This month students used electromagnetism to force Jack to jump and applied the principle of buoyancy to force a cartesian diver to sink.
Magnets exert a force, an invisible field, that can attract or repel magnetic metals. Students applied and controlled this magnetic force by building an electromagnetic.
Electromagnetism is found in everyday life, such as in our kitchen appliances, radio transmitters, portable electrics, computers, and much more. Electromagnetism is the physical interaction among electric charges, magnetic moments, and the electronomagenitc field. An electromagnet is not permanently magnetized. An electromagnet is only a magnet when an electric current (I) runs through its coiled copper wire. The ability to turn the magnetic field on or off makes the electromagnet very useful.
You may not realize it, but all electric cords in your home become a very weak magnet when current runs through them. When you plug in your laptop, the power chord becomes a weak magnet. The students learned that in order to strengthen the magnetic field, they would have to wrap the cord around several times, which is exactly what the students did in their Jumping Jack STEM project. Each student built their own electromagnet.
Steps. Each student:
Wrapped copper wire tightly around a plastic straw piece, and called it “Jack.”
Left the last 5-inches of each end of the copper wire wrapped around the straw uncoiled and accessible.
Glued a small permanent magnet onto a piece of cardboard.
Stuck a metallic screw vertically up onto the top of the permanent magnet to hold Jack.
Tapped a AA battery onto the cardboard.
Touched the two free 5-inch copper wires from Jack to the battery ends to test which direction of the current flowing through the electromagnet (Jack) to ensure Jack is repelled upward and not attracted downward.
Once the right current direction was established, one copper wire end was taped to the battery end, while the other was left open to be hand-touched to the other end of the battery to make Jack jump/repel off the permanent magnet.
The Cartesian Diver was a simple science experiment that demonstrated the principles of buoyancy and pressure. It is named after French scientist and philosopher René Descartes. A Cartesian Diver is an example of Boyle’s Law, which says that the volume and pressure of a gas (like air) have an inverse relationship. This means that when you increase one, the other decreases.
Students learned that density describes substances based on how much mass they have in a certain volume. When the students increased the pressure it caused a gas to decrease in volume while its mass stays the same. Objects that are more dense than water sink, while objects that are less dense than water float.
STEM student observing Boyle’s Law in action.
We thank and recognize the OSUs Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for their amazing outreach programs. More specifically Dr. Betty Lise Anderson for her unwavering dedication to K-12 youth through Columbus and south into Pickaway County Schools! Thank you for all you do.
Watch our club highlight video to get the best visual overview of this month’s challenges.
This March our young STEMist broke down the parts of an atom, learned about chemical elements and compounds, and how we organize elements on the period table. They also built and took home a homemade battery powered by electrolytes (lemon juice) that carried an electric charge to turn on an LED light. This expanded on what the students learned in the previous club during their hands-on chemical changes lab. During that lab, students experimented with chemical changes and molecular compounds and turned a liquid from an acid to a base and vice versa. Electrolytes are compounds that the students used to conduct electricity and power up their photon flower and turned on a LED light.
Our club focused on the basic building block of matter, an atom. Atoms combine to form pure elements, compounds, and complex forms like computers and phones. Atoms are the smallest particle of matter that cannot be further subdivided using chemical means. In order to understand how atoms interact with each other, the students put together the parts of a carbon atom.
Atoms consist of three basic particles: protons, electrons, and neutrons. The nucleus (center) of the atom contains the protons (positively charged) and the neutrons (no charge). The outermost regions of the atom are called electron shells and contain electrons (negatively charged).
We introduced different elements to the students, who discovered them, and what the element is used in. In order for students to claim their prize they had to read back the full element name and confirm how many protons each element had.
