Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
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The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Spotlight on STEM

High+school+math+teacher+John+Watkins-+Chow+teaches+students+about+the+Sierpinski+triangle+with+a+hands-on+method.
Penelope Terl
High school math teacher John Watkins- Chow teaches students about the Sierpinski triangle with a hands-on method.

As a part of the inter-school partnership, students, teachers and administrators from Bishop McNamara High School (BMHS) visited CESJDS on March 15 to explore the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs. In the inaugural year of the partnership, the focus was on the arts and humanities programs, according to Upper School STEM Director Alexandra Brown. This year, on Nov. 11, JDS visited BMHS to learn more about their new Innovation Center for science and technology. In turn, BMHS visited JDS to engage in its STEM programs by participating in three different STEM stations alongside JDS high school students.

The first station, meant to interest BMHS and JDS students in engineering programming, instructed students to create stomp rockets out of paper and then launch them using PVC pipes into the air. Students redesigned the rockets to send them higher upon each launch by choosing different nose and fin shapes. Although the activities were tailored for students, Brown hopes that teachers from both schools gained something as well. BMHS recently added an Innovation Center to its buildings, which is, according to Brown, similar to the JDS Makerspace and STEM iLabs. “I think [the partnership helps] build relationships between the students, which is really important,” Brown said.“… I think this is a perfect opportunity [for students] to go outside the JDS bubble in a real way.”

Led by high school science teacher Kimberly Agzigian, another station examined DNA profiling through a hypothetical mystery, named “Who Chewed Beyonce’s Jimmy Choo’s? How DNA Profiling Saved the Renaissance Tour.” In this lab, students studied various DNA profiles to match them up with DNA left at the “crime scene.” DNA profiling is commonly used in both criminal cases and the medical field. Students learned how to extract, separate and stain DNA, and how to apply these skills to the real world. Students from both schools were able to bond while engaging in the activity. “I feel like the partnership helps form connections [between BMHS and JDS],” sophomore Anaelle Kastan said. “We got to know them and worked with them to create something new and exciting.”

Delving further into STEM, BMHS and JDS students fold colored circles into Sierpinski triangles, a mathematical concept that examines fractals, patterns and repetitions within the shape. High school math teacher John Watkins- Chow taught students about the Sierpinski triangle with a hands-on method, instructing them to create origami tetrahedrons of their own. Watkins-Chow enjoyed the opportunity to teach the concept to both JDS and BMHS students in a fun and interactive way. “We wanted to give them [visitors from BMHS] a little demo model of something that’s kind of a cool math idea that students [might not] have seen in regular classes,” Watkins-Chow said.

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About the Contributor
Penelope Terl
Penelope Terl, News Editor
Penelope is excited and ready to be one of this year’s Lion’s Tale News Editors. As a reporter, Penelope loved writing news, and is excited to take on a leadership role in the section. Outside of Lion’s Tale, Penelope is stage manager of JDS theater shows, a student admissions representative, and a member of the school mock trial team. Penelope is eager to continue her work on Lion’s Tale this year and beyond.  

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