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Science Festival Done!

It’s finally finished. We hosted our first Science Festival at school. It didn’t go too bad. Didn’t have the crowd we expected but our students who attended had a blast. We held it on a Monday night from 5-8 pm. The night started out with our guest speaker Dr. Mary Jane Epps, who works at the Dunn Lab at NC State University. She did a great job and we are actually thinking about bringing her back to talk to our students after school one day.  Attendees had a couple of options; they could listen to Dr. Epps speak, visit the new  Robotics team“maker room” , visit our Science Olympiad team, participate in one of the STEM activities in a the science rooms, or star watch on the piazza.  I’m not sure I can do the night justice, but if you want to see how it went check out Rachelle Garbarine’s story on the front page of Gibbons  website

In my room everyone played the Mar’s Rover Game on Xbox 360. The kids had a blast and my students who were helping wanted me to bring it to class one day. Might be a good treat for them, we are in astronomy right now. Students also helped the younger children build air rockets. A distance competition was held and winners received prizes. I found this activity on a NASA education website.  We also had our students working with our new Lego kits. This was possible because of the NASA grant we received and also the Siemens grant I obtained over the summer. Students worked to build and complete the Green City Challenge. Side note we purchased the Space Challenge from Lego Education also, this works with the EV3’s. At our Robotics Regional Tournament set for January 25th, my students will be mentoring the younger visitors on the Green Challenge activity.  Another blog entry to come.

I will mention one highlight of the night, our Science Department Chair, Sr. Janet Schemmel SND, dropped different objects into liquid nitrogen, freezing them in an instant, then breaking them.  Thanks to Dan Porter for obtaining the liquid. Not only did she have a blast but also everyone who attended her demonstration.

Science Festival 2014_By_Lorenzo_Macaisa (35)       Science Festival 2014_By_Lorenzo_Macaisa (142)

The whole night would not have been possible without everyone in the department being on board. If you are going to do this, and I mentioned this in another entry, make sure you have people to help. It took a good deal of planning to do this, and with the help of others we got it done. I did get others in the school involved, great opportunity for collaboration, for instance our Marketing club helped create the flyers for the event and our Tech theater students helped with setup. One other thing make sure you have a budget, you will have expenses and don’t want to have to use your class budget. Applying for a grant might be a good idea, science festival + community, I think you could find funding immediately.

Even though we didn’t have the attendance we would have liked; it was a great success. Or so people are telling me. It also was a great start to establishing our relations with our community.  We are already talking about what we should do next year. Next department meeting should be interesting.  My goal when proposing the festival was to spur some interest in STEM and establish a future event for us to host.  And I think we did.

By the way this #3 of the #bc20 challenge. The first three I had included in one entry. But I’m going to change that. I think I might have been cheating a bit. Embarrassed smile


BC # 4 …CGHS Science Festival

So I promised in one of my other blog entries that I would talk about our upcoming science festival. A 3 hour night that everyone in the Science department is taking part in. The idea came to me about a year ago and I proposed it to our department. I had read about other schools holding a STEM event for their community and thought this might be something good for our community. Well guess what? It worked and now we are hosting our first science festival at Cardinal Gibbons High School. 



Getting everyone on board was easy, communication was the hardest part. Getting the word out to middles schools and middle school teachers was a hard job. I think this year we are just relying on word of mouth and then next year we hope to expand our communication.  So I would advise anyone who is going to do this make sure you establish a line of communication with your middle school teachers.  We hope to have a signup for future notifications at the event.

Our second hurdle was when to hold it. January seemed the best with all the other events occurring at school. So we decided on January 13th a Monday.  Now we needed to decide on a time. Hoping to draw more people we scheduled the event from 5-8 pm.  What impressed me the most was the support of my administration and colleagues. Very important if you are to succeed in doing this type of planning.

I can’t thank my colleagues for coming through with some awesome STEM activities.  See the schedule below. Plus visitors will be able to meet our Science Olympiad and Robotics teams.

“Belly Button Biodiversity” presentation by NC State graduate students — Main Theater from 5:30 – 6:15 pm and again from 6:30 – 7:15 pm

Belly buttons fascinate us all.  Ever wonder what microbes may be living inside your belly button?  The Belly Button Biodiversity Project is currently researching this unique biome.   Come and learn more about how this collection of organisms on our skin forms our first line of defense against pathogens.

Stargazing on the Piazza

Have you always wanted to gaze into the night sky through a telescope?  Maybe you really are an astronomer at heart.   What is special about the night sky on January 13, 2014?  Stop by and bring your eye up to the lens to view our solar system and beyond.

Science Olympiad – Auxiliary Gym

Introduce yourself to our medal winning Science Olympiad team and see how they are preparing for their upcoming regional competition – from elastic launched gliders to bottle rockets to boomilevers to forensic science to Duck® tape structures to …

ROBOTICS – room 120

Come and meet the Gibbons Robotics team — the Purple Gears, and see their latest robotic designs perform specific tasks as they ready for the upcoming FIRST Tech Challenge.  In the past five years the team has developed novel solutions to earn one published patent application and two pending submissions.     

The Strawberry Genome Project – rooms 219 and 221

All living things, including the food you eat, have DNA – the genetic code.  In this 20 minute laboratory experience you will extract visible DNA strands from the cells of a strawberry and find out what it means to be OCTOPLOID!  Delicious!

Olympic Broomball – room 223

It may not be ice hockey or officially the sport of curling, but you can challenge yourself employing the laws of physics, and record the fastest time by chasing a bowling bowl along a bordered course with only a broom!

NASA – A STEM Activity Area – room 225

What’s the buzz about STEM?  Find out why you have the “right stuff” to be an engineer, a scientist, or mathematician in the 21st century.  Engage yourself in a variety of STEM activities from rockets to rovers.  You can even try landing the Mars rover, “Curiosity” using Xbox.  Innovators unite!

Dazzling Demos in Chemistry – rooms 227 and 228

  • See the Miracle – turn water into wine!!
  • Get excited by watching “excited electrons” produce light.  Chemiluminescence – is this what happens in a firefly?
  • Old Faithful has nothing on Old Foamey – come check it out!
  • Shake it Up!!  Come and jiggle the flask and make it turn the colors of a stoplight!

Who knows what else?  Chemistry holds “the element” of surprise!

The Unnoticed World – room 229

Come and meet – up close and personal, some of the most common insects and discover nature’s remarkable beauty. Visitors participate in caterpillar and termite races and win a prize

Concessions – CGHS Café

Fuel your science brain and give it a rest with a snack or two from the concessions.

check the website for a map

I have to thank Joleen Smith for this wonderful write up she is amazing when it comes to this type of job. There are a lot people working on this event, and that is what you need when doing something like this. It can get overwhelming if you don’t have the help you need. Now we wait and see, if 20 people show up I think it’s a success because it’s a start. Once we get our foundation we can build on it next year. I do have to mention here that the parents have been awesome. They have given us a great deal of support and are volunteering to help in any way possible. A special thanks  to them.  Also a special thanks to all my colleagues taking the time out of their to schedule to do this event.