Winter 2016-17 Issue
Check out the NEW "Profile of a STEM Student" based on student design and input.
Schluter Elementary at the OLC
On November 4th, Schluter Elementary went to the OLC in Justin, Texas, to celebrate their school’s namesake, Carl E. Schluter. Schluter is known for his contributions to the community as a math, algebra, and physics teacher at Northwest High School. He was also a bus driver, and a member of Northwest’s Board of Trustees from 1959 to 1963.
The entire school attended the OLC, and completed hands-on activities that were fun, engaging, and educational. They also received presentations from STEM, AMAT, and Ag students about what they do. This included a demonstration through the building of a catapult from the STEM students. The elementary students each built their own catapults out of spoons, mousetraps, tape, and sticks.
AMAT had a presentation involving their quadcopter, while the Ag department presented the importance and process in farming and raising livestock, like pigs and cows. The students took away a veritable hoard of information. They were told of their options in high school and learned about what they may do with those options. The Schluter students hope they can return next year to learn more about their school’s namesake.
Roanoke Students Build Treehouse
Every year a group of seniors from the STEM Academy partners with the 3rd grade students at Roanoke Elementary to solve a problem together. The partnership is in its third year and both groups look forward to working together.
The project started with STEM Seniors Tate Stearns and Hayden Garner giving the third grade students a virtual tour of the STEM Academy and the “maker spaces” that our students use. At the end of the tour, third grade students were able to ask questions about the different classes, projects and tools used in STEM. After a lot of interesting conversation, Tate and Hayden introduced the students to their new project – The Treehouse. The driving question for the project was “How can we use our Maker Space to build a model treehouse that moves something from the ground up to the tree house?”
After the virtual tour, the third grade students get to work discovering simple machines, designing, modeling and preparing their presentations. For the project, the third graders had to work together as a class to design/build a treehouse that used simple machines for easy travel to and all around the tree house. This project requires teamwork, effort, and creativity as a class in order for them to complete this task, and as they work together, it teaches them the basics of PBL.
Once the students are finished, our STEM students are there to give feedback and judge their final designs. Tate and Hayden were joined by Nathan Fusselman and Casey Helmick, STEM director, for the formal presentations at Roanoke Elementary. Using the rubric, the judges score each team on design, learning, model, creativity and presentation. According to STEM senior Hayden Gardner, the project provides a “stepping stone to help students at a young age to become interested in STEM and other academies in high school. It also helps students, understand more possibilities for their future.”
The winning design is brought back to STEM to recreate using SolidWorks software and printed on the 3D printers. Then our STEM team returned to Roanoke Elementary during the morning assembly to surprise the winning team with their design in 3D. Tate stated “It was awesome to see the looks on their faces! They were so excited to see their design made into a 3D model.”
“This is a really fun and engaging project. We would love to keep up this partnership with Roanoke!” said STEM director Casey Helmick. Both students and teachers look forward to participating in this engaging and worthwhile project again next year.
TED Talk and Cockroach Brains
On November 4th some STEM students and teachers went to a TED talk at Tidwell Middle School with ABS (Academy of Biomedical Science) students from Byron Nelson High School. Greg Gage was the presenter for this TED talk and he talked about Neuroscience. A TED talk is Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and covers almost all topics from science to business to global issues.
Jacqueline Delong, STEM engineering teacher, said “He brought engineering and anatomy together talking about how the body is one big circuit and the brain sends out electric signals for your body to move.” The presenter Greg Gage, a neuroscientist, engineer and founder of Backyard Brains, had a very interactive presentation by doing experiments with the audience. STEM senior Tate Stearns said, “It was pretty cool we got to take cockroaches legs off the body and electrify them to show that the nerves still worked without connection to the brain."
This TED talk was helpful because it brought engineers and medical students together. Jacqueline Delong said, “It was really cool too see that the two academies came together to learn one thing.” The STEM students and teachers said that this TED talk was a really great experience.
3 - 2 - 1 - BLAST OFF!
Over the course of the past few months, players on the Northwest High School soccer team have been working hard to improve their skills as athletes and students. Newly announced Player of the Month and Varsity First Captain Juane Ratliff has embodied these challenges. Juane has continued to push himself both on the field and classroom to improve himself as a student at Northwest High School and to demonstrate himself as a natural born leader in projects and on the team.
Eleventh Grade STEM student and JV soccer player Christian Barker said Juane “works harder than most in practice and will always be there to pick you up when you fall.” Jacqueline Delong, the STEM Architectural design teacher, described Juane as an “excellent project manager” and a “well-mannered student”.
