Welcome to the web presence for the Homesteaders STEM project, led by Connor and Curtis. Our regular meetings are on second Saturdays at 1 pm at the Homesteaders 4-H Ranch in Santa Clara. Our meeting schedule will be posted on the Homesteaders calendar with "STEM" included in the event titles.
We visited the Foothill College Observatory and were treated to views of Mars, Saturn, Jupiter (+ 3 moons!), and the Messier 13 globular cluster on their telescope.
We learned how to make a simple but fast kind of wind spinner (a three-blade turbine style). Everyone tried to make theirs go as fast as possible. Some got close to 400 RPM!
We started the Wind Spinners activity with Science Journal. Everybody made up their own design for a wind spinner and we learned how to test them and measure their RPM.
We used the new Science Journal app to explore our environment. We measured sound intensity, light levels, and acceleration, so see what interesting patterns we could find around the ranch.
We imagined what salt would look like if each grain was the size of our hands and drew it. Then we used microscopes to look at sea salt, table salt, sugar, pepper, and miscellaneous found objects.
Connor taught us about forces on flying objects (drag, lift, propulsion, and gravity) and we used our knowledge to make paper airplanes.
Rachel, a civil engineer, taught us about bridges. We made beam bridges out of paper to support as many pennies as possible.
We learned about computational thinking using a few problems from computer science: Map coloring, sharing information while keeping secrets, and how to guess which number I'm thinking. Activities were based on lessons from http://csunplugged.org.
We learned about geospatial science using activities from New York 4-H. Our first activity demonstrated how you can measure distance if you know how fast a signal is moving and how long it took to reach the target (going from a GPS satellite to a handheld receiver). The second activity showed that if you gather this data point from three or more GPS satellites, you can determine the location of the receiver (the user).
We will be doing the National Youth Science Day (NYSD) activity, Motion Commotion, to learn about the physics of moving objects (like cars) with some takeaways about safe, undistracted driving.
We had 23 youth attend (well, 23 signed in) to watch the lunar eclipse and experiment with micro eclipses on with polystyrene balls and a lamp. Clouds blocked our viewing, but we did science anyway!
Followup: Watch this video that describes the "supermoon" eclipses we've had the pleasure of experiencing recently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gzgSuJM5O8.