Category Archives: Full STEAM Ahead

Animal Olympians

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Welcome to the Animal Olympics, where species compete daily in the wild to thrive and survive.  Different species have adapted different athletic abilities to succeed in their respective environments, from running fast to chase prey to swimming great distances in search of food and safety. Animals are amazing athletes and their performances in the wild are of often above and beyond Olympic caliber.

And the medals go to………. Animal Olympic Medal Winners

Read through each of the animal award winners, and then choose your own animal to research.  After you have gathered new information about your animal, create an award for your animal similar to those at WWF. Share your project with the EY coordinator in your building.











Patents, Trademarks, and You!


Are you someone who keeps an eye out for the latest inventions?  Do you enjoy tinkering with objects to see what you can create?  Then knowing about patents and trademarks might be helpful in your future endeavors!  The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) has a website to help kids understand more about the patent and trademarking process.  Check it out here.  Try some of the activities and videos!  Leave a comment with an idea you would love to create a patent for or something interesting you learned about the patent/trademarking process.

Naming a New Spider in Australia


How amazing would it be to have a newly discovered creature named after you?!?  Well, that is exactly what happened to world renowned physicist Brian Greene.  A new type of water spider was discovered hanging out in the streams of Brisbane.  These spiders have an interest in physics just as Professor Greene does.  Click here to read the full article.

In the article, the recent discovery of Einstein’s gravitational waves is presented.  This theory has been in the works for 100 years, started by Einstein, and was just proven true through the spiraling of two black holes into each other (One 36 times the mass of the sun!).  For more information on this discovery, click here.

Ponder this:  You are being honored for your work and will have a creature named in your honor.  If you were able to choose, what creature would be at the top of your list?

Leave a comment with your reactions to the articles or what creature you would choose!


Science, Math, & Technology at Your Fingertips!


Have you ever wondered how an atom is created?  Or maybe you find yourself wondering how energy forms and changes.  Do building fractions and creating creatures from area formulas excite you?  Then this simulation website is for you!

PhET Simulations is an interactive website full of simulations that introduce you to many different areas of math and science such as force and motion, energy forms and changes, the Greenhouse Effect, Glaciers, and more!  Click here to get started on your own simulation journey!  Leave a comment with your favorite simulations.

*Be sure to hold your iPad horizontally while working with the simulations.*

Eggstraordinary Experiment

For this post we are going back to the beginning…of STEAM that is.  So in honor of the “S,” how about a science experiment post to get your investigative juices flowing…

 The Dissolving Egg Shell & Bouncing Egg Experiment

This experiment is simple, it involves a lot of observation but the results are really interesting to watch.
Reflection 1:
To start with, take time to reflect on what you think will happen when the eggs are put into the vinegar and water.  Make a note of your reflection in a notebook or other recording device that you are able to keep your future reflections and comparisons in.
What You Need:
(we used raw eggs – 2 brown & 2 white)
clear cups
What To Do:
1. Set up 4 clear cups.
2. Put 1 egg into each cup.
3. Add vinegar to 1 of each cup containing a white & brown egg.
4. Add water to the other 2 cups.
*eggs should be covered completely by each liquid.
5. Observe
Start of Experiment/Day 1:
Reflection 2:
What do you notice happening in the 2 cups?
Can you explain why these things are happening? (may require research)
A few hours later…
Reflection 3:
What do you notice about the egg in each cup?
Do you have a hypothesis as to why this is happening? (again, you may have to do a little research)
Write a prediction about what you think will happen to all 4 eggs at the end of 7 days?
Day 2:
Day 3:
Day 5:
Day 7:

End of Experiment – Day 7:

Reflection 4:
What has happened to the eggs?
Test your eggs to get more information by dropping them on a protected surface (adult approved of course).
What observations did you make?
And Now, The Science:
What is the chemical reaction that is taking place in this experiment?
Why does this happen?
How could you change this experiment to learn more about this reaction?
What other egg experiments have you done?
We’d love to have you share some of your reflections by leaving a comment!
Happy Experimenting!
Adapted from

Full STEAM Ahead #15: Learn More About the Elements on The Periodic Table


If the last Full STEAM Ahead post ignited your passion for the periodic table, then this week’s post is for you!  TED Ed joined forces with the people at Periodic Videos to bring us the what-is-what on each element of the periodic table.  Choose an element, watch the video (sometimes they only work in the pop-up boxes), take the quiz and then dig in deeper to find out even more!  Leave a comment with what element was most interesting to you.

