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The Language of Science

When each  of  us  begins  to  learn  a  language,  deep  immersion  (such   as  studying  abroad,  or  speaking only  Spanish  or  French  in  class)  is  widely  acknowledged  as  the  best  way  to  rapidly  increase  our  level  of understanding. Expert, novice,  and  intermediate levels of knowledge are intermixed throughout the process. We may  hear  new  and  unfamiliar  words,  but  we  begin  to  understand  the  context of  when  and  how  they should be used.  In  reality,  we  gain  critically  important skills and  knowledge about a language before we  can  verbalize  all the  traditional cues  of the  language,  itself. Applying  this concept to science, the most effective outcomes should also  be  achieved  through  immersion.  Our  ability  to  solve  problems,  understand  scientific  inquiry,  and  collect data ought to require similar methods of contextual development. (cont’d on pg.2)

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In other words, teaching students the scientific terms without a platform for experiential learning is as useful as studying vocabulary without experiencing the ‘culture’ of the language. (i.e. - not useless, but certainly not the most effective). In a traditional science classroom, the freedom to experiment may also be limited by the idea that there is only one desirable outcome of a given experiment, and the rest overlooked due to error. And yet, a good scientist is also well-versed in the potential for exciting alternative outcomes that would otherwise be considered failures. In 1945, Percy Spencer was experimenting with a new type of vacuum tube when the candy bar in his pocket began to melt, marking the beginning of the microwave oven. Scientists in Japan recently introduced some new superconductors to various brands of wine during an impromptu work party, which inadvertently improved the electrical conductivity of those materials by 23% over their previously known limit. At the Promise Academy at Martin Luther King HS, we try to promote the traditional, while also teaching students to expect and embrace the unexpected, and to find meaning in moments of ‘failure’. Finally, the aforementioned ideas of improvisation and creativity thrive in an environment where there is effective communication. Technological tools that promote both data collection and the effective communication of ideas are doubly useful. Incidentally, the STEM acronym, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, often overlooks the role of technology as an effective communication tool. Over the course of 4 weeks, students in the Martin Luther King HS 2013 Summer Bridge program operated in an environment of scientific immersion, learned the benefits of failure through self-guided experimentation, and practiced unique methods of communication bolstered by innovative technology. We hope that you enjoy a few snapshots of our summer program, and can incorporate some of these approaches in your own classrooms and/or summer enrichment programs.

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TECHNOLOGY SUITE

A. PhotoBooth: Used to document daily reflections, for motion capture segments, and flight tests; B. Screencast-o-matic (www.screencast-o-matic.com): Used for voice-over recordings or screen capture explanations/demos; C. iMovie: Used in the creation of video shorts to document reflections, flight tests, team members, goals, etc.; D. Tracker Video Analysis and Modeling Tool: Used to collect data from flight tests to determine position vs. time, velocity vs. time and acceleration vs. time in x- and y-directions, and for interpretation of various weights and sled types; E. Microsoft Office Suite: Word, technical paper writing; Excel, collection and summary of weight, cost, plotting data from Tracker to determine trendlines; Powerpoint, creating personal profiles and an example methodology.

TRACKER To compare and analyze videos from the students’ flight tests, we used a program called Tracker, which is a free video analysis and modeling tool built on the Open Source Physics (OSP) Java framework. Download for Mac or PC at: www.cabrillo.edu/~dbrown/tracker/ First, prior to filming the motion of interest, a marker was placed on the flight sled. In the figure on the left, students glued a neon yellow square to the front face of the sled. An object with bright color or texture is useful; although color is more reliable during rapid movement in which the texture may become blurry. Next, a reference scale (meter stick) was placed in the video field of view.

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Using the video experimental data, an x- and y- coordinate system was added (represented by the pink horizontal and vertical lines); the intersection of these orthogonal lines represented the ordered pair (0,0). The origin was placed as close to the center of the tracking marker as possible. After placing the origin and calibrating the screen, the object of interest was tracked. Often, the object could be tracked automatically from frame to frame; although difficulties arose when the object moved too quickly. Another issue with tracking was fixed by removing any light gradient in the field of view. Below and on the next page, you will see some Tracking data, and the resulting graphs that were created to analyze position, velocity and acceleration of the test sled. The benefits of a tracking software exercise can be appreciated in both Math and Science classrooms in the following areas: understanding slope, derivation, integration, instantaneous versus average velocity, rate of change, and many others.

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FOR THE FULL LIST OF OUR PROGRAMS AND STUDENT REFLECTIONS, PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE: www.mlkstemacademy.blogspot.com

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: Principal William Wade MLK STEM Academy

@SDPMLKLeader @MLKSTEMACADEMY

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Drone Kit of Parts By the end of the program, students had accumulated a large set of experiential knowledge and embarked on their drone design and construction. In the final week of the program, students designed and built their quadcopter drones and created trifolds to explain their company’s objectives and goals. Below is the list of parts that were used to create each drone. Please consider using these parts or adding your own creative flair to improve upon our initial design. Scale the number of units as necessary to meet your program’s needs. Also, be sure to allow ample time for delivery, as some items require international shipment with correspondingly long delivery times. HobbyKing Item Name

Item Description

# of Units

Unit Price

Total Price

(1) Turnigy LSD 4.8V 2300mAh Ni-MH Flat Receiver Pack

Rechargeable battery pack for remote control receiver

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$6.06

$6.06

(2) Hobbyking KK2.0 Multi-rotor LCD Flight Control Board

Directly-programmable flight controller for novice pilots and programmers.

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$30.18

$30.18

(3) Turnigy Accucel-8 150W 7A Balancer/Charger

Charger with various programming/ charging modes. Will accept & charge NiCd,Lilo, Lipo, LiFe, Pb batteries.

1

$42.44

$42.44

1

$26.19

$26.19

(4) Turnigy nano-tech 3000mah 3S 25~50C Lipo Pack

Rechargeable battery pack

(5) Turnigy 9X 9Ch Transmitter w/ Module & 8ch Receiver (Mode 2) (v2 Firmware)

Remote control & receiver. Receiver pairs with external battery. Remote control unit uses AA batteries.

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$53.82

$53.82

(6) TURNIGY Plush 30amp Speed Controller

Brushless Speed Controller to promote smooth throttle response

4

$12.19

$48.76

(7) NTM Prop Drive 28 Series Accessory Pack

Kit of parts to connect props / motors

4

$1.85

$7.40

(8) 10x4.5 SF Props 2pc Standard Rotation/ 2 pc RH Rotation

10” clockwise and counter-clockwise propeller blades

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$2.82

$2.82

(9) NTM Prop Drive Series 28-26A 1200kv / 250w

Brushless motors

4

$14.99

$59.96

TOTAL

$278.00

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Newsletter sept2013  

STEM ACADEMY NEWSLETTER

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