Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Innovators/8 Project Vulcan: A mission to Mars

The colonization of Mars is no longer considered a science fiction dream.  It is quickly becoming a science reality.  Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk are pushing the envelop further towards setting up a permanent colony on Mars.  With the current and future probes, rovers and missions to Mars by NASA, the outlook on this mission is very bright.  The role that we will play in this great human endeavor is looking to the future of colonization.  The needs for humans to survive and thrive on Mars will require a lot of old current and new technology and scientific breakthroughs.  Scientists expertise from various fields will need to be utilized to ensure that we can make this mission a success.  You will focus on the initial launch of a mission to Mars, this will include the following;

  • Rocket development and deployment 
  • Engineering of rovers and communication outposts 
  • Exploration and conformation of colonization site
  • Building of habitat pods (living spaces) for astronauts
  • Understanding of the Martian planet:
    • Geological
    • Meteorological
    • Astronomical
  • Development, design and engineering of food producing systems to sustain human life
  • Development, design and engineering of water collection and retainment systems 
Success and failures will be celebrated and criticized to help foster a better understanding of the importance of engineering and scientific knowledge as it relates to space and planetary exploration.

Each group's dedication to their topic and the mission will determine the overall success.  This capstone project will require students to use what they have learned throughout their coursework with the Innovator team.  Resources such as the playlists below, our trip to NASA Goddard, books, magazines, documentaries and other outlets will aid in getting a better understanding of the gravity of the mission that we as a human species will have to face given the circumstances of interplanetary travel.

Good Luck...

Project Vulcan                                                 Physics of Motion Playlist

Planetary Engineering 

Aero-Space Engineering

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Innovators/6 The Restless Earth

The planet that we live on is an active one.  The ground shakes and moves with a force that appears to denote life.  Our Earth is forever changing and because of this, life has evolved and flourished.  Our study of the Earth begins by looking deep inside and understanding the various layers of the Earth and how they complement each other.  The scale model that we are currently constructing highlights these layers and put into perspective the vast amount of material that is just below our feet.  Click on the link below to access a playlist created around our study of the Earth's interior.  Use the resources to explore, learn and gain important background knowledge that will assist you in the upcoming units of study.  Remember, we are looking to help to better understand our essential question: HOW DOES AN ACTIVE EARTH AFFECT THE DIVERSITY OF LIFE?

The Interior of the Earth Playlist

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Innovators 7 Spontaneous Generation: Living things created from non-living things.

The idea that living things arise from in-organic (non-living things) materials was an idea in the early 17th century. What was the basis of this idea (example) and who and how was this idea disproved?   Based on class discussion and your assigned reading, describe the experiment(s) that was used to prove spontaneous generation false (Redi & Pasteur).  How does science help to disproves theories and ideas such as these?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Innovators 7/8 S.I.R. Scientific Investigative Reporter

The world is full of scientific mystery and wonder.  There are also issues that concern scientists and the general public based on the effects on both man and his environment.  It is important that the general public is informed and made aware of these issues.  Your role as a S.I.R. is to continually inform the public of the scientific topic that you have selected.  You will report out at the end of every month through various informational methods (written, audio, and /or video).  You will be able to use numerous resources but you will have to stay current by only using relevant news from the past or current month only!  Please do your job diligently and have fun reporting out!

Topics Include:


Global Climate Change


Food-borne Illnesses

Environmental Chain Reactions

Stem Cells

Food Waste

Innovators 6/7 October Nature Connections

Fall is officially upon us, with the month of October here, the fall colors of orange, yellow and brown plays now throughout the days.  The days are now significantly starting to show their shortness and the the cool nights are beginning to creep upon us.  This is a great time to be outside and experience the the outdoors.  The fall color of the leaves plays out against the backdrop of the surroundings like an artist's brush on a canvas.  October was the eighth month in the ten-month Roman calendar and the ancient Anglo-Saxons, father of the north, called it "Winterfylleth" because winter was said to begin on the full moon of this month. Soon the days of winter will be upon us, so enjoy the colors and flavors of the fall months.

October Nature Connection Assignments:
  • My Nature Notes pg 239 (2 a week for a total of 8)
  • Picture of the Month pg 241
  • Why Do Leaves Turn Colors? pg 242-243 (read for understanding)
  • Drawing Leaves pg 244-245
  • What is Moss?  What are Fungi? pg 250-251 (read for understanding)
  •  Storing Food for Winter pg 252 

My Nature Notes 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Innovators/7 Food Waste Action Plan

It has been estimated that over 50% of all food in the U.S. is wasted with 98% of this wasted food being dumped into landfills.  The amount of organics that rot and decay in these land fills contributes to an ever increasing carbon output.  Add in the fact that 1 in 5 children are considered hungry, and the problem of food management has to be addressed.  We have identified one point source of food waste that we can impact is our own cafeteria.  The amount of food that is thrown away on a daily basis is astonishing.  As a class we have begun to discuss ways in which we can educate and change the behaviors of our fellow students to help reduce and possible go to a zero waste cafeteria.  In order to accomplish this task, we must create an action plan to address this problem.  This post will be the epicenter for posting updates, ideas and information gathered as it relates to food waste and the action plan.  Below are some questions that your class has generated to help the project get off the ground.

•             Why is food wasted?
•             How much food is wasted here?
•             How much food do they not put out at lunch, and what happens to it?
•             Based on all schools in the country, which state wastes the most food?
•             What is the ratio of food waste from packers to buyers?
•             What is the most wasted food at school?
•             What is the goal?
•             What are one of the procedures needed to collect the food waste?
•             How are we going to get others to do this project?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Innovators/8 Crash and Survive!

You and your companions have just survived a plane crash.  Unfortunately, the pilot and co-pilot were killed in the crash.  It's mid-January, and you are in Northern Canada.  The daily temperature is 25 below zero and the night time temperature is 40 degrees below zero.  There is snow on the ground, and the countryside is wooded with several creeks criss-crossing the area.  The nearest town is 20 miles away.  You are dressed in what you wore to school today.  Your group managed to salvage the following items:

A ball of steel wool
A small ax
A flare gun w/three flares
Can of Crisco shortening
Newspaper (one per person)
Cigarette lighter (without fluid)
Extra shirt and pants for each survivor
20 x 20 ft piece of heavy-duty canvas
A sectional air map made of plastic
One quart of 100 proof whiskey
A compass
Family-sized chocolate bar (one per survivor)

As a group rank these items in order of importance for your group's survival.  Explain how each item could help you survive this challenge until yo are rescued. Your team MUST come to an agreement on the items in your list!  What additional challenges did you and your team face while conducting this simulation and how could this relate to any type of survival/disaster situation?