Full STEAM Ahead #14: Four New Elements Added to the Periodic Table!!

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 9.28.03 AM22 milligrams is equal to about 7 ten-thousandths of an ounce.  That’s how much of a synthetic (man-made) material was used in the discovery of 2 new chemical elements that will help fill out the seventh row of the periodic table.

That synthetic material, berkelium-249, was produced in a project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  That product was separated and processed during a 3-month period at the Oak Ridge Lab’s Radiochemical Engineering Development Center.  The berkelium-249 was then shipped to the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR), in Dubna, Russia, where it was bombarded with calcium-48 ions, creating six atoms of element 117 – one of the new elements!

What are ions?  Ions are atoms with extra electrons or missing electrons. When you are missing an electron or two, you have a positive charge. When you have an extra electron or two, you have a negative charge.

The other three elements that have also been officially verified by the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) are elements 113, 115, and 118.  Element 115 is produced when element 117 decays.  The four new elements fill out the seventh row, or period, of the periodic table. The last time new elements were added to the periodic table was in 2011, when elements 114 (flerovium, or Fl) and element 116 (livermorium or Lv) were added.

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been invited to submit names and symbols for the new elements.

Jim Roberto, ORNL associate lab director for science and technology partnerships, says “The discovery of new elements is actually very exciting on a number of different levels, and what we have done with our partners is change the periodic table, and we have changed every high school chemistry book.”

We have a lucky connection to this discovery! Mrs. Sindt, EY teacher at Rockbrook and Hillside, has a brother who is the Isotope Production Manager at Oak Ridge National Lab.  His name is John Krueger and he is an alum of Hillside Elementary and Westside High School! 

Think of a question you have about this discovery, or about science in general, that you’d like to ask him.  E-mail your question to your EY coordinator and she will make sure it gets to Mr. Krueger, who will then e-mail you back through Mrs. Sindt. 

Videos to watch for further explanation:

Some of my Rockbrook 5th graders asked John Krueger questions and received some very detailed, interesting responses.

See the questions and responses here.

Full STEAM Ahead #13: Cubes in Space!

Have you ever wondered what would happen to an everyday item when it travels to space?  With the help of the Cubes in Space program, you no longer just have to wonder!  This unique opportunity provides students ages 11-18 a chance to send their experiment into the realms of space via the Sounding Rocket or Space Balloon.

Ok, so you’ve just found out that you get a cube and have the chance to take your experiment to new heights.  What would your experiment be?  What would you be testing?  What materials would you use?  What impact would this have on our lives here on Planet Earth?  Leave a comment with your idea!  Stumped?  Check out the student videos below that showcase ideas that got selected and launched into space!

For more information about the Cubes in Space program, check out their website at this link!

Full STEAM Ahead #12: Reflect On Your Hour Of Code


Hundreds of students across the 10 Westside elementary schools  (and millions around the world) took part in last week’s Hour Of Code challenge.  If you happened to be one of those students, why not take a few minutes to reflect on your experience as a coder?  Check out this timeline website for questions to get your brain into full reflection mode.   Challenge yourself to answer at least 3 parts of the timeline, but feel free to do more!  Email them to your EY Coordinator, or leave them as comments to this post.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to participate in the Hour Of Code, fear not!  Check out the website and begin your coding adventure today!   Don’t forget to come back and reflect on your experience once your hour is complete!