Chemistry is a part of everyday life. This month we focused on improving our students’ understanding of the importance of chemical reactions in our lives in producing many of the things we take for granted. We also worked on improving their recognition and comprehension of what is involved in a chemical change through hands-on chemistry labs. Check out our two-minute program highlight video for a recap below:
Students learned the five signs of a chemical change firsthand:
Production of an odor
Change of Temperature
Evolution of a gas (formation of bubbles)
Precipitate (formation of a solid)
Students learned that atoms are the smallest units of elements that still retain the element’s properties. And that, atoms contain electrons, neutrons, and protons. In addition, they learned that each element is defined by the number of protons in its nucleus. Students used a periodic table handout to find the different elements we used in our hands-on chemistry labs.
Then we expanded to explain how elements can combine and form molecules. In a chemical change, the molecules in the reactants interact to form new substances.
Another important aspect of the program was exploring the many careers in chemistry. Take a moment and click through the Careers in Chemistry Prezi presentation with your child or use it in your classroom. The data used comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) is a valuable online resource to explore and is also available through the CareerInfo app. Both Web and the App, include 300+ occupational profiles that cover about 4 out of 5 jobs in the economy. You can browse job profiles by occupational group or top lists—or find a specific job type with a simple search and learn information that will impact education and career planning decisions such as median pay, entry-level education, on-the-job training, number of new jobs projected, growth rate, and career highlight videos, on the hundreds of occupations that provide most jobs in the United States. Click on a QR code to download the CareerInfo app to your mobile devices now!
We covered a lot of material last month. We thought we’d take advantage of the spooky mystery themes of Halloween and challenge our students to become science detectives, experimenting with hands-on activities involving chromatography, perception of vision, and phosphorescent slime chemistry. We also learned about atoms, electrons, batteries, LEDs, and simple circuits.
Two Minute Video Highlight of Program
The students became CSI lab technicians, tasked with solving a who-done-it pumpkin theft. All that was left at the scene of the crime was a letter demanding cookies! No fingerprints were found, but six suspects were brought in for questioning and all six had different black markers on their person. The marker evidence was tagged and brought to the CSI lab along with the random letter for further analysis. Marker samples were taken and a chromatography test was performed by our young lab technicians.
Chromatography is a laboratory technique for the separation of a mixture (more specifically separation of molecules) and in our case black marker ink molecules. The ink was dissolved in a water solution process of mobile to stationary phase, revealing distinct ink-finger prints for comparative analysis against an ink sample taken from the random note. The students discovered different ink molecules travel at different speeds, causing them to separate and reveal distinct color patterns that could help identify the pumpkin thief from the six suspects.
People don’t often pick up a marker or pen and think of molecules, but ink and paints are made up of atoms and the molecules, like everything, follow rules. Ink and paints follow the standard CPK rule, which is a popular color convention for distinguishing atoms of different chemical elements in molecular modeling (named after the chemists Robert Corey, Linus Pauling, and Walter Koltun). Basically, certain elements are associated with different colors. For example,
Hydrogen = White
Oxygen = Red
Chlorine = Green
Nitrogen = Blue
Carbon = Grey
Sulphur = Yellow
Phosphorus = Orange
Other = Varies – mostly Dark Red/Pink/Maroon
Teays Valley High school mentor, Drew Dean, assists elementary students with our chromatography lab.
PERSISTENCE OF VISION
Persistence of vision refers to the optical illusion that occurs when visual perception of an object does not cease for some time after the rays of light proceeding from it have ceased to enter the eye. The discovery was first discussed in 1824 when an English-Swiss physicist named Peter Mark Roget presented a paper, “Explanation of an Optical Deception in the Appearance of the Spokes of a Wheel when seen through Vertical Apertures” to the Royal Society in London. Shortly after, in 1832, a Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau built a toy that took advantage of the optical illusion trick. (Photo below source: http://streamline.filmstruck.com/2012/01/07/the-persistence-of-persistence-of-vision/)
The toy made images move independently but overlapped them or when placed in a series made them look as if they were walking, running, juggling, dancing. This concept soon laid the foundation for early filmmaking. (Photo below source be: http://1125996089.rsc.cdn77.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/persistence-of-vision-transit.jpg)
The students learned how our eyes report basic imaginary back to the brain, or rather how our eyes perceive shapes, their motion, and their relative position from other objects. The students discovered that eyes are not simple windows to the world. Eyes do not see what is, but instead, see approximations.
