Energy and Makerspaces!

Another exciting day is in the books! The students are settling into their routines nicely and are loving the investigations and building and programming each day. It’s been a bit humid on their walks across campus, but we are thankful the rain has held off and that the temperature is reasonable this week!

The red and blue groups got to spend the day with me! We looked at different sources of energy and what we use it for. We especially looked at the different sources of energy we produce the most of in Kentucky. We made our own electromagnetic train, created electricity with our hydroelectric water wheels, and moved a car with water and electricity as the fuel. In robotics, they started out with building a frog that they programmed to hop across the pond. Then they got to choose another animal and program the motor to get the animal to move appropriately.

The pink and orange groups spent the day with Doug Klein in the College of Engineering makerspace. The students got to observe the different big tools in action! There was a couple of different laser cutters – one for wood and one for metal. Then they created a 3d shape online and watched it print out and got to bring one of the print outs home. The yellow and green groups spent the day with Dr. Kenneth Graham in the chemistry laboratory in our Jacobs Science Building. The students explored solar energy and different ways we can produce electricity. They created their own solar panels from different types of fruit and compared them to what a fotocell. In robotics, the groups dove into the maze challenges, using their sensors and motors to complete the different challenges.

In ChemCamp, they are continuing the investigations in the lab. They explored the synthesis of aspirin today and learned how to determine an unknown concentration. All of the labs are based off laboratory investigations from our faculty’s research and investigations from our beginning chemistry courses at UK. The students have been doing an awesome job and are really loving all of the hands-on investigations and learning about different compounds and their reactions.

In their own words…

  • That cars can run whithout batteries.
  • I learned that you can use water to make eltrity.
  • The fastest train in the world can go 240 mph.
  • I want to make electricity by myself.
  • Tv’s and solar panels can bend. If they are made of organic materials.
  • Solar panels can be printed
  • That you can make solar-cells with blackberrys, pomegranite, and hibiscus tea.
  • I learned about a different type of 3D printing, involving a laser and white liquid.
  • I learned that ice melts quicker on cold medal then on warm wood. Since medal is a conductor and wood. Since medal is a conductor and wood isn’t ice melted faster on medal.
  • I would like to learn more about the topic, because the machines that print and cut the items are cool, and what you can do with them.
  • I Learned about pH and how to make asprin
  • I learned how to use a titration apparatus.
  • we made and purified aspren

Conversation Starters…

Red/Blue Groups

  • Tell me about the fastest train in the world. How does it work?
  • How did you make your own train?
  • How did you make electricity out of water?
  • Tell me about the picture you created.
  • How did you get the car to drive with water?
  • What did you build and program with your robot today?

Yellow/Green Groups

  • I thought all solar panels were hard and big. How can they make solar panels that are flexible?
  • I’ve never heard of a flexible TV. Tell me more about it!
  • How did you create a solar panel? What types of material did you use?
  • What challenges did you complete with your robot today? What do you like about robotics?

Orange/Pink Groups

  • What is a makerspace?
  • What was your favorite machine? What did it do?
  • What did you create to be printed on the 3d printer?
  • How do 3d printers work?
  • What challenges did you complete with your robot today? What do you like about robotics?

Photo of the Day…

Exploring magnets and their polarity

Solar Energy, DNA and germs!

Thursday brought another hands-on exciting day at STEM Camp. This group of students is really something special…they are full of extra curiosity and questions. It has been awesome to witness this week!

Blue/Red Groups

They spent the day with Dr. Brett Criswell, one of our science (chemistry) educators here at UK. He focused on using different types of energy to power vehicles. The students got to make a car that was water powered and then got a chance to see the UK Solar Car and ask the students who created and race the car lots of questions. They loved making the small cars and then seeing a real solar car!

In robotics, they continued with the Green City Challenge. Many of the groups made it pretty far today!

Yellow/Green Groups

It was Yellow and Green groups’ turn to be in a biology lab in our beautiful new Don and Cathy Jacobs Science Building with Brittany Rice, a graduate student in the Biomedical Sciences doctorate program in the College of Medicine. They were able to use state of the art lab equipment, wear lab coats, goggles, gloves, etc. as a real laboratory scientist would (this included some lab safety lessons as well 🙂 ). They made models of DNA and then did a simple DNA extraction themselves to look at their own DNA. They were very fascinated! Then they learned about bacteria and germs and how they grow and where they’re located. They did a bacteria activity with their hands…there was some extra handwashing that went on the rest of the day after they realized the germs on their hands 🙂

In robotics, they continued with the Space Challenge. Most groups have made it pretty far and some completed theirs today and so are working on mastering the challenges from earlier in the week. Lots of movement and exciting programs happening!

In their words…

Blue/Red Groups

  • you can make dead muscle and heart tissue move with electricity
  • I realy want to learn more about solar power and hydroelectric
  • It’s fun to use comonly things to use it in a more complex way.
  • we got see it right in front of our eyes, and it was real
  • I got to make a water powered car.

Yellow/Green Groups

  • Its called nucleic acid because DNA’s in the center of the nucleus.
  • I liked the handson activities and being able to physically see my DNA
  • it has so many uses in the future
  • I thought it was really interesting learning about DNA, and how it bonds. We also got to extract some of our DNA.
  • I did not like swishing the gatorade in my mouth
  • Adenine connects to Thymine & Cytosine connects to guanine
  • it was very interesting, both doing it, and learning about DNA.
  • I learned the shapes of DNA and what DNA creates mutations.

Conversation Starters…

Red/Blue Groups

  • Why is it important to talk about different kinds of energy?
  • What did you do to make your car move today? How did the water make your car move?
  • What did you observe about the solar car?
  • What challenges did you complete today in the Green City Challenge? What was your favorite part about programming today? What was the hardest part about programming today?

Yellow/Green Groups

  • How did you extract your own DNA today? What did you observe about your DNA?
  • What did you learn from the handwashing activity?
  • What challenges did you complete today in the Space Challenge? What was your favorite part about programming today? What was the hardest part about programming today?

Picture of the Day… (click the picture to go to all the pictures from this week)