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Mrs. Little and five Westside students (Kylee Wiseman, Jack Stevens, Hayley Sprague, Susannah Fischer, and Brittney Martin) had the opportunity to join students from various states across the US on an 8 day nature field study trip in Belize with a program called “Save the Rainforest”.
Students went on several hikes through the rainforests (including a couple of night hikes) to learn about the diversity of the Belizean flora and fauna. They visited Mayan ruins, went tubing through mangroves, and discovered many bizarre and beautiful creatures. Students also learned about deforestation, habitat destruction, and displacement of animals in Belize. They learned about conservation efforts and sustainable logging practices that a few programs are trying to implement in Belize. Students had a first hand experience with what it means to be good stewards of nature and what results from unsustainable timber and animal trafficking activities.
Biology students took part in a biome survival challenge this week. Each small group researched the plants, animals, and habitat of a different biome of the world and earned survival days for their research. The top three groups then presented their findings to their peers in order to persuade them to vote for their biome. To kick the survival challenge up a notch, groups earned extra days (bonus points) for eating a dehydrated bug. A few students from AP biology also decided to take on the bug challenge just to test out their courage for diverse cuisine.
The Science Project is a year long project in Physical Science. It begins with a Background Paper, where the students research a topic of their own choice. Students then write an Investigation Plan. The Investigation Plan is based on an experiment the students design based on their Question (or Problem) and their Hypothesis.
Following the actual experiment, with clearly defined variables and an experimental group, students complete an Investigation Follow-up Report. In this report, they analyze their data, document trends, discuss their hypothesis, and tie what they learned back to their Background Paper. The last piece is to create a display to show off their work. This year, the senior Bible class served as judges.
This past Friday biology students went to Boiler Bay near Lincoln City to do some tide-pooling. Several students spotted starfish, a promising sign after seeing the population of starfish nearly die off a couple years ago from a starfish blight. Students also visited Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport to learn about coastal animal adaptations. This hands-on lab allowed students to hold some critters they may not have experienced before: ghost shrimp, leather sea stars, shore crabs, and more!
In Mrs. Ivans’ chemistry class, students had some hands on experience with titration of acids and bases, take a look at some action shots below!
AP Biology students successfully inserted a jellyfish gene (green fluorescent protein) into E. coli bacteria, which caused the colonies to glow in the dark. Students below gather around the dark bacteria plates glowing in the dark!
Students in the Advanced Art class have been working on some ceramics in recent weeks. Take a look at some impressive pencil holders, bowls, and watering troughs below!
Christian Hahn has been competing with the Lake Oswego Robotics FTC (First Tech Challenge) team this year. Recently, the team advanced from the Oregon State Championship to the West Super Regionals (US Championship), where they will be competing for the chance to be one of the twelve teams representing the U.S. in international competition.
What an honor it would be for Westside to have a representative at the World Championships!
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.
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!