After-school programs wrap up with student-driven learning

iSchool finished its 2014-2015 School Year Programs with fun-filled activities that inspired deep thinking and individual creativity.

StopAction Superhero

Our program at Forestville Elementary School culminated with individual projects, based on our philosophy of supporting student-driven project-based learning.  At Forestville, this year we decided our projects would be superhero videos. Students at Forestville worked over several class periods on live action or stop motion videos using a variety of online and physical technologies.  The video challenge had only a few stipulations: the video had to showcase science in some way, it had to feature a superhero using its powers for good, and it had to be between 30 and 60 seconds long.


One team spent four weeks working on their superhero costumes and a story for their video.  They practiced multiple times, incorporated feedback, and expanded their team to incorporate roles for every child in the class.  In the end, their live action video had a superhero using electricity to stop a villian!  Several other students worked on stop action videos, with one student using clay and toy cars to make sculptures that he photographed. Another student took pictures of her recycled superhero defeating an enemy.  A third student tried her hand at animation on both a laptop and a tablet. It was a great example of the passion that children have for a project when they are allowed the freedom to follow their own creative desires.  It also provided an excellent snapshot of the planning process and the need for review, reflection, and modification.

  Acid-baseballoon  OceanAcid

At Great Falls Elementary School, children requested their favorite – chemical reactions – as the capstone to their semester of Creative STEM. They compared classic acid-base reactions to the biophysical yeast reaction, and were treated to a Mentos-Soda geyser. To encourage reflection on global issues, we included our lesson on ocean acidification from climate change. Students compared the effects of neutral salt water and an acidic vinegar-water solution on a Tums, which is made from Calcium Carbonate, the same mineral that forms coral reefs. They immediately understood the impact on biodiversity loss from oceans becoming acidic.

AcidBaseBag   MentosCar

Students at Forestville also had a fun chemical reaction day, using acids and bases to create puffy bags, make huge borax polymer balls, and use the Mentos-Soda explosion to power a car.

Gingerale2   MentosGingerale

On the last day, the Forestville class culminated with high pressure water-powered rockets.  First, though, students had to empty out soda bottles, which they did by comparing the impact of adding 1, 2, 3, or 4 mentos candy pieces to gingerale. They were surprised to find that 2 pieces of candy resulted in the highest soda fountain.

Rocket1  Rocket3     

Students then took turns shooting off rockets, sending them high into the air and trying to guess where they would land.


Students then returned to the drawing board to modify their rockets in some way. One student tried to modify his rocket so he could catch it, while others tried to change their direction of flight.

Want to continue the learning and the fun? Register for our Summer Camps!

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