Students have been very busy learning about various practical applications of life science, physics and chemistry in the new middle school inquiry-based science elective this year. Students began by learning about the process of decomposition through composting, and have built their own compost along with several trials where they modified their compost “recipe” to see which one would best break down a carrot. Several teams were highly successful in fully decomposing a carrot in a very short time! Students are now following up on this with a trial to look at how composted soil works versus regular topsoil in seed germination and growth. The class has already sprouted many different vegetables, which are rapidly growing into seedlings.
Additionally, students have learned about structural engineering concepts and examples of buildings around the world that have been both, structural engineering marvels and dismal failures. Students then designed (and redesigned) a paper tower built from newspaper, with the goal of seeing which design can bear the most weight in books. The winning structure built by Grayson Beckman, Andrew Smith and Jenna Hall, with 8 pieces of newspaper and masking tape held 27.1 pounds! Further modification by students Andrew Williams, AJ McKnight and Conner Keim, led to a heavier structure that was able to hold 32.5 pounds! Students are now busily making glue from skim milk and testing its strength in various applications. As with any engineering project, there have been multiple trial runs with modifications to enhance the designs.
Throughout the entire class, we are continually reminded of the amazing “Great Designer” who has created such functionality, strength, delicacy, AND beauty in His Creation!