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The S.T.E.M. of a Good Idea

By Staff | Dec 14, 2011
Here Sharky Shark: For a community where fishing is one of the more popular methods of passing time, Griffin Kupsaw has invented a shark attracting fishing rod. It looks like a regular rod and reel, but includes a gizmo and switch that when flipped, generates an electromagnetic wave as two hooks are submerged in water. Griffin says that sharks detect the electromagnetic activity, but presume it to be a fish dying in the water. As they come in for a quick bite, they're likely to encounter Griffin and his innovative rod. The device had yet to be tested when this photo was taken, but Griffin says he is looking forward to trying it out soon.
M.I.T. May Be Calling: For now, Nicky Ashton simply refers to his invention as "Ocean Power", he does concede that future models may warrant the incorporation of his name. His device, he says, "is an innovation inspired by modern day offshore wind farms." The mechanism can be anchored off shore and includes a top piece with a solar panel and wind turbine to generate electricity. A bottom piece allows for the multi-installation of water wheels, rotated by water currents, as to produce additional electricity. All is connected and easily interchangeable through a series of locking rings. A plug-in component (obstructed by hand in picture) would allow anyone to pull-up in, say, a boat to recharge a battery, but that's just one application. He believes there are other uses for the device as well as future models that can help generate energy. Nicky is 11 years old; he says this is his "first" invention.
'Dem Bones, 'Dem Bones: Grace Paul (L) and Madelyn Labar (R) stand shoulder to shoulder with a skeletal model and throughout the science fair, could be heard singing that familiar song with such phrases as "the hip bone is connected to the leg bone; the leg bone is connected to the knee bone..." over and over... and over. As they sang, the girls indicated the actual area of the bone mentioned in the verse. On a nearby table, the girls also had some skeletal remains of select animals. Grace says she hopes to learn more about animal bone structures as she is interested in becoming a veterinarian one day.
What a Blast: Colin Maw conducted an experiment using an Estes Rocket. His goal was to determine speed and distance ranges for rockets launched from ground vs those launched in-flight. He has a great video of the experiment, but unfortunately, no determinant data, nor even a rocket anymore. After blasting off, he says winds knocked the rocket off course "into the 'Ding' Darling refuge never to be seen again". [Editor's Note: When looking for birds and other critters within the preserve, should one find a small rocket that seems curiously out of place, consider contacting Colin Maw at Sanibel School.]
One to Watch: Mathew Lucker holds a circuit board demonstrating how LED lights are powered and has an apparatus strapped to his head that he calls, "The Plumber Pal". Essentially, it allows plumbers or other technicians to respectively see down drains or work in dark areas without having to hold a flashlight. "It makes it easier to work with tools," says Lucker who admits to have a certain fascination with taking things apart and reassembling to see if he can improve on the design. Some years ago, he created a dispenser that dished out, in his expectations, "the perfect serving size" of cereal.

At Sanibel School, students are being encouraged to consider future careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As workers with such expertise are so often the most in-demand, Science Teacher Dana Sanner also indicates, “Careers in this field are among the most high paying.”

So in effort to “generate excitement” into this subject matter, Sanner says the school created what they hope will become a routine event in the way of showcasing student talent and initiative. Family fun nights at the school under the banner of S.T.E.M. (or Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) offers a venue for students to articulate a little of what they have learned through the conducting of research projects, or demonstrate various contraptions they have actually invented.

In taking a recent tour among the displays and speaking with students about their work and future plans, one quickly realizes that certain scientific appreciation has taken root in their young hearts and minds, with some rather innovative results.