Over and over again Juane continues to demonstrate his ability to lead a team and keep his grades up, making him an excellent STEM student and a role model for many to follow.
Freshmen Teach the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens
Freshmen in Karen Carrier’s Pre-AP English I class were tasked to make a 15-20 minute lesson over one of the assigned habits from the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey and were required to use a digital element and an interactive activity to encourage 7 Habits strategies among students at Northwest High School. The students went above and beyond making their presentations, impressing multiple teachers, students, and administration.
The groups managed to make outstanding posters and had great presentations, each unique in its own way, showing that the students believed in what the 7 Habits book had to say about highly effective teens. The book showed them the difference between good and bad habits and they used that knowledge to teach others using the book. Hopefully, each habit will help the students through their teenage lives.
When asked about the benefits of this particular project, Ms. Carrier said, "It allowed students to become the teacher as they prepared lessons to help other students learn the importance of those skills.” Freshman Bailey Rapert said of the project, "I enjoyed being in control, more for the freedom in the project and the teamwork it took to make something to help others." Even though Aiden Devlin had a great presentation, he felt they could have done a little better in specific parts such as “adding more eye appeal to the visuals” and even just to have “practiced a little more for a smoother presentation.”
A "Robust" Robot at BEST
STEM Robotics Club, led by sponsors Kim Garrett and Jim Brown, participated the fall robotics competition on October 22. The competition that takes place in the fall is called BEST. Each year there is a different theme, and this year’s theme was “Bet the Farm.” Teams have a specific amount of time to make a robot from certain materials that can perform a specific task. Teams were required to give a professional presentation and provide judges with an engineering design process notebook.
STEM students also set up an information booth (also called “the pit”) to promote the STEM Academy and to inform people about the BEST competition. Preparing for the competition is a time-consuming process and is designed so that the students do all the work while the sponsors act as mentors and coaches. The competition exists of fast-paced three-minute matches, and points from each round are added up in the end to determine who makes the championship rounds. The Northwest High School Robotics Club received the award for the “most robust robot,” meaning their robot required the least amount of maintenance.
STEM freshman and Robotics Club member Bailey Smith said that the most difficult part of the competition was setting up the pit, contrary to what many may think. She said the most challenging part was when they “made an eight-foot mill that just seemed to not want to work or stay standing up.” STEM sophomore Conner McGreger said that as a driver in the competition, he “got to see the way that the other teams solved issues as they would appear in the various rounds.” He said that the experience helped him to discover that “when a group of minds come together, they can, most of the time, find a solution to the current problem.”
When asked about the competition, Kim Garrett, Robotics Club sponsor and engineering instructor said, “I really love that this competition really embodies everything we do in STEM. Students have to research, design, build, document, test and redesign them finally present in a limited time.” The competition provided Robotics Club students with an invaluable experience and a wealth of information for future competitions.
New Shirts Available
The Booster Club is excited to announce that there is a new shirt in town! Check out the new design below... this is a design that students and teacher alike have requested for years! The front sports a pocket protector with pens and glasses while the back says "talk Nerdy to me" using symbols from the Periodic Table of Elements. There are two separate styles available: Long Sleeve & Baseball Style both are $15 on the Booster website.
We can't wait to see it on our STEMers! Buy it here (NHS delivery).
Save the date: BANQUET
Add our STEM Banquet to your calendar! You will not want to miss the 4th Annual STEM Academy Banquet celebrating our year and honoring our graduating Seniors. Families are invited to attend. Tickets are $25 to cover the event and meal. All non-family members must be approved before ticket purchase. See Helmick for details.
Join us on Thursday, May 18th from 6:30-9pm at Robson Ranch. Tickets are on sale now! Click here to purchase your tickets -- only available online!
1st Annual STEM Fest for Elementary
STEMfest is a camp for 4th and 5th graders within Northwest ISD. It is hosted by the STEM Academy and is meant to help get younger students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math. This year’s STEMfest was held on the first Saturday in November at Northwest High School.
Students were given two tasks to complete at STEMfest. One task was to successfully build a rocket and then launch it. The other was to construct a boat that would float while holding fifty pennies, which helped students to learn about buoyancy. Students were able to practice and learn about the engineering design process through both activities.
“It was fun to inspire a new generation of STEMers,” said STEM junior Ally Bernes. The experience helped her to “learn that there are a variety of ways to achieve the same goal.”
