ages 8+
The students in this age group work in groups of three students. The students in these groups must be able to work together to follow step-by-step directions to accomplish the mission of the group. Students are randomly chosen for stations each week; therefore, students will not be allowed to choose their stations. Students will be randomly chosen for stations they have not yet visited. Students remain at the same station for a week. On Mondays, a student may trade stations with another student as long as both students are interested in the trade. If a student is not present at the beginning of STEM on Monday, they can't participate in the trade.
STATION 1: Gaming & coding
Students connect the physical and digital worlds! Students use a gamepad to play through 15 fun game levels on a tablet. They can plug one of four sensorbots into the gamepad to activate its special powers. Level by level, students learn the basics of the Arduino programming language! Then, students apply their new programming knowledge in cool projects!
STATION 2: Battery electric vehicle (BEV)
Students build and experiment with a new type of environmentally friendly “fuel cell” to learn about electrochemical cells and BEV’s. Students build different models and power them with this special battery. Students experiment with different concentrations of salt to see how long a battery can run. Last, students learn about electrochemistry and battery technology.
STATION 3: MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Students build mechanical models of the types of arms, grabber claws, and legs found on robotic machines. Students explore mechanical engineering principles firsthand as they assemble and play with these working models. The models use a pneumatic system which uses air pressure to activate the models. Student will construct a pivoting robotic laboratory arm with gripper claw. They assemble an extra-long grabber claw to pick up things that are just out of reach. They build a vertical three-fingered claw that can lift a cup up off the table keeping it level. They experiment with models of robotic exoskeleton arms and legs. And students make a compact grabber claw that they can slip into their shirt sleeve to pretend they have a robotic hand.
STATION 4: STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING
Students learn the basics of structural engineering by conducting a series of model-building experiments. Each model demonstrates a basic principle of mechanical physics or structural engineering in a hands-on way. Students start out with small models that demonstrate how structural elements can be attached together to maximize the strength of a structure for a fixed amount of material used. Then they onto build more complex models of trusses, roofs, and small buildings. They experiment with different types of bridge construction: a truss bridge, arch bridge, cantilever bridge, rope bridge, and suspension bridge. Finally, they build models of towering skyscrapers. Students learn about the strength and stiffness of materials. They see how structural engineers optimize factors to maximize safety and minimize cost and the risk of structural failure.
STATION 5: MAGNETS
Students experiment to determine which materials are magnetic and which are not. They learn about magnetic poles and magnetic fields. They discover how the Earth behaves like one giant magnet, and how we use compasses to take advantage of this phenomenon to determine which way is north. They conduct a series of experiments to learn first hand how magnets behave and interact under different conditions. Students make invisible magnetic fields visible using iron filings in an enclosed transparent box. And, students build an electromagnet to learn how electricity relates to magnetism.
STATION 6: SCULPTURES
Students build three-dimensional sculptural art. They start by building a basic framework for a sculpture using just balloons and wire. With the help of paper and plaster bandages, they can give their sculpture a visually appealing outer surface. The result is unique characters, animals, or other sculptures that can be painted with water-based paints to make them come to life.
STATION 7: SMART MACHINES - ROBOTICS
Students receive a simple, fun, and customizable introduction to robotics that lets them build motorized machines controlled by programs and an ultrasound sensor. Students code the programs using an easy, visual programming app on a tablet, which connects to the robot models via a wireless Bluetooth connection.
STATION 8: REMOTE CONTROL MACHINES
Students build motorized vehicles and machines and control them with a wireless remote control unit. Students assemble models demonstrating different ways in which the motors can be used including a three-wheeled car, bat-bot, stag beetle, robot, battle car, ball collector car, forklift, tunneling vehicle, truck, drilling machine, crane, and robotic arm.
STATION 9: the Magic show
Students learn, practice, and master tricks and illusions to amaze an audience. Solid metal rings miraculously link up and unlink again. A magical water glass delivers some amazing illusions: A handkerchief materializes out of the empty glass, water changes color in the glass, liquid turns into fabric, and one playing card inexplicably changes into another. Coins jump around and astound observers in fun money cup illusions. Dots appear and disappear in paddle tricks. Knots in ropes appear and disappear, a rope gets cut but stays intact, knots jump from rope to rope, a rope is pulled out of thier mouth, and ropes pass through solid objects.
Demonstrations and Special Activities
Week 1: Sheep Organ Dissection
Using a preserved sheep heart, a preserved sheep brain, a preserved sheep kidney, and a preserved sheep eye (all four included), students explore the interdependence of organ systems and investigate the specific structures and functions of each organ.
Week 3: DNA Lab activity
A fun and fascinating laboratory activity not only shows students how to isolate human genomic DNA, it lets them create DNA necklaces they can actually wear. Students extract DNA by lysing their cheek cell sample, then watch as wispy white strands of their own DNA precipitate out of a solution containing ethanol. After transferring their DNA to plastic microcentrifuge tubes, students fashion the tubes into DNA pendant necklaces using colorful string. This is one easy lab activity that really gets your students talking about DNA and science!
Week 5: Circulatory System Dissection
Students compare and contrast the open circulatory system of the crayfish and the simple closed circulatory system of the earthworm. Closed circulatory systems are explored as they dissect a squid containing multiple single-chambered hearts, a frog with a single 3-chambered heart, and a pig heart that represents the 4-chambered heart of mammals and birds.
Week 7: EGG Drop challenge
Students protect a falling egg while exploring energy conservation, collision forces, momentum, and Newton's laws. Moreover, students create a device to absorb the force from an initial 1-m drop and then design a final model that achieves the highest drop distance.