The students learned how different objects glow in the dark. First, students learned that heat is a good emitter of light, such as a fire or an old-fashioned light bulb, but heat isn’t always required to make something appear to glow. For example, bedroom glow-in-the-dark stickers, glow sticks, or fireflies do not require heat. The stickers and even certain types of rocks, like the Bologna Stone, require several hours of light to charge them in order to later glow. But glow sticks and fireflies, do not require heat or light, but instead, deal with chemistry where two different elements are mixed together to make a ‘luminescent’ compound.
We talked about phosphorescence and the process in which energy absorbed by a substance is released slowly in the form of light. Unlike the relatively swift reactions in fluorescence, such as those seen in a common fluorescent tube, phosphorescent materials “store” absorbed energy for a longer time, as the processes required to re-emit energy occur less often.
Finally, we let the students become chemists and make their own phosphorescent slime for later glow in the dark fun after the compound was charged by light. The young chemists used measuring devices to concoct their spooky slime recipe.
Make another batch at home with your young chemist:
Add 20.0 mL of glue to cup
Add 15.0 mL of water to cup
Drop of preferred food coloring
Add a drop of glow in the dark phosphorescence paint
Add 12.0 mL of BORAX solution
STIR! It will be runny until you take it out of the cup and start to play with it.
We are going to have a little chemistry fun this Saturday, May 8th @ 10:00 a.m. with experiments focused on chemical reactions! We’ll be sending home STEM tots to create some goofy glow gels, fizz wizards, and experiment with jamming jelly reactions!
IMPORTANT: Join this virtual meeting from your kitchen if possible and try to have your parents near by for this program, because we are going to be mixing materials that could get a little messy. We are sending home chemicals, powders, and dyes to mix for our experiments. Also, make sure you have some play cloths and not your favorite top in case anything stains. We’ll provide a smock in your STEM tote, but better safe than sorry.
By: Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator, Community Development & STEM, Pickaway County
Simple Circuits with Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator, and Judy Walley, Teays Valley Chemistry Teacher. Full presentation link: go.osu.edu/simplecircuits
Why Understanding Simple Circuits is Important?
Basic circuit knowledge is important for many different disciplines, engineering, physics, chemistry, and mathematics. It’s also useful knowledge around this time of year when you may need to repair a string of old holiday lights? Understanding and building simple circuits show us important concepts learned in school that can describe useful real-world systems, like devices we use every day, cell phones, light switches, Chromebooks, cars, etc.
The electric charge that flows through your house is called your electric circuits. This carries useful energy through your house that you can transform into other forms of energy to do various tasks. The US standard household circuit has an effective voltage that takes 120-volts. Volts represent the energy per unit charge. We discussed these basic building blocks of simple circuits in STEM Club this month. Our hands-on simple circuit design challenge uses 3-volt lithium batteries. Before jumping into our design challenges we’ll cover a few basic circuitry concepts and energy principles.
The principle of conservation of energy is an effective tool in solving problems and understanding how different forms of energy directly impact our lives. There are also benefits to this principle. These include recycling of materials, lower energy costs for consumers, less pollution due to a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, and less harm to animals and the environment. We watched a short video, from Two Minute Classroom, that explained the basic concepts of how energy transforms itself into other forms and never truly disappears or is destroyed.
Judy Walley led students through the basic concepts of atoms and electrons, because, without the flow of electrons, we have no electric circuit to work with.
Screenshot of our recorded club meeting where Judy Walley explains the basic concepts of atoms and electrons.
Walley also explained the chemistry of a battery and how chemical reactions occur inside the battery that causes an imbalance or a build-up of electrons (-) on one side of the battery over the other, hence why one side or one terminal of the battery is negative (-) and the other positive (+). We also introduced the basic materials for our hands-on design challenges and explain how a battery works.
Screenshot from our virtual simple circuit presentation.
