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Fiber & Polymer Science

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Our Chemistry and Physical Science classes had a real treat today when Tom Wilson, who has a Ph.D in Fiber and Polymer Science, spoke from his extensive industry experience. In his work career Dr. Tom has been a part of NASA sponsored research, spent 11 years in medical applications of polymers, and 18 years at Nike. He also holds 13 US Patents. Most of the shoes the students were wearing contain polymers Dr. Tom designed!

The students learned how advertising can influence our ideas about chemicals and chemistry by studied a list of complex and scary sounding chemicals. Dr. Wilson was actually showing them the list of chemicals contained in the superfood Kiwi!  He talked about how polymers are used in shoes, adhesives, and in many aspects of modern life.

When the students had the opportunity to ask questions, one asked what he liked most about working for Nike. He answered that he was allowed to be creative. Earlier in his talk, he mentioned that faith is an example of something that is not made of chemicals. Dr. Wilson gave the students an great example of how we can bless others through creativity and intellect.


Dr. Tom Wilson



What is a chemical? Anyone?!?



Nike cleats lined with…castor beans?!?

Anatomy & Physiology: Maniken Models

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The Anatomy & Physiology students are using Maniken Skeletal Models to learn body region names this week. Hands on learning is integral to conceptual understanding, especially in any science course. The class will be building different body systems with clay later this year!



Skeletal exploration



Mia Cywinski, Bailey Mckay, and Lizzy Stefan – where’s the femur?

Physics: Robot Battles

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Today, the AP Physics and Conceptual Physics classes competed in a VEX Robotics competition. The object of the game is to move different shaped objects with a robot and place them in your opponent’s area. Different shapes earn different point totals.

Each team spends approximately a week devising strategy on how they want to score points, a conceptual phase. Next, each team translate their “product strategy” into a robotics design with the correct mix of functionality. At least one part of their robot is designed from scratch, modeled in CAD and printed on a 3D printer.

The project teaches students the basics steps in product development and culminates in a fun-filled competition that tests their design strategies.

Let the games begin!

Robo 4

The robot’s playing field


Robo 1

The “Destroyer”


Robo 5

James Gardner on the controls


Robo 3

Up, over, and in!


Robo 2

Robot stalemate

Anatomy: Cat Dissections

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Anatomy & Physiology students finished their last cat dissection of the year today, working in the heart and lungs. Students also got to inflate pig lungs and dissect a pig heart. Pictures below, but not for the faint of heart!


Sophomores Alexis Rodriguez, Kelsey Moore, and Gabrielle Lau with heart in hand.



Jordan Jun inflating the lungs.



Danielle Hillenbrand, Allison Sloop, Laura Madison, Alannah Carr, and Hannah Dugan.



A once beating heart.

WCHS Happenings: Comparative Anatomy

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Students did a little comparative anatomy in AP biology this week.  The class observed a variety of animal skulls, from a tiny hedgehog to an orangutan, to a nile crocodile skull.  They brainstormed a list of traits that could be used to differentiate the skulls into different groups (ex. Prominant cranial ridge, eye socket location, snout length, presence of canine teeth).  This activity was used as an introduction to cladograms, which show relationships between different types of organisms.



Skull sleuths



Skull science show-and-tell!



Kerri, crocodiles are carnivores.