Longdale Elementary School Launches a STEM Camp

Ms. Beane at Longdale elementary school has launched a STEM camp for 4th and 5th grade students.

Her inpiration is from this The Water Project:

Students will build an awareness of the importance of clean drinking water and how the quest for clean water is a struggle in come communities and how not having clean drinking water impacts lives. She then is launching in to these exploratory activities Water, Water Everywhere!  Designing Water Filters so students understand how engineering is used to create clean drinking water. She will end the camp by inviting environmental engineers in to her classroom to see the student’s engineering products.

The movie below shows some students creating their own water filters:

Longdale STEM Camp from Kim Powell on Vimeo.

Students are pulling their projects together to present to our visiting engineers:

Water Filters Longdale from Alfonso Favale on Vimeo.

What an exciting opportunity for Longdale students. Congratulations Ms. Beane!

Hot Chocolate Challenge – Keeping It Hot!

The students in Mrs. Locher’s 1st grade class at Maybeury were posed with a problem. We have had freezing temperatures in Richmond lately and when we are outside drinking hot chocolate, the delicious drink is getting cold very quickly. The students were asked to design a container that would keep the hot chocolate hot for a longer period of time.

First the students needed to know how the hot chocolate would cool down when placed outside. They were provided with a plastic cup and 6 oz. of hot chocolate. The students took some initial measurements using the GoTemp with the laptops. They checked the hot chocolate every 10 min to see how the outside temperature was affecting their hot chocolate. They graphed their results using EasyChart on the iPads.

Here are their results:

Students analyzed the graph and realized that there was a big drop from the initial temperature to the reading after being out in the cold for 10 minutes.

Before the students could start designing a new and improved cup for their hot chocolate, they needed to do some research to see how creatures that are outside in the cold stay warm. They looked at Arctic Animals on PebbleGo, navigated through slides about how animals stay warm on the Promethean Board, listened to a fictional story “The Mitten”, and reviewed non-fiction texts to gather ideas on how animals stay warm. They recorded their result on a t-chart.

Students used the information they gathered from research to plan and design their new and improved cups. Here are some of the designs they came up with:

Cup stays warm in a nest of feathers like a bird


Covered in black to attract heat from the sun, like the back on a penguin


Cup wrapped in bubble wrap with a cardboard shield for protection from wind and other animals

After designing the cups, the students tested them using the same steps they followed for the initial test. They took the temperature, put them outside, and tested the temperature every 10 minutes. The results with the new and improved cup were much better!

Echo Lake Invention Convention

Congratulations to 5th students at Echo Lake for their wonderful Invention Convention! I had so much fun looking at the student’s inventions and learning how they solved a real life problem! 4th Grade students even participated in a Consumer Challenge to prepare them for the Invention Convention next year. Take a look at some of their inventions below:

Not only did students design inventions that solved problems. They also did a cost analysis and marketed their products! Check out Ryan Helburg’s commercial on his “Sticky Fingers” invention:

I rest assured knowing that Henrico students are truly innovative! Thank you so much Echo Lake for inviting me to your Invention Convention!

Shady Grove STEM Night

Shady Grove has unveiled its brand new STEM lab at a STEM Night.  Parents got to see the wonderful new lab and then visit their student’s classrooms and participate in fun STEM activities with their student’s classes!  What an exciting night at Shady Grove!


Congratulations to Elizabeth Gaglio of Chamberlayne Elementary School on her REB award!

Elizabeth Ann Gaglio

Chamberlayne Elementary School 
To travel to Hawaii to develop project based, 21st century skills lessons that enhance the third grade curriculum by exploring Hawaiian aquatic ecosystems and how they relate to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed as well as creating technology rich activities by taking a course on smartphone application development.