How a Battery Works
Batteries are important to everyday life. Batteries are essential to most electrical devices. They exist in our cars, cell phones, laptops, and other electronic appliances, and serve as critical backup sources of electricity in telecommunications, public transportation, and medical devices. A battery is essentially a container full of chemicals that produce electrons (-). Inside the battery itself, a chemical reaction produces the electrons.
The battery is a device that stores chemical energy and converts it to electrical energy. The chemical reactions in a battery involve the flow of electrons from one material (electrode) to another, through an external circuit. The flow of electrons provides an electric current that can be used to do work. In our case, students use copper tape to build a paper circuit to create light energy with an LED. Below depicts the inner wors of a battery.
Screenshot of how a battery works from our virtual simple circuit presentation.
The students learned that a battery has three main parts: an anode (-), a cathode (+), and the electrolyte that separates the two terminal ends on the battery. We discussed the chemical reaction happening inside the battery that causes electrons (-) to buildup on one side of the battery causing one end to be negatively charged (-) and the other end positively charged (+). This buildup causes an imbalance of electrons (-), that want to travel to the other side of the battery, but can’t move freely until a conductive circuit is completely looped for the electrons to travel through; in our case, the conduit is copper tape.
When a circuit is complete, or a loop created, the electrons will flow through the conductive paths racing to reach the other side of the battery terminal. When the electrons flow through the loop, the chemical energy inside the battery is transformed into electrical energy running through the circuit. When all electrons (-) make it to the other side, the battery stops working. All of the electric energy was transformed into other forms of energy.
Electrical energy allows us to do work by transforming energy into other forms. We use LEDs in our paper circuit design challenge because it’s a simple way to show how electric energy is transformed or converted into light energy. We could replace the LED with a simple motor and the motor would convert electrical energy into kinetic.
Screenshot of simple circuit components and electricity concepts from our virtual simple circuit presentation.
What’s a Diode?
Both LEDs and motors can easily be added to simple circuits. However, LEDs are somewhat more restrictive than motors, because LEDs are diodes. A diode only allows current to flow in one direction. From the cathode (-) leg of the LED through the anode (+) leg. Note that the anode on a battery is negatively charged, but the anode on an LED is positively charged! The correct way to connect an LED legs to the battery terminals is positive to positive/anode to cathode and negative to negative/ cathode to anode. Study the image above if this is confusing. If the LED or battery are flipped in the wrong configuration then no current or electrons flow through the LED because the diode only allows for current to flow in one direction.
A motor does not have a diode, therefore current can flow in either direction, and depending on how the motor is connected to the battery will decide what direction the motor turns left/right, or moves forwards/backward.
As a virtual group, we challenged ourselves with a few NearPod activities to reinforce our electricity concepts before beginning our hands-on paper circuit challenges. A paper circuit is a functioning electronic circuit built on a paper surface instead of a printed circuit board (PCB). Projects can range from greeting cards to origami, to traditional art such as paintings or drawings. STEM totes went home with the students and included paper circuit design challenges and supplies.
Conductive copper tape
Plain card stock, or templates printed on card stock
We went through two paper circuit-build challenges with an independent bonus design challenge. The first design is depicted below. It had a basic road map for us to follow, which we added labels to ensure our understanding of which direction the electrons were flowing and which direction the current was flowing as well as how to position and connect the battery and LED to the circuit correctly.
Once you start learning the basics of paper circuit design you can explore more crafty designs to create circuit cards for all occasions and topics. A few ideas shared at our club meeting:
By: Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator, Community Development & STEM, Pickaway County
Entomology is the study of insects. More than one million different species of insect have been identified to date. Insects are the most abundant group of animals in the world and live in almost every habitat. Entomology is essential to our understanding of human disease, agriculture, evolution, ecology, and biodiversity.
