Articles from Pardes Jewish Day School
Science doesn’t require fancy equipment or extravagant plans; it’s all around us! Even talking about why some things float while others sink while you are splashing around in the pool is science. Summer offers the time to explore science in a whole new way!
Here are a few recommendations to bring science to life this summer holiday:
Take A Field Trip
Consider a trip to the science museum to kick off the summer. The Arizona Science Center is a great way to escape the heat and experience science in a whole new way! Another great science experience is the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Although this museum isn’t specifically designed around science, it is a great place for younger children to investigate simple scientific ideas.
Get Your Hands Dirty
Plan your own scientific experiment or project with your child. There are plenty of remarkable experiments to try! Test what happens when you mix liquids of different densities. Try the famous coke and mentos experiment. To find the perfect experiment you can check out this article by Lemon Lime Adventures or browse Pinterest. One super fun way to spend time together is to design and build a working contraption with things you have around your house. If you want to gather some ideas for your own design try starting out with the game Fantastic Contraption.
Beat the Heat
Most people in Arizona would say the best summer activity is one where you aren’t in the staggering heat. If this sounds like you, try out the science of astronomy. Observe the night sky and learn the names of some constellations. If you need a little help, there are plenty of apps out there to answer any question you might have about the night sky.
Of course, there are always the traditional options of enrolling in a science day camp, class or workshop. All of these fun exercises can help you start brainstorming possible topics for next year’s science fair. With so many different options, summer is a great time for scientific exploration!
Our interactive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Night was the place to be, on Thursday, January 21st! STEM Night was an interactive showcase of what our Pardes children have been doing in science, math, and technology classes at school. It also served as a preview of upcoming STEM projects in future years for each grade.
Some of the fun hands-on projects we did with our families at STEM Night were:
- Explored the science of stinky feet with our Mrs. Garber & Mrs. Traulsen,
- Experimented with ramps and balls with Mrs. Kreisberger and Ms. Joseph.
- Scrutinized toy boats to learn about floatation with Mrs. Stokes and Ms. Joseph.
- Built a vegetable car with our student Chief Science Officer, Ethan Cohen,
- Drove a lego robot with Mrs Finks, who explained how a robot can be programmed to drive through a maze on its own.
Middle school exhibits showed the depth of our science program. Mr. Rivas led families through a Digital Comparative Anatomy Lab, as well as conducting pH tests with liquids as students showed off their knowledge of bases and acids. Budding aerospace engineers experimented with different fins and nose cones as Mrs. Burckhardt taught how engineering and aerodynamics come together in Blast Off with Straw Rockets. This IS rocket science! A few independent student research projects were highlighted such as “Does Multitasking Affect Performance?” and “How Does Sugar Concentration Affect Rocket Thrust?”
Technology was highlighted by our Eighth Grade PTech group. These select students are chosen for their aptitude with technology, academics, leadership, and conduct to help Mrs. Strolle to maintain and troubleshoot computer issues on campus. They teach parents how to use Schoology to check grades and assignments as well. PTechs teach teachers a thing or two about computers as well. The PTechs showed Middle School students how to use voice typing in Google Docs, and how to use Google Tone to share a website with a group without typing the URL. They also showed Lower School students new websites to reinforce for reading and math concepts. In addition, parents and students alike learned a few new Mac tricks.
Engineering was showcased as well. Families built marshmallow structures with Mrs. Nadler and Mrs. Peoples, to see which was the learn about engineering support structures. Together families spent time trying to build towers made of tennis balls with Mrs. Berko and Mrs. Silber, while trying not to let those bouncy spheres get away from them. Families investigated Simple Machines with Mrs. Verne and Mrs. Eckstein, using levers, wedges, inclined planes, pulleys, wheels and axles, and screws to show the principals of how simple machines make our daily tasks so much easier. Engineering is all around us and can be learned from an early age.
It isn’t STEM without math, the subject that supports all these scientific applications. Mr. Flatow tested parents and students out-of-the-box problem solving skills with Math Olympiad problems. Mr. Campanelli’s and Mrs. Saper’s students had to use critical thinking and problem solving skills to “Save Fred” in which they had to save a gummy worm from on top of it’s capsized boat, with its lifesaver trapped inside, only using four paper clips. Most importantly, students used flow charts to map their way to a solution. Mrs. Rosky taught that logic is everywhere using math logic cards, shapes and pattern creations, and Sodoku. In addition, families learned toys can be educational as they competed in a Rubik’s Cube competition, using both logic and a mathematical algorithm to best Ms. Hanover. Math is so much fun!
There was so much to do! Families visited the Phoenix Astronomical Society telescopes to look at the moon, stars and planets. Students of all ages got to decorate a STEM Banner with what they liked best about science, technology, engineering and math. Middle schoolers took STEM selfies, costuming themselves in goggles and lab coats, and hanging out with Dr. Bones, the skeleton. The most important part of STEM Night was that families spend time together celebrating their child’s learning in a hands-on interactive way.