Solar Cars, Genetics, and a whole lot of Science

Each year, 8th-grade students apply their understanding of material science, electrical circuits, Newton's laws of motion, and forms of energy, by designing and building their very own solar-powered cars! In small groups, students work together testing and troubleshooting their cars in hopes of creating the fastest racer of the year. To conclude the unit, each group participates in a festive solar car race, which draws the attention of students across multiple grades. The fastest cars move on to the semi-final and final rounds, with trophies and prizes being handed out throughout the day. The unit is a great blend of applied physics knowledge, engineering, teamwork, and fun!  Click here to view solar car photos. 

 

Solar Car Winners:
1st Pedro - Joseph Pieczynski and Joey Markey|
2nd Helios - Cole Carberry and Charlton McDevitt
3rd Kachow - Lauren Wilson and Imogen Lunn
4th Hog Rider - Brighton Fontaine and John Pieczynski

While 8th graders were racing solar cars this past week, relevant, real-world, cutting-edge science was the focus for 11th grade Biology classes. At the end of the DNA and Genetics units, students used PCR and gel electrophoresis to analyze information about their own DNA when learning how scientists and doctors obtain genetic information about individuals. They debated the ethics of genetic screening by analyzing a variety of case studies involving athletics, forensics, and family medical information. They genetically modified bacteria to glow green in learning about genetic engineering and new technologies, like CRISPR. They ended the unit by designing an infographic that illustrates their viewpoint of whether we should be able to genetically enhance individuals, not just treat them for genetic disorders with gene therapy.

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