Entomology is an ancient science, dating back to the establishment of biology as a formal field of study by Aristotle (384-322 BC). There are even earlier references to the use of insects in daily life: such as the growing of silkworms that began 4700 BC in China, which was an important part of peasant life in China, as early as 4000 BC. More than a hundred years ago, entomologists formed a society, the Entomological Society of America (ESA), to promote the science and study of entomology in the United States. (i)
On our second day, Future Entomologist, we explored our previous bug topics a bit deeper and also focused on the diverse career pathways open to Entomologists. We also focused on the chemistry behind some insects (such as color change, odor, etc.,) and some interactive bug challenges to strengthen our understanding of insect characteristics and insect identification.
Meeting agenda for Future Entomology with Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Educator. Full presentation link: go.osu.edu/entomology
Who Needs Entomologists?
Entomologists have many important jobs, such as the study of the classification, life cycle, distribution, physiology, behavior, ecology, and population dynamics of insects, but their scoop of study is pretty diverse, ranging from agricultural pests, urban pests, forest pests, medical pests, and veterinary pests and bug control. Entomologists are scientists, researchers, teachers, and consultants and can work for private companies, universities, or government agencies.
There are more than 8,000 men and women who work as professional entomologists in the United States (more worldwide) and are sought over for their specializations and expertise. They have careers in teaching; working as Extension Entomologists (public educators who provide information on insects and their management in agricultural and urban environments); raising bees; enforcing quarantines and regulations; performing insect survey work; consulting on integrated pest management topics; consulting in the construction sector or cosmic industry, selling insecticides; controlling pests; and conducting research on insect classification, taxonomy, biology, ecology, behavior, and control – and these jobs are found both local, national, and around the world; e.g. employed by the United Nations. Like to travel? Here are is a random job pull from the United Nations job board.
The greatest number of entomologists are employed in some aspect of economic or applied entomology that deals with the control of harmful insects. There are also tens of thousands of amateur entomologists and hobbyists who study insects without pay and who provide valuable information on insect distributions, seasonal activity patterns, identification, life cycles, and behavior. (ii)
Slide from Future Entomology unit created by Meghan Thoreau in Keynote.
Career possibilities for graduates with a B.S. degree in Entomology include:
Agricultural, biological or genetic research
Consulting (agricultural, environmental, public health, urban, food processing)
State and federal government agencies
Conservation and environmental biology
Natural resources management
Veterinary, medical, or graduate school
Seed, fertilizer, and chemical research companies
Sometimes the best career opening decisions come from learning how others may have indirectly or directly stumbled into their chosen career pathway. Careers are not always linked to taking the right courses in college, but understanding personal strengthens and skillsets, as well as, letting the randomness of life decision making along with the people/network you may know all start laying the foundations for our various career paths. Read more, How Three Entomologists Found Careers in Industry.
Interactive Activity Challenge for Readers
Watch this short clip, Arthropods: the Differences Between Spiders and Insects and then click and run through the ‘Parts of an Insect and Spider’ challenges and try to get your name placed on our STEMist scoreboard! You can also play our Kahoots Insect Trivia, game link below as well.
Below are two interactive Entomology WordWall Challenges from our November 21, 2020, STEM Club meeting!
1. Parts of an Insect
2. Parts of a Spider
3. Kahoots Bug Trivia
Join at www.kahoot.it and enter the Game Pin shared live during our club meeting!
Get ready STEM Club, because we have four guest professionals coming to join us for some lively discussion on their STEM careers, life experiences, and tips when considering working towards a STEM Career. Save the date: Thursday, 21 May 2020 @ 4:00 P.M. (Zoom meeting details are found in our Elementary STEM Club’s Google Classroom.) Click here to watch the recorded club meeting. Our panel includes the following:
WILLIAM MILLER-LITTLE is a M.D. Ph.D. Medical Candidate & Researcher at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Department of Pathology/Immunology actively works in a research laboratory.
MELISSA SMITH is a Phlebotomist & Clinical Lab Supervisor Technician at OSU Medical Center, Outpatient Care East Lab in Columbus, OH (and STEM Club mom.)
KARINA HANKENFOF is a Product Engineer & Lab Technician, specialized in materials and mechanical systems with Cincinnati Testing Labs in Cincinnati, OH (and Teays Valley alumni.)
