Kealing After-school STEM Club

Welcome Kealing's After-school STEM Club Blog!

The Kealing After School STEM Club. Here you can see weekly hands–on activities, club officers, and pictures of our students having fun in the afterschool classroom.



Club Coaches:

Ms. Batra-Shrader

Mr. Hutton


Club Blog 

UTeach Outreach believes that active participation enhances the learning environment.

Lesson 1: Ballon Rockets
Today, we investigated how force and motion are related by studying balloon rockets. In order to understand this relationship, we discussed balanced and unbalanced forces and kinetic and potential energy. The balloon rockets are an example of an unbalanced force because they are in motion. While the object is in motion, the potential energy of the rocket is being converted to kinetic energy. This allows the rocket to move down the string.
Once we gathered all of the class data, we plotted the data and analyzed the graph. Graphs enable us to make predictions, so we tried to predict how far a balloon would go if it was pumped with air fifteen times. Quickly, we realized that there are discrepancies between what is predicted and what actually happened.
Lesson 2: Natural Selection
Today, we investigated the factors that affect an organism’s ability to survive. By brainstorming in groups, we hypothesized that an organism’s ability to survive is affected by climate, traits, mutations, and population size. Then, we looked at how these factors relate to natural selection and Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by using a computer simulation between rabbits and wolves. The simulation allowed us to change factors, such as environment, fur type, population size, etc., to see how it affected the two animals’ ability to survive.
Lesson 3: Bridges
Today, we investigated the characteristics of bridges that help it withstand the forces caused earthquakes by building a marshmallow and toothpick bridge. Prior to building, we evaluated the different types of bridge structures and their advantages and disadvantages. Then, we discussed plate tectonics and seismic forces and how they contribute to making bridges unstable. We brainstormed the variety of forces and stresses that a bridge must withstand. For example, bridges must be able to carry the weight of cars, humans; and it must withstand inclement weather and natural disasters as well as be flexible.
Lesson 4: Plate Tectonics 
Today, we investigated how mountains, volcanoes, and other geographical features are formed on Earth. By assuming the role of a seismologist, we experimented with Oobleck, apple slices, and graham crackers to understand plate tectonics- the phenomenon that describes these formations. We observed that the apple slice sank in the Oobleck slightly while the graham cracker floated. Then, we pushed two apple slices together, two graham crackers together, and then an apple and a graham cracker together to see what happened. Overall, we learned a great deal about the geography of Earth. The only difference is that we saw the results immediately. In reality, it takes thousands or millions of years for these formations to form.
Lesson 5: Rocks and Minerals
Today, we stepped into the shoes of a geologist and learned how to identify minerals based off of their unique characteristics. Prior to beginning the experiment, we discussed the four qualifications an object needs to have to be a mineral: naturally occurring, specific chemical formula, crystalline structure, and inorganic.
Once we understood what constitutes a mineral, we began to test seven different types of minerals to see if we could identify them. The color, transparency, luster, hardness, streak, and special properties of each mineral were observed and recorded. Then, they were matched with the definitions provided for each mineral.
From this experiment, we learned that there is definitely a difference between a rock and a mineral and they are fundamental to everyday life. The student teachers further demonstrated how there are a myriad of ways to test unique mineral properties by pouring vinegar on calcite. Immediately, the calcite fizzed and formed bubbles, or carbon dioxide. We only tested five properties, but there are many more ways a geologist can identify a mineral.


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