“STEMfest was a good way for me to both interact and teach 3rd-5th graders about engineering in general. It was fun and exciting watching them build and design their own rockets and boats, with their own ideas that they brainstormed,” according to STEM sophomore Chris Muniz Vargas. Senior Bailey Smith agreed and added, “STEM fest was a wonderful community opportunity that expanded the STEM culture to a future generation.”
Social Issue Gamification
STEMtendo is an English II project that has just been completed by the sophomores. It is a project that is meant to help students target a social problem in the world today. With that, they can learn how to utilize writing techniques, the biggest one in the project being symbolism. When the group would decide on a social issue, they would turn it into a story, using the story to indirectly symbolize the problem. They worked on this project in pairs and utilized many technological programs to produce their final product.
In writing, there are times when students can use a real life event to situation to base a story off of. The project STEMtendo uses this tactic which is called, symbolism. Ms.Lloyd, the teacher of the English II STEM students, facilitated this project. She stated that STEMtendo is “a PBL (Problem Based Learning) STEM students complete their sophomore year.” While completing the project, the students have to think about their driving question, How can we create an allegorical video game based on a social issue? The students chose their own social issues before creating the video game. The goal of the project was for students to gain “a deep understanding of how symbols and allegory work outside of traditional literature.” This is what Ms.Lloyd hoped students would take away from the project.
The project was technology-based. The students being able to choose from a wide range of technology programs led to “more creative, in-depth final products,” according to Ms. Lloyd. All different types of technology was used from “rending complete 3D worlds” to “promotional websites.” With the technological freedom came better end results.
After completing the projects, they were sent to Tidwell Middle School due to the “twist of targeting an 8th grade audience.” Hulen Howard and Collier Hanson’s project won the 7th and 8th grader judging. At https://sites.google.com/nisdtx.org/stemtendo the students were able to vote for what was their favorite product.
Bill of Rights
STEM juniors have been studying US History, and Mary Proudman (US History teacher) has introduced the STEM juniors a Bill of Rights project. The purpose of the project was to see if students truly understood teh Bill of Rights. Students were asked to write the ten amendments, then write the amendments in their own words, find pictures demonstrating the ten amendments, and find real life uses for the ten amendments. For example, if someone is being arrested, they can plead the fifth and not say anything because under the Bill of Rights, people are not required to say anything.
STEM student Ben Wilson said, “The Bill of Rights project helped me fully understand the first ten amendments and what they actually meant and why they were enforced.” This project was good for the juniors because it did show them what the Bill of Rights were and a provided good understanding for them.
This project was meant to be to be easy and fun because this was a creative way to learn the Bill of rights. Student Ben Wilson said “I liked the Bill of Rights project because it pushed our class to really dig into the Bill of Rights and find real life situations and events in where the bills are used. Also we were told to rewrite the Bills of Rights in our own word so we really ended up getting to a deeper understanding of the amendments.” Mrs. Proudman said this over the project “I think the project allowed the students to evaluate why the ability to make changes to the U.S. Constitution has allowed it to change over time - as the country and society change.” Overall, the students felt like they gained a great deal of knowledge by digging deeper into our Constitution.
US history students alsoi completed a project on prominent Muckrakers of the 20th century. Muckrakers are people that brought to light the social and political issues of that time period.
Graduate Spotlight: Axel Besa
Graduate Spotlight is used to show where STEM graduates are now and how the STEM Academy has contributed the their post-high school success. Axel Besa is a former STEM student that graduated with the class of 2016. He is now attending the University of Texas at Arlington and majoring in mechanical engineering.
One of the main goals of STEM is to prepare students for college. Axel said “time management is a big thing that STEM helped him prepare for college.” In STEM, time management is a big key to being successful, and the various projects and rigorous workload in STEM require students to manage their time. Axel has been using this skill in college in order to keep up his grades.
One main school-related activity that Axel participates in is the “Aeromavs” club. In this club engineering majors learn mechanical and aerospace engineering. This is helpful to him since he is majoring in mechanical engineering. For his personal time he said, “I’m either studying, hanging with friends, or at work.” STEM has helped with distributing his free time in important things.
This year Axel started a website where he sells many clothing items and hats. He created the website to share his ideas and for a “college student who only works on weekends, the money would be kind of nice too.” The website https://t.co/BWURnpZfmM has been successful and many people have bought his products.
STEM teachers enjoyed having Axel in class. STEM director Casey Helmick said, “I am so proud of his accomplishments and can’t wait to get my new sweatshirt!” Engineering instructor Jacqueline Delong replied, “Axel was a very strong STEM student. We miss him dearly but know that he is doing great things at UTA!”
