MS Science and Engineering Expo Photos

Thanks to all students, parents, and teachers for another incredible evening! The quality of the exhibits was high, and we could tell you worked hard. Enjoy the photos and videos below–you can click/tap on them to enlarge.

Tessa and Chloe show their Rube Goldberg dog feeding machine

Small children are enthralled!

The dogs enjoyed the show, too

A functional, hand-cranked, 3D-printed
Archimedean Screw

 

Jed and Ben show Lower Campus students their French Revolution
demonstration–fruit was definitely harmed in the making of this
exhibit!

 

…but put to good use in the
Blender Bicycle by Cate and Valeria!
Don’t forget to hold that lid on!

 

Mercy and Jenny help Mrs. Short to understand key principles of
buoyancy, density, and mass–looks like exciting stuff!

Christine and Ashlynne with their impressive pulley arrangements

Pedro and Julian with their LEGO version of the legendary
Claw of Archimedes

Lux and Olivia put together this
impressive homemade hydraulic
robot arm–well done, girls!

Selene, Mr. Hougo, and Asher prepare a live demonstration of
a compound pulley system

Doing fine, three feet off the ground
Also doubles as a “time out” device
for small children (it’s all right–it’s
Mr. Meadth’s son)
Caleb and Michael explored another
apocryphal war engine: the Archimedes
Death Ray!

 

Chloe and Ava with a motorized Aerial Screw, taken straight from
the pages of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook

Kayode and Josh lift 80 pounds of concrete and steel with a 3:1
mechanical advantage

Dylan and Jordan produced another
engine of war: the tennis ball ballista!

Sam and Tommy with their homemade motorized paper plane
launcher!  Standard equipment for every boy aged 5 to 105

 

Belen and Erica with an array of
marshmallow catapults

A surprising number of marshmallows never made it to the catapults

When Mr. Alker’s son wasn’t eating them, Mr. Alker was

Deacon and Chris were popular with
the racing crowd, tracking time, speed,
momentum, and kinetic energy

Julian and Zak loading a high-tension catapult, constructed entirely
of steel frame–be sure to watch the videos!

Once again, well done 8th Grade! Finish the year strong, and we’ll do this again next year.

MS Science and Engineering Expo–Monday!

The Providence Engineering Academy and the MS Science Department are excited to present the second annual Middle School Science and Engineering Expo. It will be held at the Providence Upper Campus (630 East Canon Perdido Street) on Monday, April 24 from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Entry is free, and refreshments will be provided.

Levers, pulleys, and screws, oh my! The theme is “Machines”, with a medieval/Renaissance twist. The students have spent a month preparing their projects, building catapults, pulley systems, Archimedean war engines, and more. The interactive exhibits will be running the entire time, so come learn and support our students at this fun, family-friendly event!

Erica and Belen carefully design their catapult poster
Dylan with his very impressive
tennis ball ballista

Science history buffs might recognize this one–Eureka!

Julian with an almost-finished Archimedean war engine

Is that a blender on the back of that bike, Valeria? Smoothie to go!

Chloe with a scale model of Leonardo’s aerial screw

(Many thanks to Kylie from the Providence Engineering Academy for helping write this article.)

Middle School Science and Engineering Expo

Providence School launched its Engineering Academy this school year, and it has proved to be a great success. Overseen by Mr. Rodney Meadth, this four-year high school program gives participants a broad experience in the various fields of engineering, with an emphasis on practical service and project-based learning.

In carrying out assignments with real-world applications, students designed an orphanage for partners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, taught a science lesson to younger students, and produced custom-designed 3D-printed educational items requested by the school’s teachers. Examples of these include geometry volume demonstrations, chemistry molecular models, pyramids and ziggurats for elementary social studies, and even the Academy’s own promotional USB drives. They also connected with professionals in the Santa Barbara area, including Moog Space and Defense Group, Praevium Research, and architect Jeff Shelton.
The science lesson taught to the 4th Grade earlier this year; the catapult will
feature again in a hands-on activity at the Science and Engineering Expo!

Engineering Academy students are acting as mentors for Providence’s first Middle School Science and Engineering Expo. The Expo showcases a variety of hands-on demonstrations and exhibits, all relating to a theme of space exploration. Aimed at families with upper-elementary aged children and older, guests can interactively explore robotics, chemistry, navigation, interplanetary science, and more.

The Providence Science and Engineering Expo will be held at the school’s Upper Campus on 630 Canon Perdido Street on May 3, from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Entry is free, refreshments will be served, and families with children are encouraged to attend.

Middle school students explore the theme of space exploration, coming up
with a conceptual design for a Mars habitat

“I’m excited to show people what we’re doing with STEM here at Providence, because it’s something unique,” says Meadth, who is co-leading the Expo with the middle school science teacher, Nate Alker. “We have a strong engineering and science experience, from a Christian perspective, in the context of the liberal arts. This means that our students understand not only the ‘how’ of science, but also the ‘why’.”
The Providence Engineering Academy is currently accepting applications for next year at all high school grade levels (9-12). Those interested should contact Rodney Meadth at rmeadth@providencesb.org. Browse this blog site to read more stories of projects undertaken and grants awarded and to download a copy of the application packet.

4th Grade Science Lesson: Catapults!

Let’s be honest—if there’s one thing everybody loves, it’s a good catapult. Few things are more satisfying than choosing one’s favorite projectile, pulling back on a spring-loaded arm, shouting some indistinct battle-cry, and letting fly! With such sentiments firmly in mind, the Providence Engineering Academy set off to the Lower Campus to teach the 4th Grade some basic principles of science and engineering—using catapults.

Tossing aside the temptation to settle for table-top miniatures made of popsicle sticks and elastic bands, the Academy constructed three heavy-duty wooden war machines, with four-foot-long launch arms. Many thanks to sophomore Tys vanZeyl for singlehandedly building one of these himself! The design included custom-made 3D-printed cups to hold the tennis ball projectiles.

Fire! 4th Grade students wisely get out of the way
(photo by Tys vanZeyl)

Let’s be clear: while catapults are a lot of fun (and only slightly dangerous in the wrong hands), this was no mere game. The purpose of the lesson was to show the 4th Graders how changing the input variables produces different outcomes. In this case, the 4th Graders had control over two input variables: 1) the position of the launch arm’s fulcrum, and 2) how far back they pulled the arm. The students recorded their distance for different combinations of the two, in an attempt to understand how they could predictably control the outcome in the future.

The lesson also showed that a more durable cup design was needed in the future.

Oops! The blue 3D-printed cup breaks loose and takes flight
(photo by Tys vanZeyl)

After recording the different outcomes, the games began! The students marked out scoring zones on the range, and the 4th Graders attempted to land their tennis balls in just the right place—referring, of course, to their data in hand.

Gabe and Aaron help the 4th Grade record their data
(photo by Tys vanZeyl)

After three rounds, scores were tied between two teams: the Corn Cats and the Engineering Nerds. The two teams went into a sudden death round, and after a brief struggle, the Engineering Nerds dropped their ball into the zone for a hard-earned win!

The Engineering Nerds win the day!
(photo by Tys vanZeyl)

The Academy students finished the day back in the classroom with a round of discussion and questions, asking the 4th Graders about the two variables, their effect on the outcome, and problems they encountered.

Debriefing back in the classroom
(photo by Tys vanZeyl)

Thanks to all of our stellar Engineering Academy students, who planned and prepared and constructed to make this an amazing experience for the 4th Grade. We hope to get down to the Lower School again this semester, and use our knowledge and passion to invigorate the next generation for math and science and engineering.

‘Til next time!