This week, we learned about the DNA; its shape, structure, and purpose in our bodies. We started from asking the kids what they knew about DNA. After we heard various answers from the kids, we taught them about the four bases and how two bases go together. Also, we talked about DNA’s double helix structure and its backbone. The kids put together their own nucleotide pairings using the four colors of marshmallows to represent the four nucleotides, made DNA backbones with Twizzlers, and finally twisted the backbones to make their own double helix DNA! The kids were excited about making DNA with things that they could eat deliciously!
This week, we all had a very exciting session using some raw eggs, pillow stuffing, and Popsicle sticks. We all went outside and made groups of three to five. Each group was given some pillow stuffing, Popsicle sticks, a raw egg, pieces of tape, and a pair of scissors. The goal was to construct a container with these materials to keep a raw egg from cracking when dropped from a height. We were so excited to see some groups’ eggs stay intact even when dropped! The kids used their creativity to make the sturdiest yet softest container for their eggs.
This week we investigated the basic principles of physics through bridge-building.Through experimentation of which shapes are the most structurally strong, students learned that many factors are taken into account in engineering and building. The project provided a practical application of physics to a real-world context.
This week, we investigated taste buds with a fun experiment. Everyone tasted lemon juice (sour), chocolate powder (bitter), honey (sweet), and salt water (salty) once and recorded at which part of their tongue they tasted each taste most strongly. We drew a tongue map based on our experiment and compared it with the literature.
By using pepper and water, we explored the interaction between soap and water. Then, with we investigated how Arctic animals can stay warm even on cold days by using plastic wrap and shortening!
In this lesson, we learned about density – the relative “heaviness” of the same amounts of liquid. We used different colors of water with different amounts of salt in them. Half of the students had water with different amounts of salt in them, and half of the students used plain water. The water with equal amounts of salt mixed together, and the water with different concentrations of salt stayed separate, because of the different densities!
When people litter or dump things into our waterways, what happens to the creatures that live there? We explored this question with our friend Freddy the Fish (made out of sponge). Our mentors told a story about what happens to water: people drop their litter, business dump their chemicals, wastewater plants dump waste. A simulation involving all of these pollutants made Freddy’s water too gross to touch, let alone live in! We brainstormed ways that we can keep our water cleaner.