One experiment at a time
Highlights of the fall semester
- iPraxis started the 2015-2016 school year introducing our program to three new principals and two new science teachers at our partner schools. We also initiated relationships with Duckrey and Stearne Elementary schools.
- In September we launched a new Student STEM Attitude Survey. Delivered on-line to students in our program, this survey records changes in student behaviors and attitudes toward science before and after experiencing iPraxis mentoring.
- At Cook-Wissahickon this fall, we developed a Watershed-themed Science Fair curriculum and recruited and trained 23 STEM mentors to lead 150 middle school students through the steps of the scientific method over 12 sessions and 50 judges to evaluate the projects and provide feedback to the students. Examples of student projects include:
- Are there hazardous levels of lead in Philadelphia’s parks?
- Do the number of teeth in a fish affect its diet?
- Do common foods emit different levels of radiation?
- What’s the best way to provide structural support to prevent trees from falling?
- Does frequent flooding of a field affect water absorption?
- Does the type of soil and vegetation affect the amount of runoff
- With help from Sara Rogers, an iPraxis volunteer and Philadelphia University architect student, we started a weekly Bridge Construction Club at Cook-Wissahickon. Sara developed a “bridge basics” learning and construction club for 8th graders. Students worked in teams to learn about bridges. They then applied what they learned to the challenges of how to build bridges using unlimited resources and limited resources.
- Twenty-five volunteers from Harrington High School connected with over 100 Cook-Wissahickon students and student families to explore chemical reactions and the laws of physics. Chemistry demonstrations included large scale reactions, endothermic and exothermic reactions. Physical science demonstrations explored light and sound wave properties and physics principles such as the conservation of diagonal motion.
- It is an iPraxis goal to have more students from our partner schools compete in city and regional science fairs. As a result of this semester’s work, 25 students from December’s Cook-Wissahickon Science Fair and 20 students from Northwood Academy will compete in regional George Washington Carver Fairs, scheduled for February and March, 2016.
- Patrick C. Auth, PhD, PA-C, Clinical Professor and Department Chair of the Hahnemann Physician Assistant Program at Drexel University, arranged presentations for our partner schools and their students. The presentations by fourteen physician assistants covered important healthcare topics such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease.
- iPraxis is grateful to volunteers like Dr. Auth, Harrington High School, and Sara Rogers. In addition, we deeply appreciate the efforts of the 190 individual volunteers who have worked so diligently and energetically to mentor 389 students in this semester’s iPraxis programs.