Math Makes a Splash
STEM sophomores and juniors were tasked to make a water play park model, using different water jets. They had to use different velocities and parabolas. They also had to “be able to explain two different equations for each parabola in their water park” according to Jewel Kubacki, STEM algebra teacher. Most teams made their models out of clay or foam and used blue pipe cleaners to resemble water coming out of the spout making the parabolas.
Each team came up with their own theme for the waterpark ranging from a snowy wonderland to a race track. Teams consisted of four members, and each member had to come up with two parabolas meeting the requirement of at least eight unique parabolas.
STEM Junior Justin Kolkmeier said he “had the most fun with model building” because it gives them something more interesting to present. Junior Josiah Jenkins found making the equations “mostly easy [but] just a little time-consuming.” Overall, the Water Park Project provided a relevant hands-on learning experience for STEM students.
Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse
This year’s Fall Festival came with an interesting/fun theme for STEM students at the OLC (Outdoor Learning Center). It switched from pumpkin chunking to a zombie apocalypse! Many students came into the field trip not knowing about the new change so it was a big surprise for them to start with. With brand new activities and awesome team building work, the students of STEM enjoyed figuring ways to escape this terrifying zombie apocalypse.
Many people liked the change of Fall Festival from last year to this year. STEM senior Carson Lane stated, “I really liked the theme of how it was a zombie apocalypse.” Previous years, the Fall Festival was mainly known for the Freshman launching their trebuchet from their “Trebuchet Project.” The change to a zombie apocalypse really shocked many STEM students in a positive way.
There were certain things that made this year’s Fall Festival one to remember. With many activities that required teamwork, it brought a lot of memories. STEM facilitator John Klingseisen stated, “We had an awesome theme of a Zombie Apocalypse that gave purpose to our team buildings.” There were activities such as “Zombie Supply Hunt” and “Map your escape route” which gave the true meaning of a zombie apocalypse. There was one activity that stood out the most and that was the “Duct Tape Stretcher” activity. The objective was to create a duct tape stretcher to transport injured members to their team quietly. This in fact gave the true purpose for the Zombie Apocalypse theme, and that’s coming together as a team to accomplish what needs to be done.
Many STEM students compared last year’s festival to this year’s festival. They liked how the theme was based off of every grade level and not just focused around the freshmen’s pumpkin chunkin’ contest. STEM junior Lawrence stated, “Last years was focused on a specific grade group and that was the freshmen. But this year, it was focused on all age groups and everybody was involved in the big spectacle.” The change of focus really improved the Fall Festival from the looks of the students. They want everybody to be involved and that’s the great thing about this year’s Zombie Apocalypse Fall Festival.
Flying High at the Air Show
Fort Worth-Alliance Airport - This Fall the airshow came to Fort Worth along with multiple popular teams and individual pilots including the world renown United States Air Force’s Thunderbirds and Jack Link’s “Screemin’ Sasquatch.” One of the stars of the show was the United States Navy Air Tactical Demonstration Team, who demonstrated the use and power of the FA/18 Super Hornet fighter jet. During the demonstration, one Northwest High School student was able to capture a phenomenal photo of the FA/18 in a vapor cone. A vapor cone is formed when a plane reaches supersonic speeds and breaks the sound barrier creating a wave of high pressure air around it. AMAT student Kaylee Smith was able to capture this amazing and rare photograph of the plane doing this.
In an interview with the AMAT newsletter team, LT. Justin Wendel mentioned that “[the] student was able to capture one of the most difficult snapshots of the performance.” He went on to say that this was a picture he had been waiting to see all season of the airshow, as no other professional photographers were able to capture it. This shows the truly amazing skills taught in STEMs sister academy AMAT.
When questioned about the airshow, AMAT photography instructor, Josh Gaston, said that this is the student's “first chance to experience the show as a photographer.” Overall the airshow provided a show for many but a memory that will never be forgotten for one.
Photos courtesty of AMAT & Kaylee Smith
Booster Club: Get Involved!
The STEM Academy Booster Club has been hard at work all year planning fundraisers, supporting our STEM students and making plans for the future. We would love to see more parent/student involvement in our meetings and decisions. We need you! Can't join our meetings? Think about supporting with a donation or working with our Booster Club behind the scenes.
Our next meeting will be on January 11, 2017 @ 7pm in the NHS Library. Join us as we continue working to support our STEM kids!