CLAY BURGETT is a Chemist & Information Technology Manager at the American Chemical Society for the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), a division of the American Chemical Society in Columbus, Ohio.
STEM Club students, please take advantage of this free virtual library youth program made possible through a community collaboration between COSI, DuPont (Circleville), Pickaway County Library, and OSU Extension. Pre-register now!
COSI Science Festival’s Meet A Scientist Youth Program, Saturday, May 9, 2020, 11:00 AM – Peggy Scott, a Dupont polymer scientist, and Christy Yu, a Dupont quality engineer, share their personal experiences and passion for STEM careers to youth and their families. Learn about polymer chemistry, science careers, and engage in a virtual polymer-scavenger hunt from the comfort of your home. Pre-registration is required for this free educational event, go to, go.osu.edu/polymeryouthprogram. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information and passcode to join the meeting. We’ll also send a reminder email prior to the event. #COSISciFest
For more information please email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is the recording of the Polymer Scientist program!
A significant part of the world population is currently on lock-down in an attempt to contain the coronavirus pandemic. People are turning to technology to go to school, to work, to communicate and stay in touch with their classmates, colleagues, friends, and family.
We held our first virtual STEM Club session last Friday through Zoom! It was great to see everyone’s faces, check-in, and teach video conferencing skills and virtual meeting etiquette; click here to review our presentation again with your child.
Young STEMist learning video conferencing skills.
VIDEO CONFERENCING ETIQUETTE (skill building)
Students learned some quick Dos and Don’ts in participating in virtual meetings:
Ensure your technology is working
Be on time
Mute yourself when not speaking
Wear school-appropriate clothing
Sit eye-level to camera’s lens, framing yourself from the midsection up
Ensuring the right lighting
Looking into the camera, giving audience eye-contact
Have a clean, simple, organized background, or upload a virtual backdrop
SUMMARY WRITING CHALLENGE
Summary writing isn’t simple. It’s a difficult academic skill. As with any new skill, especially writing skills, students need to be explicitly taught and practice. The students went through some basic definitions and discussed why summary writing is important because it improves reading skills as you pick out the main ideas of reading; it also helps with vocabulary skills where you paraphrase a reading, altering the vocabulary and grammar as you do so.
A summary is a long text distilled to its essentials. It summarizes the key points worth noting, without writing examples and lengthy details. The sentence structure and vocabulary has been changed, but the main ideas remain. Critical thinking skills are improved as you decide on the main ideas of the reading to include in the summary. Summary writing also improves editing skills as you draft and edit the summary. It’s helpful to work with peers throughout the writing and revision process – cooperative learning.
The students were asked to visit, Time for Kids, and read two short expository readings, select one article to write a summary on. (Time for Kids has currently opened it’s a digital library for free!) It’s important to underline or take notes of the main ideas as students read. More details to the assignment and submitting are found in your student’s Google Classroom, logging in with their student Teays Valley email address. If you experience any issues with Google Classroom, contact, Meghan, email@example.com.
BIG BANG AR APP
The students learned about astronomy, elements, atoms, and virtual reality technology in previous club programs. We thought this free App engages many of the lessons learned in a fun interactive way to learn about the story of our universe. The Big Bang AR App is available on both the Google Play and Apple stores.
This is an immersive learning App designed by Tilda Swinton and CERN scientists to take people on an “epic interactive journey through the birth and evolution of the universe” – in mixed reality and augmented reality. It takes students “back 13.8 billion years and discovers how space, time, and the visible universe came to be.” Students can see the universe form in the palm of their hand and virtually “witness the formation of the very first stars, our solar system, and the planet we call home.” This lesson allows students to learn about the microscopic building blocks that make up everything – and everyone – we know, and find out if we are made of stars. The experience ends with the student able to take a #starselfie and share it with your friends and post it in Google Classroom!
Here are a few of the student #starselfie shares:
Please stay tuned while we continue to plan and line up guest speakers for our future Virtual STEM Club programs.