STEM Week Provides Loads of Enrichment Activities
During STEM Week February 13-17, Burbank Kindergartners participated in a STEM enrichment program about "light." After discussing how we perceive light and some of the properties of light (such as that it has "wave" properties, and that white light is really a combination of light of different colors), the students experimented with light at 4 stations, which included 1) sorting colored beads or decoding hidden messages while wearing red- and blue-filtered glasses, 2) exploring the fact that when we "see" black, it is the absence of light, and using polarization filters to block light waves traveling in different directions, and 3) "taking apart" white light with a prism and combining light of various colors using flashlights and color filters to create new colors (red light plus green light = yellow light). The enrichment activity complemented the "5 senses" unit the kids are already doing in class. During the activities, the students asked questions, discussed what might happen, then tested out their theories with the hands-on activities and recorded their findings on their worksheets!
The First grade activity was delayed due to weather. The STEM week committee is working with them to reschedule.
Mad Science of North Boston will present a science show illustrating the principles of air pressure including a soda bottle being crushed by the atmosphere, a hot air balloon made out of a dry cleaning bag, and a hovercraft. Thank you to the First grade teachers for working this enrichment into their busy schedule, to the STEM Week organizing committee for their help in planning, and to all who have contributed their time or means to the Burbank PTA.
During STEM Week February 13-17, Burbank second graders learned about "green chemistry" - the science of creating products that are better for our environment. After discussing the uses and problems of styrofoam, students got busy making an alternative renewable, biodegradable material with similar properties. Working like real scientists, students cleaned their equipment, combined their materials, and pressed the mixture into a mold. The key ingredient in this technology? Mushroom "roots", or mycelium, in a plant fibre product developed by Ecovative, a green materials company. The mycelium fungus grows throughout the material, binding it into a lightweight foam-like block. Students will observe the change when they return from February vacation, then test the properties of the finished material they made themselves. When they are all done testing, they can even compost it! The lively presentation and engaging experiment was provided by Beyond Benign - Green Chemistry Education and made possible by contributions to the Burbank PTA. Thanks to the PTA STEM Week Committee for coordinating!
Chuck the robot visited the three 3rd grade classes during STEM week. The students learned that robots don't have to look or act like humans to be useful. Chuck helps people in warehouses find things in shelves faster, walk less, and help them carry heavy items around. They learned the definitions of autonomous, mobile, and cloud and were really excited to know that Chuck can work 16 hours without also break. They all asked some very good questions and later that night saw Chuck move around in the gym during STEM night. Thank you Mrs. Flaherty for helping coordinate a time with the 3rd grade teachers.
On Tuesday February 14th of STEM Week, Burbank 4th graders had the opportunity to learn about technology when they learned how to make a stop motion animation story. Students paired up and used laptops and materials provided by Empow Studios to film a story of their own creation. Each pair set the scene using materials like legos or by drawing on a paper. Each time something moves on the screen, it is because the students captured a new image- students were focused and worked hard to finish their story. Thank you to Empow Studios for leading this adventure and for sharing the finished products with teachers. Parents, look in your email for a copy of these projects! Thank you to the 4th grade teachers for working this enrichment into their busy schedule and to the STEM Week organizing committee for their help in planning.