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Math Modeling: Using Math for Flight Path Safety

By Kate Sotir, Cooper Sarafin, Anderson Fan, Shep Green, VI Form and Mo Liu, V Form

Math Modeling: Using Math for Flight Path Safety

Part 1:

The problem at hand is to create a model, a rating system, that would inform potential flyers of the safety of a particular flight. Our solution includes a mathematical equation that gives us a number between 1 and 100, depending on the inputs. Although the values themselves indicate the safety level of flights, we do not want to our audience to read into the numbers: a flight with a safety index of 63 should not be considered a more dangerous flight than a flight with a safety index of 67. Therefore, to make our model directly presentable to our audience, we classified the possible outcomes into ratings. A safety index ranges from 1 to 20 would have a rating of ★, from 20 to 40 would have ★★, 40 to 60 would be ★★★, 60 to  80 ★★★★, and finally, 80 to 100 would have the highest rating of ★★★★★, and flights that fall under this rating would be the safest choice based on our model. (more…)

Competing in the FIRST Robotics Challenge

By Kate Sotir, VI Form

Competing in the FIRST Robotics Challenge


Working in the basement level of the STEM building, using lots of power tools, and occasionally throwing out words like “kickoff,” “drivetrain,” or “STEAMworks,” we are FIRST team 3566, also known as Gone Fishin’.

Gone Fishin’ competes in the FIRST Robotics Competition. FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.” The robotics competition, open to any high school student, was created in order to promote the STEM fields and offer a competitive yet collaborative atmosphere for robotics. In the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), teams are given a challenge, in the form of a game, and then have six weeks to build a 120 pound, $10,000 robot to meet this challenge. After those six weeks are up, teams compete in various regional events. The ultimate goal is to go to the world championship, held in St. Louis, where around 800 teams gather to play the game. (more…)

Sea Acidification

By Jiawen (Angela) Li, IV Form

Sea Acidification

Editor’s Note: This is the assignment prompt for a unit on ecology–You will be given one week of class and homework time to investigate a topic of your choosing that relates to ecological or environmental sustainability. The goal will be to research the topic in depth and produce a final product that displays your understanding of the concept. You may choose to produce a video, Prezi, infographic, children’s book, or paper.

sea-acidification-1Angela’s pre-reflection: I chose the topic Sea Acidification because I was intrigued by the podcast about how oysters are affected by seawater acidification, and I wanted to know more about how it also affects other species, especially how it affects marine food chain/web. I hope to gain more knowledge on how seawater acidification generally affects marine life and expand my understanding from oysters to a larger variety of organisms. I wish to produce a piece of informative work including the introduction of seawater acidification, explanation of how it works, and details as to what the effects on the sea life are. This is related to these units because it expands on the “Science Friday” podcast on oysters and is connected with food webs, sustainability, and ecosystems. I’ll be working on my own, because I want to work on an infographic and working in pairs really slows the process down and complicates matters unnecessarily, and there could be an uneven distribution of work. My strategy would be to learn from my last experience with making an infographic, dividing my work into clear sections, maybe three to five, before doing research to be more efficient.

See the large infographic below! (more…)

1-Take Video: Lactase Persistence

By Cordelia (Cricket) Dotson, V Form


Editor’s Note: The students were charged with designing an experiment to determine if five individuals were or were not lactose tolerant. After designing and completing the experiment they were given instructions on publishing the results in a 1-take video (instructions at bottom of the article).

Please click here or on the image below to see Cricket’s video on lactase persistence:









Drawing on Our Brains: How Neuroscience and Art Can Teach Us About Learning

By Gabe Brower, VI Form


Drawing on Our Brains: How Neuroscience and Art Can Teach Us About Learning

I have yet to meet a single student at Saint Mark’s that has never crammed for an exam. They fill up their brain temporarily with information for an upcoming test in a vain attempt to not fall flat on their face the next day during their test. To be honest, it sometimes “works”, as defined by a good score, and I can speak from experience in this area. However, that doesn’t mean cramming is effective. It is the result of disengaged students and ineffective teaching methods that culminates in temporary information retention, and over the long run the crammed  information isn’t retained. Therefore, no valuable learning takes place. (more…)

Migraine Mania: Exploring the Link Between Disorder and Diet

By Marissa Huggins, VI Form

Migraine Mania: Exploring the Link Between Disorder and Diet


Migraine is a debilitating neurological condition associated with symptoms including: intense pressure in the head, nausea, blurred vision, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light, sound, touch and smell.11 Migraine disorder, wherein an individual suffers from a migraine episode at a minimum of two times per month, affects approximately 12% of the population of the United States.1 When an individual suffers from a migraine episode, their mental and physical capabilities are inhibited, making daily tasks extraordinarily challenging, if not impossible. Migraines cause normal neurotransmission – communication between neurons – to be disrupted, and the role of the central nervous system becomes compromised. Treatment options are limited and often ineffective thus exploration of new treatment options would greatly benefit migraine sufferers. The goal of this investigation was to explore the potential relationship between migraine disorder and diet using the model organism C. elegans. The Unc-2 C. elegans genotype is known to mimic human migraine disorder; every abrupt directional change in an Unc-2 C. elegans organism is equivalent to a human migraine. C. elegans consume bacteria as their primary source of nutrition, thus two strains of C. elegans, wildtype (N2) and Unc-2, were fed one of three different bacterial strains and their behavior was observed for one minute. This procedure was repeated three times for each organism. Based on the data collected, it can be concluded that Unc-2 C. elegans grown on a diet of either Comamonas testosteroni (C. testosteroni) or Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) experienced a decrease in migraine frequency as compared to those grown on Escherichia coli (E. coli). (more…)