ACADEMIC BRIEFS: HS and MS Science

DSC_9720_kleinsorge_knipfer_gastelumI_bestCHANGING STATE OF MATTER LAB, MS SCIENCE

LTC Willis Kleinsorge’s eighth grade students conducted a Changing State of Matter experiment on February 12. Students filled beakers with solid snow, then heated it and observed as the substance changed from solid to liquid to gaseous states.

“The snow changed into slush and the water,” Kaplan wrote in his lab chart at the four minute mark. “There are bubbles in the snow.”

Caleb Cloyde’s snow began to melt at one minute in, rising to a temperature of one degree Celsius.

As his classmates began their snow boil lab, Martin Farias continued an individual Electrolysis Lab with water, salt water, sugar water and vinegar.

IMG_6802REACTION LAB, MS SCIENCE

On January 28, eighth grade cadets in LTC Willis Kleinsorge’s classes mixed combinations of three liquids and four powders (baking powder, corn starch, baking soda, sugar, water, vinegar and iodine solution) to determine whether their reactions were chemical or physical.

IMG_6820_arredondo_bestCadets have learned to describe matter based on its physical and chemical properties. Cadets have also learned some signs that can help them determine whether a change in matter is a physical change or a chemical change. In this lab, cadets used what they have learned to describe four substances based on their properties and the changes that they undergo. LTC WILLIS KLEINSORGE

MONSANTO FIELD TRIP, by MAJ Mike Pemberton

160215_007On February 15, a group of MAJ Mike Pemberton’s Environmental Science and Biology students visited Monsanto Company in Chesterfield, MO. Monsanto is an agricultural company that delivers products for farmers all around the world. They are focused on empowering farmers (large or small) to produce more from their land while conserving natural resources such as water and energy.

160215_014Our desire to tour their facility came from our studies in genetics and ecology. Part of our curriculum in both Biology and Environmental Science focuses on the importance of plants. Like Monsanto, our cadets study different ways to make agriculture more productive and sustainable.

Our tour started with a group experiment. In one of Monsanto’s research labs, cadets were able to extract and observe strawberry DNA. They learned each step’s importance and why scientists extract DNA from organisms.  After the experiment, the cadets were split into two groups to tour the facilities.  Some of the stops on the tour included research labs, a biotechnology center, and various greenhouses.

BALLOON CARS & COPPER SULFATE
VERONICA ANDERSON

On February 19, cadets in first-year science instructor Veronica Anderson third period class raced handmade balloon cars to demonstrate Newton’s third law. Each cadet designed and constructed one or more miniature cars and adjusted the design over several class periods. Materials included Lifesaver candies, CDs, duct tape, scotch tape, construction paper, Styrofoam cups and straws.

Anderson’s students also conducted a Single Displacement Lab on February 16 and wrote lab reports about their findings. Using stoichiometry, students calculated the amount of aluminum needed to turn copper sulfate crystals from blue to brown via single-displacement reactions.

IMG_9004_puente_ashton_hammDISSECTING FROGS

On January 28, cadets in MAJ Mike Pemberton’s fifth hour class began their dissection of leopard frogs.

Students started with a visual inspection of the external anatomy, determining the gender of their specimen based on the frog’s size (female frogs are usually larger) and digits (male frogs have thick thumb pads.) After examining the head anatomy – mouth, external nares, tympani, eyes and nictitating membranes – cadets pinned down their specimen’s legs and cut the hinges of the lips to open their frog’s mouth.

IMG_8897The internal investigation began with the identification of mouth structures – teeth, glottis, pharynx, esophagus, tongue, internal nares and Eustachian tube – and continued with the digestive system – stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas, etc. Cadets finished their dissection by confirming gender based on the reproductive system of their specimen.

Additional frog specimens were dissected by Rachel Yim’s classes in mid-February.